Cleveland Museum to Build Home Using Ultra-Efficient, Passive House Technology

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Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:54 am | Updated: 4:21 am, Tue Jan 25, 2011.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will construct a home that represents the future of energy-efficient housing. SmartHome Cleveland will be built on Museum grounds and open to the public this summer for viewing in conjunction with an exhibition about climate change.

SmartHome Cleveland was designed using the Passive House methodology, one of the world's most advanced standards of energy performance. The house will be built using a wall system based on structural insulated panels. Construction should be completed in early June, when it will become a temporary exhibition.

Designed without a furnace, SmartHome Cleveland will be 90 percent more energy efficient than a typical home. It will be constructed using sustainable materials and furnishings, advanced stormwater and healthy housing techniques, and biophilic design to connect occupants to nature. Three elements distinguish "passive house" structures from typical houses: high levels of insulation, with walls up to 18 inches thick; a carefully sealed building envelope with minimal air leakage combined with efficient heat-recovery ventilation for superior indoor air quality; and ultra high-performance windows-typically triple-paned.

"SmartHome Cleveland will give thousands of people hands-on experience with the most advanced, practical and attractive techniques of green building and energy conservation," said David Beach, director of GreenCityBlueLake Institute, the center for sustainability at the Museum. "It will also raise design standards in Northeast Ohio by increasing awareness of passive house principles, and can help make Cleveland a center for advanced design."

SmartHome Cleveland will be on display from June to September 2011. Afterward, the house will be moved to a lot on Wade Park Avenue in Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood and become available for purchase.

"We're excited about the opportunity to bring the leading ideas of building science to Northeast Ohio," said Dr. Evalyn Gates, the Museum's executive director and CEO. "This will be the ultimate green exhibit that will then become a permanent asset to Cleveland."

Chuck Miller of Doty & Miller Architects in Cleveland designed the home. Certified Passive House Consultant Mark Hoberecht of HarvestBuild Associates will oversee its adherence to Passive House Institute U.S. standards.

SmartHome Cleveland is funded by The Cleveland Foundation, The George B. Storer Foundation, an anonymous donor and several other sponsors.

Images and a video are available at

SOURCE: Cleveland Museum of Natural History


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