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Green Building News

Oregon House Wins DOE Award

Pumpkin Ridge, a Passivhaus-certified home built by Hammer & Hand, has won a Department of Energy Housing Innovation Award

This cedar-clad home in Oregon is insulated with dense-packed cellulose and air-sealed to about half the Passivhaus limit, features that will sharply reduce the amount of energy it will require for heating and cooling over a conventionally built house.
Image Credit: Hammer & Hand
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This cedar-clad home in Oregon is insulated with dense-packed cellulose and air-sealed to about half the Passivhaus limit, features that will sharply reduce the amount of energy it will require for heating and cooling over a conventionally built house.
Image Credit: Hammer & Hand
Rolling shutters on the south-facing ground floor of the house can be moved as needed to block sunlight and reduce cooling loads. Exterior walls are about 18 inches thick with triple-paned windows. Built into a sloping site, the house has one two-story elevation facing south and this courtyard-like space on the opposite side. Wide roof overhangs, in conjunction with moveable shades on the south side of the house, help control sunlight.

A Passivhaus-certified residence in North Plains, Oregon, has won a 2015 Housing Innovation Award from the Department of Energy.

The Pumpkin Ridge Passive House, designed by Scott Edwards Architecture and built by Hammer & Hand, is one of a number of preliminary winners that are now in the running for top prizes to be announced in October at the EEBA Excellence in Building Conference & Expo in Denver.

The house was featured in a GBA article last December after it won an award from Green Builder magazine, and also was the focus of a blog on framing and air-sealing by GBA senior editor Martin Holladay.

In addition to certification from the Passive House Institute U.S., Pumpkin Ridge is a Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home, and is an Earth Advantage Platinum home.

Exterior walls have two layers of insulation

The 3,050-square-foot house is insulated mostly with cellulose, a total of 15 inches of dense-packed cellulose in the walls and 24 inches of blown-in cellulose in the roof.

There are two layers of cellulose in exterior walls, one in the cavities of a 2×6 service wall to the interior, and another 9 1/2 inches of insulation between I-joists on the outside of a layer of plywood sheathing. A second layer of sheathing on the exterior of the I-joists is vapor-permeable Agepan DWD, followed by a rain screen and vertical wood siding.

In all, exterior walls have a whole-wall R-value of 51, according to the builder, Hammer & Hand. The roof has an R-value of 86. The carefully air-sealed building was tested at 0.36 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 pascals, well below the Passivhaus limit of 0.6 ach50.

Other construction and mechanical details:

  • Heat recovery ventilator: Zehnder Comfoair 350.
  • Heating and cooling: Mitsubishi ducted minisplit.
  • Domestic hot water: Heat pump water heater.
  • Windows: Zola triple-glazed units with a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.50 and a whole-unit U-factor of 0.13.
  • Skylight: Triple-glazed tubular with a U-factor of 0.08
  • Air-sealing: On exterior walls, the air barrier is the plywood sheathing (with taped seams); in the attic, a continuous layer of plywood with all seams and penetrations sealed with SIGA tape. Below the plywood is a service cavity.
  • Foundation: Walls and slab are insulated with 6 inches of expanded polystyrene insulation (R-28.6).
  • Renewables: 10-kW photovoltaic array, which Hammer & Hand hopes will allow net-zero energy operation.
  • Shades: Operable window shades on the lower level of the building exterior block sun during the summer and in the shoulder seasons.

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