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PHIUS Passive House

CWS Architects is proud to have been the lead architect on the multi-disciplined design, development and construction team for the recently certified Village Centre apartments – the first large-scaled, cold-climate Passive House certified multifamily development in the United States.  With 48 units of family apartments, a super-insulated building envelope, solar shaded triple pained insulated windows, and 100 solar panels on the roof, the facility is modeled to operate using about 29% of energy of the same, conventionally constructed building.

To achieve first-of-its-kind Passive House certification, each member of the design, development and construction team worked together from project conception to completion using a model that had previously only been achievable on much smaller and mostly single family projects.  Additionally, the team set out to not only demonstrate that this could be achieved, but also that it could be achieved under stringent affordable housing cost caps.  Careful cost analysis of every building material and system was considered to determine the lowest cost for the best benefit.  In the end, the cost of the project came in at 3% higher than conventional construction costs.

  • 2015   Village Centre Apartments, Brewer, ME (Community Housing of Maine), Developer:  Community Housing of Maine, Sustainability Modeling: Thornton Tomasetti, Construction Manager: Wright-Ryan Construction, Envelope Testing: Horizon Residential Services, Solar Array: ReVision Energy Solutions, Recognition: The first and the largest cold climate Passive House Affordable Housing project in the United States, Winner of the Passive House Institute US ‘Best Multifamily’ and ‘Best Affordable’ awards at its 2016 National Conference in Philadelphia