Design studio Bright Common saw an eco-friendly opportunity in a place many others would only associate with unpleasant smells. The Philadelphia-based firm transformed a former pickle factory in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood into a contemporary and near net-zero energy live-work space. The adaptive reuse project includes many energy-saving elements, from solar panels to low-flow plumbing fixtures.
The 1880s warehouse was converted into a modern live-work studio for fine arts photographer Jaime Alvarez and girlfriend Leah Shepperd. Bright Common shows off the factory’s industrial character with the inclusion of exposed original brick and even a vintage motor—once part of a service elevator—that hangs above the kitchen counter. However, the new home still achieves a contemporary and fresh aesthetic through open-plan layouts, state-of-the-art Energy Star appliances, and clean minimalist furnishings.
The spacious industrial building minimizes heat loss with super insulated and airtight construction as well as a high-efficiency air-to-air heat pump. A two-story-tall operable skylight space and other windows allow natural light and ventilation to pass through the space. Careful design of the dovetailed energy and envelope systems has earned the project a HERS rating of 34 and infiltration rate of 1.97 ACH50. Due to the “near net-zero energy retrofit,” the studio only totals around $175 a month in utility bills.
Images via Bright Common