The idea of retrofitting is certainly nothing new, especially for historic buildings. But the Yannell PHIUS+ House project is turning a home built in the 1890s into a Passive House complete with modern style and amenities. The project, renovated by HPZS, is the first certified single-family Passive House in Chicago.

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gray home with gabled roof and covered front porch

The Yannell House was awarded PHIUS+ certification in 2018, but it has also gathered a number of other accolades. It is considered a Zero Energy Ready Home by the Department of Energy, and the residence has earned Energy Star certification and an Indoor airPLUS label from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Related: World’s largest Passive House building to open in Kansas City

person sitting on tufted white sofa

This historic property is a five-bedroom, three-bath home with R-48 graphite-infused exterior insulation and closed-celled polyurethane interior wall insulation. The attic has R-100 blown in glass mineral wool insulation. All of this creates an airtight envelope that minimizes energy needs. Meanwhile, an Energy Recovery Ventilator harvests heat energy and turns the stale air in the house into clean air. The windows are triple-pane and filled with argon for added airtightness. Yannell House has a fiber-cement cladding.

person in gray and white kitchen

This beautiful home in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood is a blueprint for the future and a model for other homes to follow, both historic and brand-new. The roof includes a 2.8KW photovoltaic system.

Inside, high-end finishes and a neutral color scheme create a calming, luxurious space for the residents. The 3,884-square-foot home spans two floors plus a basement, all of which maintain comfortable temperatures thanks to the Passive House qualities.

person sitting in chair in corner of room facing a large bed

“While most homes built to PHIUS standards are for private homeowners, the client in this case is looking to create a precedent for speculative sustainable homebuilding in the Midwest,” the architects said.

Chicago-based HPZS is a completely woman-owned, full-service architectural firm dedicated to historic preservation, adaptive reuse, sustainable design and affordable housing.


Images via HPZS