Emerson House – A Passive House Project

The Emerson Street project is a real estate project.  Generally owning property is a pretty sound investment, it’s also a powerful way to impact a neighborhood, for better or worse.  We decided we would shoot for “better.”

We stubbled into the Emerson Street project, and there has been a bit of a learning curve.  And while the timeline has been shot, we have taken the space to really explore what to do with the property.  We considered and researched all kinds of options.  We had three major criteria:  We wanted to make the property more efficient in terms of both space, and energy, we wanted to stay in line with the character of the neighborhood, and Diane needed a return.

When we found Josh and Ben of Birdsmouth Construction we knew we had the perfect partners for the type of project we wanted to do.  Birdsmouth is passionate about Passive House construction, which dramatically reduces the heating and cooling load of a house, and drops energy usage in a category where it is most impactful.  They helped us to sort through all of the possible certifications, their meanings and impacts.  We looked at LEEDNet ZeroPassive House, and Living Building Challenge as a way to measure the type of project we wanted to do, and where we could get the most “bang for our buck” when it comes to conservation.

We love working with Josh and Ben, in part because of their passion, and because they kept saying “yes, you can do this.”  We are in the design phase right now, and have outlined the following:  The home will be come two residences.  Inspired by the tiny house movement, we wanted both affordable housing, and flexible space that encourages people to live well, and consume less.  It will be built as a Passive house, and we will add solar, with those two strategies we hope to hit net zero energy.  We are looking into grey water systems, and rain catchment.   The property is designed for a sense of community, and will remain affordable for tenants.  It has flex space that could be for Air BnB, an older relative, home office etc.

Over all we find this project really exciting and rewarding.  We know we are building something that will improve lives, and provide a model for others to follow.  Keep an eye on us as we move this project forward for updates and videos!