Net Zero Rowhouse
dMAS was initially engaged to adapt an existing brick and wood frame rowhouse to accommodate new programmatic changes and exceed current energy code requirements on an infill site in the Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia. After a rigorous assessment process, the existing structure was found to be structurally compromised, which set our team on a course to build a new home utilizing serviceable elements of the existing foundation that would boast a zero carbon footprint. The home’s design employs a plan and section that accommodate required functions and is organized around a desire to create light-filled spaces connected spatially and visually through the strategic placement of light wells. Additionally, the light wells facilitate chimney effect and promote natural cooling and air changes within the residence. The house employs an exposed wood armature to structure and define the spaces used by its inhabitants. The project delivers net-zero energy use by integrating an 8100 kwh rooftop PV array, which provides 100% of the house’s yearly anticipated electric demand, and a vertical loop geothermal heating and cooling system, supplemented by super-insulated roof and wall assemblies, and triple glazed windows. A 1000-gallon water storage tank collects all roof runoff and repurposes it to provide 80% of the building’s gray water needs. A rain garden in the rear yard receives overflow runoff and infiltrates it back into the ground and water table, further reducing demand on existing public stormwater infrastructure. All interior and exterior materials have been carefully researched, curated, and selected for qualities that include low emissivity, renewable sources, and low embodied energy.