DC Area’s First Passive House

Project Description

We built our first passive house in Bethesda as a joint venture spec house with O’Neill Development, one of the best residential builders in the DC area.
Our goals were threefold:

  • to demonstrate that a Passive House could look like a traditional American home;
  • to demonstrate that it could be built using familiar construction materials and methods; and
  • to demonstrate that it could be built without exorbitant extra costs.

The project was successful in achieving all those goals.

The house was completed and sold in the summer of 2011. We tracked all the extra costs associated with making it a passive house and they came to approximately 8% of the construction cost and 5% of the total project cost.

The first owners lived there until the end of 2012, when they left the area. They were wonderful about showing the house to the many government and greenbuilding groups who wanted to tour it, and about sharing with us their experience in the house. From them we learned first-hand that the extreme claims made about the comfort and energy efficiency of passive houses are all true. Their monthly energy bills averaged within $5/month of the bills predicted by our energy model of the house. And they never found a difference of more than 1 degree between basement and third floor attic temperatures.

Now the house has new owners who share the first owners’ enthusiasm for the house, and have been equally kind in letting people see the house. Learn more about the step by step process of the construction of this house in the blog we kept for it. You can also find a full review of the features of the house on the PHIUS website here.

Project Details

  • Date September 4, 2014
  • Category New Homes, Passive Houses
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