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The 21st century home should be an integrated whole that respects a number of criteria such as spatial quality, energy efficiency, intelligent use of resources, and awareness of site and environmental conditions.


Over the last several years MLA has been developing a series of integrated green small houses to include active and passive solar design, pre-fabricated / modular construction techniques, geo-thermal energy, cool roofing and siding solutions, water management and conservation, adaptive foundations, and carefully detailed building envelopes.

This led to a series of “Kit Houses” that share the following characteristics:


  • Excellent R-values (R-40 walls, R-60 roof and R-30 floors)

  • Continuous air seal

  • Triple-glazed windows

  • Energy recovery ventilation systems that allow continuous fresh air with very little energy loss.

  • Rain-screen exterior finish, as an extremely durable exterior treatment that allows the house to control moisture and water vapor in the most advantageous way.

  • SIPS prefabricated panel construction. These panels can be pre-fabricated in sizes easily transported and assembled by a small crew, and provide excellent structural and thermal characteristics.

All of these factors contribute to a building envelope that greatly limits energy losses, while providing a high level of interior comfort. They also relate directly to standards established by the Passive House Institute and, depending on the site and orientation, can provide for a house with energy consumption at 7-10% of that expected from conventional construction.

Passive House principles offer a highly informed outlook on state-of-the-art construction standards. To this end, Michael Lewis has been certified by the Institute as a Passive House designer. MLA’s work on the Kit Houses is part of the firm’s ever deepening commitment to the progression of residential architecture.

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