Chesapeake Passive House has teamed up with Brennan+Company Architects on a retrofit of an historic building in Historic Ellicott City Maryland. The building is a commercial office space with three separate spaces on 2 and a half stories. When the project is complete the offices will become the home of Brennan+Company Architects and the eco-friendly kitchen and bath show-room, Alterego.
The building will be aggressively air-sealed and insulated in all accessible framing cavities of the original timber-frame structure with an additional thermal break layer furred out on the interior walls and against some roof rafters. The insulation will be comprised of a minimal close cell spray foam flash for better air sealing and urea-formaldehyde free blown in fiberglass.
The renovation of the second floor office space will include various “sustainable” materials; floating marmoleum flooring, floating cork flooring, floating bamboo flooring, wool carpeting tiles, zero-VOC paint, NAUF pantry cabinets, bamboo vanity + credenza, concrete counters, Icestone counters, Alchemy counters, and Water Sense fixtures.
Since the existing building prior to renovation had some very challenging design features, had been poorly renovated in the past, had a dangerous and cobbled together heating “system”, and was anything but air tight, it would be very hard to establish a baseline of performance for the existing structure. (It would have been completely impossible to perform a blower-door test anywhere near 50 pascals.)
That being said, the energy performance of the building should be dramatically improved. I would not be uncomfortable claiming 60% energy demand reductions, though given a lack of a baseline I cannot provide data. All of the energy modeling was based on conservative estimates and shows between 59% and 63% reduction in heating demands and a 52% decrease in cooling demand. Let’s just say this building was an environmental and occupant health disaster, and it will now boast a quite respectable level of performance and reductions in carbon footprint.
The project is currently under construction and we will be following up with details and construction photos.