Why is Beracah Homes Building a Passive House?

HVAC Unit Inside House - Cooling Lines In Stud Cavity


Beracah Homes is proud to be involved in the Passive House project on Addison Road in Prince George’s County, Maryland. We were chosen as the builder for this groundbreaking home because, unlike other modular builders, Beracah Homes has an existing commitment to Energy Star building standards. Beracah already builds our homes with dense fiberglass insulation in the walls, and tightly sealed seams.  Most modular builders just design and build to minimum code.  

The Addison Road project is being sponsored by the Housing Initiatives Partnership (HIP), and includes a design-build team of O’Neill Development of Gaithersburg, MD, and Peabody Architects of Alexandria, VA.  HIP has a reputation for building high quality, affordable infill housing in Prince George’s County, as well as for creating buildings that are good neighbors in older existing neighborhoods. This project will be no exception. The new house will replace one lost in a tragic fire in 2003. Its late 19th century design, with a cozy front porch, will belie its 21st century state-of-the-art construction.

When it came to designing this innovative home, architect David Peabody decided to "let Beracah do what they do best." With the approval of the homeowners, he designed a modest three-bedroom home with a modular style very similar to our existing models.  Notes Peabody, “We wanted to keep things simple… minimize the number of seams that would have to be joined at the site.  So we decided to build two boxes that stack on top of one another.”

The new Passive House is basically a Beracah house with thicker walls (thanks to double stud walls), that give us more space to blow fiberglass insulation into. We’re using Passive House certified windows, which have a much more robust design. In fact, these windows are so tightly sealed, they have the R-value of a wall! And the Passive House features an Energy Recovery Ventilation System that constantly exchanges the air, monitoring it for cooling, humidity and cleanliness. The result is air that is so tempered, it’s NEVER too hot or too cold! As a rule, passive houses are more energy efficient, healthier and far more comfortable that traditional homes.

Unlike a typical Beracah home, the Passive House will be brought to the site with nothing but windows and doors. Once on site, it will be sealed and then joined to the foundation. Then a blower door test will be conducted to see how airtight the boxes are.  Modifications to the seals will be made on site, before the siding goes on, ensuring that the Passive House is as tightly sealed as possible. 

Construction of the Passive House began in our factory on June 23rd! It will most likely be delivered to the site in July, and will be ready for walk-throughs and tours by August. 

Beracah Homes specializes in custom designed homes in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey.  Located in Greenwood, DE, Beracah Homes is a pioneeer in "off-site, stick-built" construction.