The so-called Right-Sized Oak Park Home, designed by architect Tom Bassett-Dilley is a great example of how a passive and sustainable house does not need to be about giving up comfort and other modern conveniences. It boasts of a number of sustainable features and certifications, yet still fits right in with the other houses in Chicago’s Oak Park neighborhood, which is famous for its Frank Lloyd Wright house.
Right-Sized Oak Park Home is a 1800-square-foot, single family house. It is seeking a number of certifications, including Passive House under PHIUS 2015, LEED-H Platinum, Net Zero Energy, and HERS. These standards are achieved by a combination of the home’s smaller size and its ultra-efficient thermal envelope. The home is also fitted with very efficient fixtures and appliances, and uses just a fraction of the energy of a traditionally-built house.
The home features a continuous ventilation system, and only non-toxic, formaldehyde/VOC-free finishes were used in order to ensure optimal indoor air quality and comfort of the inhabitants. Due to the small footprint of the home, there is enough room for a large garden, and a patio with an outdoor fireplace room.
The home was also fitted with Zola Thermo uPVC, triple-glazed windows with insulated uPVC frames, which have a great performance. While these windows are more expensive and bring up the building costs considerably, it is very important to install highly efficient windows when pursuing the Passive House standard.
This new home is also in line with architect Tom Bassett-Dilley’s manifesto, which aims to promote a simplified, healthier and more sustainable means of constructing homes, without actually sacrificing the comforts of modern day life. Among other things he promotes homes, which are just the right size with no unnecessary rooms, or basements, extra bathrooms, formal living rooms and the like. He also promotes constructing homes with the right orientation to ensure proper shading and prevent heat loss in the colder months, and building compact dwellings with airtight envelopes, and efficient lighting, appliances, and mechanical systems, as well as use of natural, non-toxic finishes.