Columbia County Habitat for Humanity Passive Townhomes

Stacey Rothgeb, Jordan Dentz, Kunal Alaigh, Devanshi Dadia, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Columbia County (New York) Habitat for Humanity built a pair of townhomes to Passive House criteria with the purpose of exploring approaches for achieving Passive House performance and to eventually develop a prototype design for future projects. The project utilized a 2x6 frame wall with a structural insulated panel curtain wall and a ventilated attic over a sealed OSB ceiling air barrier. Mechanical systems include a single head, wall mounted ductless mini-split heat pump in each unit and a heat recovery ventilator. Costs were $26,000 per unit higher for Passive House construction compared with the same home built to ENERGY STAR version 3 specifications, representing about 18% of total construction cost. This report discusses the cost components, energy modeling results and lessons from construction. Two alternative ventilation systems are analyzed: a central system; and, a point-source system with small through-wall units distributed throughout the house. The report includes a design and cost analysis of these two approaches.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages43
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Advanced Residential Integrated Energy Solutions Collaborative, New York, New York

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-65225

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4792


  • Building America
  • costs
  • energy modeling
  • Energy Star
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • passive house
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • ventilation systems


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