Modern Prototype Passivhaus in Syracuse

This is R-House, a recently built prototype home in Syracuse that is pursuing both Passive House and LEED certification.  It was recently honored with a 2011 AIA Housing Award, and one of the jurors said the 1,100 square-foot home presents “A new slant on sustainability!”  R-House was designed in partnership by Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office and is an interesting case study for the next generation of smaller, greener, ultra-low energy homes.

The home is striking on many levels.  Its roof and walls are covered in corrugated aluminum (Litsco), while the windows and skylights have been placed with care to optimize southern natural light.

Though the exterior appears small in photos, R-House has an airy, cozy interior with a two-level plan that maintains a small footprint.  The upstairs has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a open loft that spills over to the first level.

As with many Passive Houses, this home has an air tight envelope, high-performance windows, and an efficient heat recovery ventilator to circulate air and maintain warmth.  R-House was built by Home HeadQuarters with a total construction budget of $150,000.

[+] Read about the 2011 AIA Housing Award to R-House.

Credits: © Richard Barnes; Architecture Research Office (graphic).

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  • Chad Ludeman

    I can’t believe this project has not comments. Let’s fix that. 

    Love, love the mechanical system! Use your gas water heater as double duty for domestic hot water and heating. It’s possibly after super insulating and air sealing to Passive House levels. 

    Wonder if they have any cooling or dehumidification? Anyone find more info on mechanicals anywhere?

  • D Evans

    Would love to get more info on your house or ideally begin a conversation with you.  My husband and I are building a passive house in Austin and do not have no experience.  My email is

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