Walnut Street Retrofit

We took a chance on the gut renovation of a 3,000 square foot Victorian home in the heart of Shadyside. Ten years ago our office completed another gut renovation project right next door; this was essentially the same house. We wanted to design to Passive House standards so that we could see how the utility bills for this house compared with the code-built house next door.

This house is the first Passive House in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The house received a layer of outsulation in addition to filling its walls with dense packed fiberglass. The heating and cooling bill for the house is estimated to be less than $35 per month.

Realtors advised us the appraisal for our sales price was going to be a challenge as the house was priced well above average for the neighborhood. Two appraisals were completed that upheld the increased value for a home designed to meet Passive House standards, due to the projection of $80,000 in saved utility costs over 30 years. This project set a precedent in the city.


  • 2,547 sq ft
  • Built for $200 per sq ft
  • Passive House is significantly quieter – a selling feature

"I walked in and said ‘Yes!’...It was like coming home."

New Owner