Park Passivhaus: Passive Home Construction in Somerville

Client Story

When Vladimir and Aleksandra finally found the “perfect” lot (southern exposure, ample space) that would fulfill their dream of building a high performance home, their next step was to find the right designer and builder.

Having heard of Placetailor through the Passive House network we were invited to meet with them to share ideas, processes and concepts about passive home construction. A few bike trips and quite a few pieces of pie later, they found their designer and builder and we found great clients. There were distinct criteria that came out of those initial meetings which informed design of the project. First, the lot had an existing eight car concrete block garage that had to be demolished. Second, the city of Somerville and neighbors wanted to preserve green space and not add congestion to an already crowded private way. Third (always our top priority) building performance was a priority; Vlad and Sasha wanted to make their new home as energy-efficient as possible.

Using the existing footprint of the garage to our advantage we devised a long skinny “barn-like” scheme. Not only did we build very close to lot lines but these constraints also enabled us to create a pleasant front yard (by city standards), off street parking and the ability to make use of the site’s prime southern orientation for day-lighting and passive solar. Through direct client collaboration and feedback, the final design coupled a traditional New England form with simple modern detailing. We were also able to deliver a high performance building envelope that fit within project scope and budget, not to mention a healthy, happy home.