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Open house set for Studio 804's latest passive solar home

Monday, May 02, 2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Department of Architecture’s Studio 804 design-build program has completed its latest project, a net-zero, passive solar house. It will be open to the public 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at 1200 Pennsylvania St.

Final-year Master of Architecture students under the direction of Dan Rockhill, J.L. Constant Professor of Architecture, started design and construction of the house in August and put the finishing touches on this week. They will lead the tours.

The two-bedroom, two-bath house is designed to meet two sustainable building standards, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum and the Passive House Institute standards.

The house is on a north-facing corner lot in the historic east Lawrence neighborhood. It wraps around a south-facing courtyard that is the focal point of the house, with nearly every room opening onto it through full-height windows. The courtyard is open to the sun but protected from the north winds to maximize its use throughout the year.

“The design of the house was a real challenge because it is near a listed historic property. But it also had to respect the forms and character of the surrounding buildings while being distinctly new and really sustainable,” said Allison Wilke of St. Charles, Missouri.

The building’s siding is low-maintenance Western Red Cedar reclaimed from dismantled railroad bridge trestles. Countertops were cut from marble slabs salvaged from a demolished office building.

1200 Pennsylvania is fully accessible and features an airtight, highly insulated thermal envelope, state-of-the-art efficient light fixtures and appliances as well as a high -performance mechanical system.

These design characteristics in combination with a 20 photovoltaic panel array on the roof to power the house and through the net metering system excess energy produced is credited back to the homeowner.

“Since this house has the proper orientation to take advantage of the sun and wind, the owner should have little or no energy costs over a calendar year,” said Alyssa Johnston, George West, Texas.

“In the winter, heat produced by cooking and bathing is captured to help heat the house through the use of an energy recovery ventilator,” she said. “The building also needs much less cool air during the summer to keep the spaces comfortable. With the heavy insulation, airtight skin, and high-quality windows and doors, it performs like a Thermos that doesn’t allow the cool air to escape.”

Click here to see plans and renderings of 1200 Pennsylvania.