California's First Passive House Remodel Moves Toward Completion

Project team thinks this kind of construction could be the state's answer to meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Hidden Savings. The "pre-retrofit" 1,800-square-foot house, built in the 1960s, was surrounded by trees and shrubbery.

Self Sustaining. A rendering of the backyard of the retrofitted house, which when completed in July will rely primarily on air-exchange ventilation to stay warm or cool.

Light Exposure. The retrofit will retain 100% of the house's foundation and 40% of its walls. It is connecting two buildings that comprise the house via a breezeway (left) that leads into a courtyard. The completed retrofit will have 2,400 square feet of living space with an attached garage.

Open Architecture. One of the wings of the house will include a 16- by 8-foot slide and lift door entrance.

Attention To Detail. A boot vent for plumbing penetration through the garage illustrates the level of installation care that is needed to get the right air tightness for the house to meet Passive House's rigorous air-exchange standards.

Extra Protection. A door entrance is embedded into a wall sheathed with 3/4-inch rigid insulation board.

Glass Plus. Some door frames in the retrofit are only 1 3/4 inches wide; so that more window is visible.

The Full Package. The retrofit's efficiency extends beyond its walls. The yard features dryscaping and rainwater catchment tanks that are under the driveway.

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