Story at a glance:

  • PHIUS announced the winners of the eighth annual Passive Projects Design Competition.
  • The awards were announced during PhiusCon 2022 at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago.

On October 27, 2022, leaders at Phius made some exciting announcements to reveal the winners of the eighth annual Passive Projects Design Competition. This year’s winners continue to inspire as they push the (building) envelope for passive houses.

What are the principles of passive building, exactly?

What are the Principles of Passive Building?

Phius defines the principles of passive building as:

1. Using continuous insulation throughout the building envelope to minimize or eliminate thermal bridging

2. Building a well-detailed and extremely airtight building envelope, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air while increasing envelope durability and longevity

3. Employing high-performance windows (double or triple-paned) and doors. Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes in the heating season and to minimize overheating during the cooling season.

4. Using some form of balanced heat- and moisture-recovery ventilation to significantly enhance indoor air quality

5. Minimizing the space conditioning system because of lower space conditioning loads

The 2022 Phius Design Competition winners are:

Best High-Rise Multifamily & Best Overall Project


425 Grand Concourse took home the title of Best Overall Project in 2022 Phius Passive Projects Design Competition. Rendering courtesy of Phius

425 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY

Dattner Architects says 425 Grand Concourse is the largest Passive House project planned for North America to date.

The new mixed-use and mixed-income development will create more than 250 units of affordable housing.

The two-story base will house a medical facility, supermarket, community support space, and a new student services center.

Architect: Dattner Architects
Builder: Monadnock Construction
CPHC: Lois Arena
PHIUS Rater/Verifier: Michael O’Donnell
Owner/Developer: Trinity Financial

Best Single-Family


Fifth Street Passive House in Boise was designed by VY Architecture and won Best Single-Family in the 2022 PHIUS Passive Projects Design Competition. Photo courtesy of Phius

Fifth Street Passive House, Boise, ID

Interior detailing stands out at Fifth Street Passive House, with clean, minimalist design and beautiful wood paneling.

Judges said this project was a great example of how a high-performance home can also be elegant.

Architect: VY Architecture
Builder: King Building & Remodeling
CPHC: Scott Yribar
PHIUS Rater/Verifier: John Reuter
Owner/Developer: Skylar Swinford

Best Low-Rise Multifamily


Old Colony Phase 3C, designed by The Architectural Team, won best Low-Rise Multifamily. Photo courtesy of Phius

Old Colony Phase 3C, Boston

This multifamily project pairs a beautiful exterior with interesting siding and shading details and vibrant color.

Much like the first two phases, The Architectural Team says it will replace the remainder of the site’s 75-year-old superblocks with modern, attractive mid-rise buildings that work well in the context of the neighborhood. New streets will provide sidewalks and incorporate open spaces as well as views of the adjacent park and waterfront.

More than 300 new affordable apartments will provide updated living spaces for public housing residents when this project is complete.

Architect: The Architectural Team
Builder: Dimeo Construction Company
CPHC: New Ecology
PHIUS Rater/Verifier: New Ecology
Owner/Developer: Beacon Communities

Best Commercial/Institutional


Doig River Cultural Center won Best Commercial/Institutional project. Photo courtesy of Phius

Doig River Cultural Center, Moberly Lake, BC

This cultural center complements its natural surroundings as it’s nestled into the slope in a grove of birch and aspen trees.

Designed as a modern answer to the traditional church structure, the center is a hybrid of site-built and prefabricated components and emphasizes minimal but effective windows and glazing.

Architect: Iredale Architecture
Builder: Erik Olofsson
CPHC: Brittany Coughlin
PHIUS Rater/Verifier: Kathleen Narbonne
Owner/Developer: Doig River First Nations

Best Retrofit


Theresa Passive House in Austin, Texas won Best Retrofit. Photo by Andrea Perez

Theresa Passive House, Austin, TX

This single-family home combines old with new with stunning new elevation and interiors as part of the renovation and addition to a 1914 Craftsman bungalow.

The project in historic Old West Austin has plentiful light and outdoor space.

Architects: Forge Craft Architecture, Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
Builder: CleanTag
CPHC: Trey Farmer
PHIUS Rater/Verifier: Ned Fisher – ATS
Owner/Developer: Trey Farmer and Adrienne Farmer

Best Source Zero


Acton Passive House, designed by ZeroEnergy Design, won Best Source Zero. Photo by Alex Rabe

Acton Passive House, Acton, MA

This clean design from ZeroEnergy Design effectively uses space for a small operational impact, with vastly reduced embodied energy.

Rooftop solar panels will produce enough energy to arrive at net zero or net positive energy, too.

Architect: ZeroEnergy Design
Builder: Adams + Beasley Associates
CPHC: Jordan Goldman, ZeroEnergy Design
PHIUS Rater/Verifier: Mike Browne, Advance Building Analysis

Best Project by a Young Professional


Santaella Gardens in the Bronx, New York. Photo courtesy of Phius

Santaella Gardens, Bronx, NY

This super‐insulated project has a virtually air‐tight building envelope with thermally broken, high‐performance windows and advanced air sealing details to eliminate condensation and air exfiltration.

The high‐performance envelope offers residents enhanced thermal comfort while lowering heating and cooling costs.

Phius judges also loved the brick facade and rooftop deck.

Architect: Dattner Architects
Builder: Monadnock
CPHC: Bright Power
PHIUS Rater/Verifier: Bright Power
Owner/Developer: Phipps Houses/Acacia Network