Yannell PHIUS+ Residence

Nurture designed the first certified single-family Passive House Institute US (PHIUS 2018+) Renovation in a 14-state Midwest region, making it a first successful decarbonization project of its kind in both Illinois and in Chicago. Starting as a speculative development concept in 2017, completed in the summer of 2020, it sold on its first showing in September 2020. It has received significant press coverage, with videos of the project and a dedicated website produced to reach the greatest number of future homeowners and builders with the message that development of this type is necessary and possible.

The project was conceived to demonstrate to the growing speculative home renovation building market that renovations can achieve the greatest level of energy efficiency and sustainability by meeting PHIUS+ (Passive House) benchmarks, thus meeting 2050 decarbonization goals, providing a model for existing building electrification and development profit. Following strict PHIUS guidelines, one of the neighborhood’s original homes from the 1890s was completely reinterpreted and re-engineered into the home of the future along a commuter rail corridor, where thousands of people were able to watch the structure’s transformation.

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By adding an addition to the property and renovating it, the team designed a five-bedroom, three-bathroom solution in response to comparables in the neighborhood, intent on keeping the same contextual architectural form with some streamlined modern features indicating what is beyond the eye: R-48 graphite-infused continuous exterior insulation, closed-cell polyurethane interior wall insulation, and 36” of R-100 blown in glass mineral wool attic insulation resulting in an extremely airtight envelope minimizing energy demands.

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An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) replaces used stale air with clean, fresh air after harvesting the heat energy to heat the incoming air. A VRF (variable refrigerant flow) HVAC system is in place to provide comfort and energy efficient HVAC operations. Inside, this Passive Home is extremely well lit due to its triple-pane argon-filled insulated windows and features high-end finishes.

In addition to the PHIUS 2018+Core certification, the house earns the USDOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) status, is EPA Energy Star certified, and earns the US EPA’s Indoor airPLUS label—providing comprehensive interior air quality protections.

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