Rode Architects Completes First Passive Home in Boston, New England Pipeline on the Way

Brucewood Homes exterior image

Brucewood Homes. Photo courtesy of Rode Architect.

by | Aug 8, 2023

Brucewood Homes exterior image

(Credit: Rode Architects)

Rode Architects, a Boston-based collaborative design and architecture firm, has completed its first-ever internationally certified passive house in the City of Boston.

In partnership with Passive House Construction, Rode is completing a series of three single-family structures dubbed the Brucewood House project. 

Passive houses are certified for the reduction of energy use for heating and cooling a home or building, with high energy saving and carbon reduction. They are certified with requirements for well-insulated and air-sealed envelopes, natural light and solar gain, and highly-efficient HVAC systems to create a design with dramatically lower energy use.

“Brucewood Homes demonstrates our commitment to collaboration, craftsmanship, and pushing the boundaries to design buildings that address the issues of climate change,” Kevin Deabler, principal and co-founder of Rode Architects, said in a statement. “This project celebrates what we believe in: that our work enhances a sense of place, and often the simplest forms can make the biggest statements. We’re now exploring ways to bring this more into the mainstream in Greater Boston and beyond, including single-family, multi-family, and commercial developments.”

The homes are located in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, and they are designed with “significant energy-saving concepts that are consistent with Passive House, including airtight and heavily-insulated walls that significantly limit energy usage for heating and cooling throughout the seasons,” the company said.

The companies intend for the project to be a proof-of-concept for the Passive House method, which receives third-party performance designation based on minimal energy use for heating and cooling systems; tight tolerances and resilient construction; indoor air quality; and net-zero energy standards.

The project comes as Massachusetts recently implemented building codes that align closer to the Passive House standard.

Passive House structures are gaining more traction as cities and regions move toward carbon reduction goals in the future. In 2019, a building in the Bronx, New York, was named the largest certified passive house in North America. 

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