Photo courtesy of PHIUS

PHIUS (Passive House Institute US) recently announced the winners of the 2019 Passive House Projects Competition at the Design Awards. The annual competition, part of the 14th Annual North American Passive House Conference, recognizes buildings for their quality construction, affordability, and sustainability. Each year PHIUS awards buildings for superior compliance with their standards.

PHIUS works with fully certified structures around the world and evaluates them on the following factors: energy performance and use of sustainable materials, design, craftsmanship, cost effectiveness, and how well the structure is built based on the area’s climate and surroundings.

This year’s winners are:

Tierra Linda paves the way for other Chicago homes to comply with Passive House standards. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Tierra Linda in Chicago, IL

Best Overall Project – Winner; Multifamily – Winner; Affordable – Honorable Mention

Tierra Linda, located on the 606 Trail near Chicago’s Humboldt Park and Logan Square, is the city’s first multi-family Passive House dwelling. Tierra Linda includes the Passive House six-flat, as well as a separate building with Energy Star requirements. This way the developer team will be able to monitor and compare Tierra Linda’s energy usage.

Made up of 45 apartments, Tierra Linda is the first sustainably focused structure by LUCHA, a Midwest organization advocating for improved housing services and affordable development. Through Tierra Linda, LUCHA exemplifies their mission to integrate green building and improve the community around them. In Chicago, LUCHA works to improve housing affordability in an increasingly exclusive environment for low-income Chicagoans.

  • CPHC®: Lisa White
  • Builder: Linn-Mathes Inc.
  • Architect: Landon Bone Baker Architects
  • Developer: LUCHA
  • Designer: RTM Associates
  • PHIUS+ 2015 Certified 


This nearly net-zero house includes a front porch, detached garage, and outdoor courtyard. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

PH01:BRK in Brookings, SD

Best Project By a Young Professional Under 35 – Winner

Graduate students at South Dakota State University built this home as part of a case study. Faculty at the school’s Department of Architecture led the students in constructing a house that meets PHIUS standards. The result? A nearly net-zero energy home—the first in the area to create the amount of energy used onsite. Because South Dakota has yet to adopt energy codes, this house serves as a demonstration of sustainable building in the area.

Students built the house a walkable distance from South Dakota State University with sustainably sourced wood. The owners of the house have funded the building of another Passive House, which will be built next door to this one.

  • CPHC®: Robert Arlt
  • Builder: Brookings Built Green
  • Architect: DoArch, Charles MacBride, Robert Arlt
  • PHIUS+ 2015 Certified


This top-performing home blends seamlessly into its wooded surroundings. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Acorn Glade in Downers Grove, IL 

Single Family – Winner; Source Zero – Winner

Acorn Glade—designed for owners who wanted an attractive but modest, energy-efficient house—spans 1,800 square feet. Energy-efficient factors include a solar photovoltaic array and panels that allow the owners to use only as much energy as they create. The array also charges the owners’ electric car.

The home also boasts frosted glass panels that filter natural light. These protect the owners from the sun’s UV rays while also cutting down on that energy bill when it comes to lighting. This feature, among others, allows Acorn Glade to use one-tenth of the heating energy of—and 65% less overall energy than—a home built to code.

To safeguard the owners’ health and promote air quality, the house includes no toxic paints and sealants or cabinetry and panels with added formaldehyde. It does, however, contain a demand-controlled ventilation system. 

  • CPHC®: Tom Bassett-Dilley
  • Builder: Evolutionary Home Builders
  • Architect: Tom Bassett-Dilley Architects
  • PHIUS+ 2018 Certified
  • PHIUS+ Source Zero Certified


Italian Market is the first PHIUS certified single-family home in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Italian Market Passive House in Philadelphia, PA

Single Family – Honorable Mention

Italian Market is PHIUS’ first certified single-family home in Philadelphia. The all-electric home uses no gas or fossil fuels. Instead, solar panels and a green roof help owners reduce their carbon footprint. The home promotes water and energy efficiency with water conservation, recycled and reused materials, and efficient lighting and ventilation.

