Passive House Los Angeles (PHLA+)

  • Building Type : Isolated or semi-detached house
  • Construction Year : 2019
  • Delivery year :
  • Address 1 - street : LOS ANGELES, USA
  • Climate zone : [Csa] Interior Mediterranean - Mild with dry, hot summer.

  • Net Floor Area : 1 750 m2

Proposed by :

Certifications :

  • Primary energy need :
    32 kWhpe/m2.year
    (Calculation method : Other )

This single-family residence is a “PASSIVE HOUSE PLUS” certified building in West Los Angeles (Culver City) and one of the first Passive House buildings in Southern California. It is an all-electric home focusing on the reduction of energy consumption, reduction of operational carbon and providing most of the needed power via a small on-site photovoltaic system with onsite battery storage (14kWh). This is a Net Zero Energy Home, which turns out a to be a “Plus Energy Home” with 16x solar PV panels. After the first year of operation the surplus power generated onsite is sufficient to drive an electric vehicle +/- 10,000 miles.

Passive House Los Angeles (PHLA+) is located on a duplex lot, an infill site and is comprised of 1,791 sq.ft. living area with an additional large 400 sq.ft. deck area over the carport. This home has four bedrooms and three baths. Large windows with automated exterior sun shades are providing sufficient natural daylight and a connection between indoor and outdoor living even with this home’s limited footprint.

PHLA+’s energy performance was modeled using the by the Passive House Institute (PHI) developed Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software and following the 5x basic Passive House principles:

(1) Climate specific continuous insulation. PHLA+ uses two Inches of rigid foam insulation below the slab on grade, 2x6 wood framing with net & blow insulation and 1 ½” of exterior continuous basalt rock and recycled slag insulation.

(2) Minimizing thermal bridges.

(3) High-efficiency operable windows & exterior automated venetian blinds for shading which are reducing the cooling load significantly. At the same time providing daylight with views to the exterior during the day and privacy at night.

(4) The Airtight building envelope was achieved with a liquid applied air barrier. PHLA+ achieved 0.48 ACH50 which is well below the very demanding Passive House certification requirement of 0.6 air changes per hour for new construction.

(5) Continuous 24-hour filtered (MERV-13) fresh air ventilation with heat recovery (HRV).
Fresh air is getting supplied to the living and bedrooms and is extracted from the bathrooms, kitchen and storage areas. Ventilation systems like this have gained more interest this year due to COVID-19 and local wild fires. No air is re-circulated in the building and always 100% fresh air is provided.



11/2019 “North American Finalist” & “National Winner” of 5th CertainTeed Gypsum Trophy.

10/2019 AIA COTE MERIT AWARD, Passive House Los Angeles (PHLA+) receives the AIA Award.

9/2019 ENERGY EFFICIENCY AWARD – German Innovation in US Buildings. Partners: AIA San Francisco, USGBC Northern California, DGNB, AHK German American Chamber of Commerce.

10/2019 California Advanced Homes.

See more details about this project

Photo credit

Fraser Almeida


    Guillermo Delgadillo & team Julio & team

Construction Manager

    PARAVANT Architects

    Christian Kienapfel


    Certification company

    Certiphiers, Tad Everhart, Christina Snyder & team


    Troyski Engineering


    KNB Associates


    Avery Colter, Fard Engineers Inc.


    Dav Camras


    CPHBA, Cyril Petit

Owner approach of sustainability

  • VOC absorbing drywall through the home.
  • Water based exterior metal façade paint.
  • White TPO roofing membrane with cool roof / high reflective
  • Low water consumption appliances (washing machine, dish washer) and fixtures (faucets, shower heads, toilets).
  • Motion activated hot water recirculation pump / loop.
  • Drip Irrigation with smart sprinkler controller (weather sensor to avoid irrigation on rainy days).
  • Drought tolerant landscape and low water use plant selection.


Architectural description

This residence is a 4x bed room / 3x bath home for a family of 3 three. One bedroom used as a permanent home-office. The project stays significantly below the maximum allowable combined FAR for this site. This new Passive House single family residence is located in the rear portion of the property. The existing front unit is used as a rental property.

Energy consumption

  • 32,00 kWhpe/m2.year
  • Other

    Primary energy needs corresponds to Passivhaus PER value.

    “Plus Energy Building” with 16x Solar PV Panel. Net Zero with 10x PV panel.
    2,500 kWh surplus after 12x month of operation (=10K miles in a Tesla 3)

    Power wall Battery Backup system.
    EUI: 8.3 after first year of operation.85% self-performing during the first 12x month of operation.
    Automated exterior sun shading to reduce cooling loads.

Envelope performance

    Exterior wall 2x6 Wood Framing, Cavity Blow-in Insulation (KNAUF)
    Continuous Exterior Insulation (ROCKWOOL)CAT-5
    Basement floor / floor slabSlab on grade, Rigid InsulationRoofWood FramingFrameCertified Passive House component
    Zola , Aluminum Wood Clad Windows

  • 0,48


    • Heat pump
    • Heat pump
    • Others
    • Double flow heat exchanger
    • Solar photovoltaic

    Passive House LA (PHLA+) was designed to provide maximum comfort and healthy indoor air quality while at the same time reducing the energy consumption to the max: EUI 8,3 kBtu/sf./year compared to a standard EUI of +/- 38 kBtu/sf./year (per UCLA Energy Atlas for Culver City 2016 data, Los Angeles is EUI 40 kBtu/sf./year). This was achieved by a high performing Passive House building envelope, drastic reduction of energy consumption and then supplementing the remaining lower energy demand via a small photovoltaic system. PHLA+ is an all-electric building and beside the previously stated 5x Passive House principles uses also the following strategies:• Heat-pump for heating & cooling (one mini unit split only for the entire building, the smallest Mitsubishi unit available on the market at the time).• Heat-pump water heater with motion sensor activated recirculation pump (bathroom, power & kitchen) to reduce waste of water.• Heat-pump cloth dryer.-Induction cooktop. -LED light fixtures throughout.• Highly efficient appliances throughout.PPHLA+ will have very low utility bills for the entire live cycle of the building. In the past two years we never have paid more than the mandatory minimum +/- $12.00 monthly Southern California Edison (SCE) power bill. Last year alone our bill shows a -$596.00 credit for 2020. Passive House buildings are therefore less impacted by future increases in energy cost.

Urban environment

Single family residence infill project in rear portion of an existing residential property (Zoning R-3).

Building to the International Passive House Standard is resulting in ultra-low energy buildings that require very little energy for space heating and cooling. This residence is a fossil fuel free all electric home minimizing it’s carbon footprint even more.

The intent of this single-family residence is to create a Passive House showcase building in Los Angeles in order to demonstrate the comfort, high indoor air quality and exceptional performance of Passive House the leading international low energy building standard. So far more than 600 people have visited this building to experience the comfort in person.

Green Solutions Awards 2020-2021

Author of the page

  • Christian Kienapfel

    Architect, Certified Passive House Designer (CPHD/C), LEED-AP


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    Green Solutions Awards 2020-2021