New Orleans

Modern Low-Cost, Low-Energy Passive House for the Lower 9th Ward

International competition-winning entry to a challenge posted by Design by Many, the Low Cost/Low Energy Passive House for New Orleans employs an efficient linear organization, and very simply integrates both passive and active climate regulation systems. The Passive House for New Orleans design conforms to both the post-Katrina New Orleans building code, ensuring security in case of flooding; as well as principles of the stringent, German PassivHaus standard; resulting in a highly resource and energy-efficient design. This is accomplished through features such as: an optimized insulation strategy; a highly airtight building envelope; concrete floors as thermal mass; deep roof overhangs to provide passive solar protection in the summer while allowing passive solar heat gain in the winter; and an elevated floor height raised seven feet above-grade, providing both flood resilience in the Lower 9th Ward and shaded parking and living spaces below. Additionally, highly reflective, self-venting, recyclable Galvalume roofing and exterior cladding; an east/west axis to address natural ventilation and day lighting; and a simple, prefabricated construction process minimize upfront construction costs and achieve an astonishing degree of energy-efficiency.

In the wake of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, SUSTAINABLE.TO noticed that not only were the 19th century “shotgun houses” prevalent among the structures remaining intact and habitable, but they were also very beautiful in their own right. With high ceilings and local, cypress wood-frame construction, the Low Cost/Low Energy Passive House for New Orleans keeps true to its architectural heritage, while maintaining a high level of appeal in the 21st-century.

New Orleans
149 m², 1,600 ft²
Project Lead:
Paul Dowsett
Energy Use Intensity:
Estimated: 96 kWh/m²
Reduction in Energy Use from Typical: