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Pumpkin Ridge Passive House in North Plains, Oregon by Scott Edwards Architecture
August 7th, 2016 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Scott Edwards Architecture
The Pumpkin Ridge Passive House stands as a testament that sustainable design can be affordable. Held to some of the nation’s most stringent sustainability standards, this contemporary family home with traditional styling effortlessly combines comfort, efficiency and beauty.
The Pumpkin Ridge Passive House, nestled in the foothills west of Portland, embraces the simplicity of Passive House design to deliver superb comfort and efficiency at minimal added cost. This high performance green building, built by Hammer & Hand, will consume 90% less energy to heat and cool the home throughout the year, while also offering exceptional comfort and indoor air quality. Upon completion the Pumpkin Ridge Passive House is one of six homes in the Pacific Northwest featured by Northwest ENERGY STAR as a demonstration of the super-efficient home. The house is also certified as an Earth Advantage Platinum Home.
The Pumpkin Ridge Passive House is also a beautifully-designed home, But budget was a critical consideration for this project. In fact, the home’s been designed to be no more expensive on a monthly basis than a conventional custom house. So the designers kept the form of the building simple, with few articulations. The modest surface to volume ratio that this affords means less heat loss and therefore a smaller demand on the performance of the building envelope. Translation: less EPS foam required under the structure.
The Pumpkin Ridge Passive House, has been selected by Northwest ENERGY STAR® as one of six demonstration “super-efficient homes” across the Pacific Northwest. The new “Super-Efficient Homes” section of Northwest ENERGY STAR’s website offers a nice introduction to high performance homes, including a primer on efficient technologies (framing, insulation, windows, air sealing, HVAC, indoor air quality, water heating, lighting) as well as this infographic of the “home performance scale”:
The scale shows that super-efficient homes like Passive House perform well beyond their Energy Star-Certified and DOE Builders Challenge brethren. It also underscores what the Passive House community has known for some time; super-efficient homes are the best route to net zero energy homes. Once you’ve driven energy demand down to Passive House levels through smart design and high performance building envelope, it takes just a modest addition of alternative energy (a few solar panels, for instance) to reach net zero.
Our clients knew they wanted a very energy efficient, high performance home, but they didn’t think they could afford to build a Passive House,” said Sam Hagerman, co-owner of Hammer & Hand. “I had the pleasure of showing that when monthly energy costs are accounted for alongside the monthly cost for mortgage, taxes and insurance, owning and operating a Passive House need be no more expensive than your run-of-the-mill custom home.”
While Passive House (also known by the German “Passivhaus”) is the most stringent building energy standard in the world, it charts a practical path to revolutionary energy performance. New 21st century building science knowledge coupled with computer modeling make Passive House achievable for modest cost. At the beginning of the Pumpkin Ridge Passive House project Hammer & Hand ran thousands of simulations as part of a “parametric analysis” to optimize design elements like building siting, building shape, window placement, wall thickness, insulation levels, and other design parameters for the most cost-optimized design. This process was key to the affordability of the project.
SCOTT EDWARDS ARCHITECTURE:
The Pumpkin Ridge Residence is located 21 miles northwest of the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area in North Plains. North Plains is a city in Washington County, Oregon, off U.S. 26. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census. The residence is situated on a 3.15- acre lot off Pumpkin Ridge Road. Perched atop a hillside near the center of the lot, the residence distances itself from the (private) road and nears itself to the trees on the east portion of the site. The Pumpkin Ridge Residence’s long southern exposure allows the owners to catch a view stretching across Hillsboro to Bald Peak beyond.
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