Super Energy-Effiicient Home On Display in Ohio

Passive house design – the most advanced standard for residential energy efficiency – cuts heating and cooling needs by 90%.

In Europe over a thousand homes have been built to the standard, but there are less than two dozen passive homes in the US.

Three elements distinguish passive houses from typical houses: high levels of insulation, with walls up to 12 inches thick; a carefully sealed building envelope with minimal air leakage combined with efficient heat-recovery ventilation for superior indoor air quality; and high-performance windows – typically triple-paned.

Now one of them is open to the public in Northeast Ohio. 

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s PNC SmartHome Cleveland is on display for public tours through October 1, 2011, in conjunction with an exhibit about climate change.

Built on Museum grounds, PNC SmartHome Cleveland represents the future of energy-efficient living. The home was constructed using a super-insulated, 12-inch-thick wall system based on structural insulated panels and energy-efficient, triple-pane windows.

Designed to function without a furnace, PNC SmartHome Cleveland will use 90% less heating and cooling energy than a typical home. An air-source heat pump will keep the house at a comfortable temperature using the same energy as two hair dryers. Air-tight construction will ensure the home has no cold drafts, no cold spots and extremely low heating bills.

The two-story house has a living space of 2,500 square feet, including three bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a full basement. It was constructed using sustainable materials and furnishings, advanced stormwater and healthy housing techniques, and biophilic design to connect occupants to nature.

Chuck Miller of Doty & Miller Architects in Cleveland designed the home. Certified Passive House Consultant Mark Hoberecht of HarvestBuild Associates oversaw its adherence to Passive House Institute U.S. standards.

After the temporary exhibition closes, the house will be moved to a lot on Wade Park Avenue on the edge of Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood and become available for purchase.

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