The 'Los Angeles Plus' passive house is a flagship project for energy-efficient construction in Los Angeles County. It also showcases the passive house standard, which is becoming increasingly popular in the USA too.
The house was built by Paravant Architects in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles, to demonstrate the advantages and technological superiority of the German passive house standard. PHLA+ is one of the first passive houses ever built in Southern California and the first building in Los Angeles to be certified by the PHI (Passive House Institute in Darmstadt, Germany). With a highly efficient building envelope with intelligent energy technology and a perfectly adapted sun shading solution, this is a zero-net energy (ZNE) building – a 5.4 kW photovoltaic system on the roof allows the building to produce its own electricity. The building has received the Energy Efficiency Award.
PHLA+ is a compact cube with an optimal A/V ratio and offers 165 square meters of living space across two levels with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. An elevated sun terrace accessed via the living space covers the parking area and shades the vehicles. Large windows provide natural light and bring the indoors and outdoors together. The ventilation system is equipped with a heat recovery facility and ensures the constant flow of high-quality air in the rooms. Hot water is provided by a heat pump system supplied with electricity by the photovoltaic system on the roof.
In both Germany and the USA, the passive house concept is based on three ideas: First, a building envelope with an airtight, thermal-bridge-free construction; second, optimising energy generation through architecture and high-performance components; and third, the use of efficient systems that support this construction method. Quite simply, the aim of the concept is to construct buildings that consume virtually no energy. Naturally, this depends on the climate zones in which the building is located. In California, for instance, the most important thing is to protect buildings from too much sunlight; otherwise, too much cooling will be required.
Warema external venetian blinds effectively shade the large glass surfaces incorporated into PHLA+ and prevent the living areas from heating up in the summer. External venetian blinds reduce UV radiation, heat and glare and keep the house cool and comfortable. They also optimise the view from inside without causing glare. The fully automated system aligns their horizontal slats according to the position of the sun: A special control system, the Warema climatronic®, ensures slat tracking throughout the day and reduces both the cooling load in summer and the heating load in winter, improving the energy footprint of the house.
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Property: Los Angeles Plus PHLA+ passive house
Location: Culver City, Southern California/USA
Purpose: Residential building
Architects: Paravant Architects, Los Angeles/USA
Certifications/awards: Passive house pursuant to PHI standard, Energy Efficiency Award 2019
Sun shading system: Warema external venetian blinds
Control system: Warema climatronic®