Leed Certification
Energy and Atmosphere

Saft Passive House


Corey Saft


Lafayette, LA

LEED Consultant:

Chip Henderson


Green Rater:

Project Goal:

Wanting a protected play area for their children, architecture professor Corey Saft and his wife began brainstorming ways to create a safe space on their property. Building a wall seemed like a natural solution. But that plan quickly evolved into a different type of structure – a second house that would be designed with Passive House criteria, specifically for the hot, humid climate in Louisiana, while providing the desired buffer from an adjacent street. The resulting project established a cost-effective prototype for sustainable urban infill as well as becoming a flexible space for students and guests.


Long and thin, the new house bounds the street edge of the Saft's property opposite their existing house, creating a central courtyard for family recreation. The narrow 1/7-acre site dictated the new home’s 17-foot-wide-by-50-foot-long form and compact footprint—800 square feet.

According to the Passive House Institute U.S, it is the first residence in the southern United States to have been certified under the Passive House standard.

Instead of capturing and retaining solar heat and warmth generated by occupants, appliances, and other mechanical systems, a Passive House in a hot, humid climate must counteract internally and externally generated heat and humidity through strategic shading, mechanical ventilation, and energy-using cooling systems.

A Passive House is designed to be extremely energy efficient. In order to be certified as a Passive House, a building has to meet only three criteria:

■Space heating and cooling cannot exceed 15 kWh per square meter per year (4.8 kBtu/ft2 per year).
■Source energy cannot exceed 120 kWh per square meter per year (38.1 kBtu/ft2 /year).
■Building air tightness cannot exceed 0.6 ACH50.

If you can achieve these goals, you have reduced the energy consumption of the building by roughly 90% over a typical code-built building. Once you reduce your utilities that much, it’s easy to get to net zero energy.

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