Building Envelope


Due to the heating dominate climate in Pittsburgh, our design strategy is to make the building tight and improve the overall building envelope energy performance.

Technical specification 

Foundation wall (7ft below-grade, 1ft on-grade)

-  Expanded foam insulation 3 R-18 closed-cell polyurethane foam applied on the outside of the wall

-  1 R-6 insulation panel on the inside

-  24 16 c/c wood studs framing

-  8 concrete

-  1/2 gypsum board

-  1 air space with weep vent promote good drainage behind brick façade

 Basement Ventilation Concrete Slab (VCS)

The basement slab is a high thermal mass (concrete with high thermal capacity) to store solar energy generated by BIPV. BIPV preheated air passed though the channels to heat surrounding concrete to provide basement floor heating in winter. During the summer, outdoor cooling air is circulated though the VCS to provide cooling.

-  5 Normal Density Plain Concrete

-  1/32 galvanized steel

-  Ventilation Channel

-  Vapor Barrier

-  2 R-10 insulation

-  Gravel Backfill

 First Floor Slab

-  6 Normal Density Plain Concrete

-  1/32 galvanized steel

-  Vapor Barrier

-  2 R-10 insulation

-  Gravel Backfill 

Above-grade Wall


The PV system is integrated into the roof system to provide electrical and thermal energy. 4 air cavity below the metal roofing connected to the ducting system to draw outside fresh air into the house. The air is heated in the process by absorbing a portion of solar energy that falls on the PV system. High foam insulation is applied below the BIPV ducting and roof sheathing.

Living Bio-wall

To ensure high standard air quality in the Triple-E home, innovative air purification system- Biowall is introduced. The wall is both beautiful and functional, acting act natural air filter which removes airborne particulate and other sources of contaminants from the air as it passes though the wall to the home spaces.

Bio-wall location:

Bio-wall working principle