The Belfield Townhomes is a unique experiment for our development/design/build company. This project represents the future of high quality “subsidized,” “social,” and “affordable” housing and for the development of high-performance, net-zero-energy-capable urban building in Philadelphia and the rest of the country.
We were approached by the Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) to determine if we could salvage a project they had been working on with a local Non-Profit CDC, for an affordable housing development in the Logan section of the city. After reviewing the project we determined that we could not only design and build these homes for the specified budget, but that the homes would be the first Passive House Certified and Net-Zero-Energy-Capable homes, thus dispelling the notion that high-quality and high-performance building was necessarily expensive to build.
The project consists of three “row” style, 1,920-square-foot, three-story, 4-5 bedroom townhomes. The homes are required to be occupied by currently or formerly homeless families.
We designed these homes in the tradition of the Philadelphia “row” house, simply and efficiently organized, with a handicap-accessible ground floor living, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. The second and third floors have three more bedrooms, two bathrooms, and one office. The buildings are set back from the sidewalk, to match the adjacent neighbors and create planters and a front porch for community engagement.
Our interest is in creating Net-Zero-Energy buildings that can and should be the standard for construction in the United States. In order to know how the homes were performing, we installed a Energy Monitoring system that provides constant feedback on energy use, and also production from the Solar arrays on the roofs.
We were able to complete these homes on time, achieve Passive House Certification for the standard budget.