  • CPHC®: Laura Blau
  • Builder: Hanson General Contracting
  • Architect: BluPath Design, Inc.
  • Designer: Mark Ulrick Engineers
  • PHIUS+ Certified


Park Avenue Green provides much-needed low-income, environmentally friendly homes in the Bronx. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Park Avenue Green in Bronx, NY 

Multifamily – Honorable Mention

Park Avenue Green, in the Melrose neighborhood of the Bronx, boasts 154 units in a 15-story building—the ground floor of which houses a gallery and studios for local artists. Park Avenue Green offers comfortable homes and cutting-edge building technology, and it’s the largest Passive House Affordable Housing Development in the US. Park Avenue Green also uses a VRF system, is storm resilient, and has solar photovoltaic panels on its roof.

  • CPHC®: Manalee Nabar
  • Builder: Monadnock Construction Inc.
  • Architect: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects LLP
  • Designer: Rodkin Cardinale, P.C.
  • PHIUS+ 2015 Certified


The Habitat 20K is Alabama’s first certified Passive House. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Habitat 20K Passive House in Opelika, AL

Affordable – Winner

The Habitat 20K is Alabama’s first certified Passive House. The two-bedroom, 819-square-foot home was built by university students as part of Auburn Opelika’s Habitat for Humanity. The wood-framed structure was designed by Auburn University Habitat and 20K Passive House Studio. Students collaborated with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety’s FORTIFIED program to ensure maximum safety on this project.

  • CPHC®: David Bitter (Solera Studios)
  • Builder: Auburn University 20K Initiative/Real Life builders, LLC
  • Architect: Auburn University 20K Initiative and Solera Studios
  • Designer: Auburn University 20K Initiative, Solera Studios, and Mitsubishi
  • PHIUS+ 2018 Certified 


PARC is a net-zero energy building complete with gym and preschool. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Prairie Activity & Recreation Center (PARC) in Plainfield, IL

Commercial – Winner

Prairie Activity & Recreation Center (PARC), the park district’s main facility, is a two-story concrete building with a gym, fitness center, walking track, and preschool, among other amenities.

The net-zero energy building uses a 213 kW array to create all of the energy it needs. The building incorporated limited windows, superior insulation, LED lighting and sensors, and an efficient ventilator to improve energy efficiency. The structure was also built east to west to limit the amount of sunlight indoors.

  • CPHC®: Lisa White
  • Builder: Wight & Company
  • Architect: Wight & Company
  • Designer: Wight & Company
  • PHIUS+ 2015 Certified
  • Source Zero Certified


Sustainable garment factory Star Garment Innovation Center is the first Passive House site in South Asia. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Star Garment Innovation Center in Katunayake, Sri Lanka

Commercial – Honorable Mention

Sustainable garment factory Star Garment Innovation Center is the first Passive House site in South Asia and the second Passive House factory in the world. The center now consumes 54% less energy than before, largely because it was renovated rather then demolished, resulting in less waste and fossil fuel emissions.

The building is a pioneer when it comes to Sri Lanka’s monsoon climate. To improve worker comfort, renovations included natural light, filtered air, and constant indoor temperatures. Local architects, engineers, and builders were hired as part of this project. 

  • Builder: Tritech Engineers (Pvt) Ltd
  • Architect: Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture (Brooklyn) & Vinod Jayasinghe Associates (Pvt) Ltd. (Sri Lanka)
  • Designer: CDC Consultants K2 Consultants (PVT) LTD CPHD: Jordan Parnass (JPDA)


In the basement of Rockquist Minor, systems underneath the bathrooms allow for hot water pipes to be shorter in length. Photo courtesy of PHIUS

Rockquist Minor in Garrison, NY

Source Zero – Honorable Mention

The owners of Rockquist Minor actively worked with the house’s architects and builders to create this weekend home, which will become a guest cottage when they build a year-round residence next door. The home includes an open kitchen, a ground floor bedroom with an ADA accessible bathroom, and two bedroom suites upstairs.

Energy-efficient supplier Yaro provided windows and doors to better insulate the home. The house also has high air tightness, no vertical muntins on any door or windows, and, perhaps best of all, a view of the Hudson River.

  • CPHC®: Juhee Lee-Hartford, Adriana Rombaldi
  • Builder: Heitmann Builders
  • Architect: River Architects
  • Designer: Tony Lisanti
  • PHIUS+ 2015 Certified
  • Source Zero Certified


PHIUS is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to transforming the building sector by developing and promoting North American specific standards, practices, and certifications for buildings, professionals, and products to create structures that are durable, comfortable, healthy, and energy-efficient.