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The Passive Rowhouse Manual: Current Trends in Passive Rowhouse Design

March 15, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Rowhouses are a ubiquitous building type in old cities such as Philadelphia (and also Chicago), in part because they are space-efficient and cost effective, with inherent energy efficiency. They also support beautiful walkable urbanism. People love them and can afford to live in them. But almost all do not perform like they could.

Rowhouses can be renovated to the most energy efficient standard – Passive House – creating fossil-fuel free, low-carbon, comfortable and healthy housing with great indoor air quality.

The presentation will describe The Passive Rowhouse Manual, prepared by the Passive House Community of Green Building United. GBU, founded in 2001 as Delaware Valley Green Building Council, is a member-driven, mission-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to foster transformative impact in our communities through green building education and advocacy.

The Manual addresses the many challenges and opportunities to achieve low-carbon performance in rowhouses. It is a working guide for developers, contractors and designers to renovate a rowhouse to the most rigorous energy performance certification, Passive House. Each of the nine chapters is focused on a topic specific to Passive House design and construction, from determining whether Passive House is feasible for your project all the way through testing and verifying for Passive House certification. The manual examines the building science behind the techniques, materials and products that make Passive House possible in all types of buildings, and especially rowhouses.

The Manual developed from a series of demonstration projects (‘charrettes’) that GBU’s Passive House Community planned and hosted in Philadelphia during 2018 and 2019. The Passive House Community is a volunteer organization composed of engineers, architects, designers, planners, consultants, students, and interested persons with the common goal of making Passive House design and construction mainstream.

About the Presenter
Paul Thompson AIA, LEED BD+C, CPHC (Certified Passive House Consultant) is a principal at BluPath, a Philadelphia architecture firm focusing on simple, elegant and environmentally sensitive spaces for mission-driven clients. He is a founding member of the Passive House Community of Green Building United. He has a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah and a MArch from the University of Virginia. Paul and partner Laura Blau AIA, CPHC, renovated a 4-story, 4-apartment historic Philadelphia rowhouse to EnerPHit standard, the Passive House certification for retrofit projects.


March 15, 2023
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Phius Alliance Chicago
View Organizer Website


Online – Zoom