Action Housing Develops Western Pennsylvania’s First Passive House

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor Action Housing Inc. is developing the first Passive House in western Pennsylvania. Passive Houses are extremely energy efficient buildings that save space heating costs while preserving high indoor air quality. The 1,800-square-foot home will be developed according to Passive House standards, a German system of constructing airtight buildings that need little or no [...]

by Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Action Housing Inc. is developing the first Passive House in western Pennsylvania.

Passive Houses are extremely energy efficient buildings that save space heating costs while preserving high indoor air quality.

The 1,800-square-foot home will be developed according to Passive House standards, a German system of constructing airtight buildings that need little or no outside energy for heating or cooling. In order to maintain a comfortable temperature, Passive Houses use solar energy as well as heat from appliances and even from the occupants’ bodies. Approximately one third of the house’s stale air is replaced every hour through an energy recovery ventilator that uses the outgoing air’s temperature to warm or cool incoming air. A thick layer of insulation reduces the warmth transfer through the walls, roof and floor.

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that the building will be developed in Heidelberg Borough as an affordable housing unit. The project’s estimated cost is $225,000, only 13 percent higher than the cost of an identical conventional home. Furthermore, Action Housing predicts the annual heating and cooling cost will only be around $240, giving the owners the opportunity to recoup the additional cost in approximately five years. The developer hired Friendship-based architecture and design firm Thoughtful Balance Inc. to design the three-bedroom Passive House prototype.

In other news, early-stage technology companies can now grow their businesses in Revv Oakland, the city’s newest co-working space. A real estate investment partnership between the Oakland Real Estate Co., its partners and entrepreneur Mark Musolino offers start-ups the possibility of renting office space at low cost and flexible lease terms.

Located in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood at 122 Meyran Ave., the facility features 2600 square feet of flexible space, five 120 square-foot private offices, and a conference room. Desks in the open space area rent for $250/month, whereas those in private offices are $500/month.

Photo credits: Chloe Fan via Wikimedia Commons