Rockville’s First Passive House

Project Description

Our clients were moving to the DC area with their four young children and wanted to build the healthiest and most environmentally benign house that they could. When they learned about passive houses and toured our Bethesda house, they decided to build their own on an empty site they had found in Old Rockville. The house was completed in September of 2014.

This house, while in many ways similar to the Bethesda house, has some notable differences. The basement wall and floor construction are identical, as are the structural insulated panel (SIP) walls and roof. Instead of using Hardiboard siding, however, we are used an exterior insulated finishing system (EIFS) on the walls. In this system, the SIPs are covered with a layer of 4” of rigid foam board that is then covered with a stucco finish. This system is used extensively in passive houses in Europe because of its ability to break thermal bridges in the envelope and its long record of durability and thermal and moisture control.

Stylistically the house is in the neoclassical style of the early twentieth century, common in Washington neighborhoods like Cleveland Park and Old Rockville.

In December of 2014 the house won the Peerless Rockville award in two categories: Outstanding Green Design and Compatible Infill.

O’Neill Development was the builder, with Keith Kauffmann as project superintendant. Panelwrights was the SIP provider and Aird, Inc.  handled the EIFS finish.

Project Details

  • Date September 4, 2014
  • Tags Passive Houses
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