Olive Passive House
Images © Chaunte Vaughn

The Olive Prefab Passive House by Demo Architects

Situated in the Olivebridge area of Upstate New York, the Olive Home is a stunning example of how far prefab homes have come. The home was built using a panelized system that took just days to assemble.

Olive Home is a testament to the skill of Demo Architects, the firm behind the build, and a peek at what the future has in store for the prefab industry.

The Olive Home

The Olive Home was strategically placed and built to optimize light, views and privacy. On the South-facing elevation, the home is carved at an angle towards the East. The design gives owners a view of the nearby pond and reduces solar heat gain during the hot summer months.

The ground floor gives access to a protected porch, where the owners can relax and enjoy the outdoors in peace.

The home’s carvings feature Siberian Larch, which is naturally water-resistant.

The main gathering area of the home is double height and includes the kitchen, living room and dining area. A loft area sits above the kitchen and features a home office that overlooks the common area.

The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home is PHIUS-certified passive. It is powered exclusively by electricity and uses about 80% less energy than most homes built in the same area.

Energy efficiency is optimized through:

  • Triple-pane glazed windows to maximize solar heat in the winter
  • The walls and roof are insulated with cellulose that contains up to 80% recycled fabric and paper
  • The building’s envelope is exceptionally airtight to further help with energy loss throughout the year

Many of the home’s fixtures and furnishings are recycled. One of the bathrooms, for example, features a 1960s ceramic sink from an architectural salvage shop.

The Olive House Panel Installation

The Olive Home’s entire envelope was built using a state-of-the-art panelized system, which allowed the setting to be done in less than two days. The entirety of the panelized system was built in a shop close to the jobsite and then trailered to the location.

Local builders were brought in to help with the panel system, which needed to meet local code requirements while allowing the team to match the owner’s design concepts.

A 2×4 stud structure was used with 5/8” panels to create the home’s main air barrier.

On the outside of the home, there is a waterproof barrier to further protect the home from the elements. All windows in the home have airtight tape surrounding them to better protect against energy loss.

The home was sided to match the landscape, and that is why there’s secondary access to the home.

Demo Architects made use of the shallow bedrock and pinned the home’s foundation directly onto it. Using the bedrock pinning was more expensive than anticipated but allows the Olive Home to be very durable.

Roof Information

The only part of the home’s envelope system that was stick-built is the roofing system. A ridge beam, supported by three steel columns, is what supports the roof. Beams support the rafters, which are filled with insulation.

An air barrier and 10” nail-based foam insulation is used to attach the finish of the roof.

Sytex is used as well to provide an impenetrable barrier that will allow the roof to remain constantly dry even through the wet season and snow season, which are intense in this area of Upstate New York.

About Demo Architects

The Olive Home was envisioned and developed by Alessandro Ronfini, a partner at DEMO Architects, for his growing family.

DEMO Architects is a firm based in Brooklyn, New York with Certified Passive House Designers. The firm has worked on several passive home projects which have been featured in industry publications.

The architectural firm’s aim is to design homes that are comfortable, healthy and energy efficient while remaining environmentally friendly.

The Olive Passive House is their latest passive home project, which features a panelized installation that took just a few days to complete.

Visit DemoArch.com for more information.