Third-Party Verification

USGBC LEED Silver Certified Home, U.S. DOE Building America Demonstration Home

Renewable Energy

Solar PV (3 kW)

Exterior Materials

Brick, Fiber Cement Siding, Composite Decking


Triple-Pane Low-E Glazed with Argon Fill, Operable Shades Between the Glass


Thermador, Bosch (All Energy Star Qualified where applicable)

Other Features

Home Automation System with Lutron RadioRA Lighting Control, Fluorescent & LED Lighting, Advanced HVAC Design, Whole-House Air Cleaner, Energy Recovery Ventilator, Insulated Basement, Dual-Flush Toilets


On March 20, 2008, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) honored studio26’s Demonstration Home with Pennsylvania’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. Our Demonstration Home is the result of genuine whole-house, integrated design where unique architectural, lighting/electrical, mechanical, and site planning blend seamlessly. Through sound collaboration between engineers and building scientists, studio26 homes has created a home that is not only sustainable and energy-efficient, but one that is also comfortable, healthy, and aesthetically appealing.

To see an inspiring video tour, please click here.

Situated in the northwestern hills of the Lehigh Valley, our Demonstration Home compliments the existing neighborhood fabric while still maintaining its own distinct identity. Without compromising sustainable practices, its architectural design was initially conceived in response to the site its context, its topography, as well as its relationship to the sun and wind. Perhaps the greatest influence from an experiential standpoint was the sites spectacular views into the Parkland countryside. By appropriately addressing all of the unique site characteristics and recognizing that its relationship to the broadened landscape was paramount, we believe we were able to truly enhance the overall dwelling experience.

During the design process of our Demonstration Home, we worked with IBACOS, a leading building science consulting firm located in Pittsburgh, PA. As part of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America program, studio26 and IBACOS co-planned the performance design standards and integrated systems for the home. From the beginning, it was our goal to exceed the minimum requirement of 40% whole-house energy savings relative to the Building America benchmark set forth by the DOE. During the construction process and upon its completion, the home was tested and third-party verified to perform at over 54% whole-house energy savings.

In addition to being a Building America qualified home, our Demonstration Home is also one of the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified homes in the nation by the US Green Building Council. Through the homes strong LEED-Silver rating, studio26 was able to design and build a home that is not only highly energy-efficient, but one that is also environmentally responsible, water efficient, and extremely healthy.


Through this collaborative effort, studio26 was able to design and build our Demonstration Home with whole-house energy savings of over 54% relative to the U.S. DOE’s Building America benchmark (which is essentially standard, code-required building practices).

Performance Characteristics

Whole-house energy savings of over 54% relative to the Building America benchmark (essentially standard, code-required building practices)

  • Ultra air-tight home sealants, caulks, & foams
  • Balloon framing hybrid to help maintain a continuous thermal barrier at building envelope
  • Highly insulated basement walls and under slab
  • Highly insulated exterior walls & cathedral roof
  • Energy Star compliant cool roof
  • Triple-pane windows with optional between-the-glass shades reducing SHGC
  • Highly energy-efficient heat pump and located in conditioned environment
  • Fresh/clean air controlled precisely by a energy recovery ventilation system (approximately 77% efficient)
  • Advanced-technology central air cleaner
  • HVAC ductwork is sealed & insulated & never on an outside wall
  • Ductwork design has one return trunk line and all supply lines are of minimum total length
  • Hot water heating small tankless heater
  • Hot & cold water lines are very short & run individual to a central manifold near the tankless water heater
  • Greater than 90% of the light fixtures are energy-efficient permanent fluorescent, compact fluorescent, or LED, & approximately 65% energy saving
  • Smart whole-house automation controls such as lighting controls with full dimming capabilities to minimize energy usage
  • Kitchen appliances, ceiling fans, & exhaust fans are all Energy Star rated
  • Renewable-energy source roof-mounted photovoltaic solar system
  • Solar passive energy design long side of home facing south with extended roof overhangs
  • For summer deciduous shade trees are appropriately planted to south side to help minimize the local heat island effect
  • For winter coniferous trees planted to the north, northwest, and west to help provide a natural wind break to cold, harsh winds

Superior indoor air quality, IAQ, to help minimize commonly associated health problems including eye irritation, allergies, headaches, and respiratory problems

  • Ultra air-tight home enclosure
  • Proper controlled, whole-home ventilation is paramount and is achieved through a highly-efficient heat recovery ventilation unit
  • Control exterior moisture penetration to help eliminate problems with mold and other moisture damage
  • Special designed HVAC & ductwork to combat against any possible mold growth
  • Whole-house air cleaner to protect against dust & micro-organisms
  • No carpeting to minimize dust-mites, only hard surface floors
  • Any combustion-gas devices are vented to the outside
  • Central vac system vented to outside to minimize indoor contaminants
  • Radon/gas mitigation system
  • Materials and finishes chosen to minimize volatile organic compound (VOC) off-gassing

Water efficient strategies

  • Central plumbing manifold for water lines
  • High efficient dishwashers, clothes washer, and dual-flush toilets
  • Drought-tolerant turf and plants no need for watering or irrigation

Reduction of local, regional, and global impact on the environment and its resources

  • Sound erosion and sediment control plan for storm-water management
  • Non-chlorofluorocarbon (non-CFC), residential refrigerants to help with global warming
  • No toxic and poisonous chemicals for the landscape and pest control
  • Native, non-invasive plants and trees for local ecological conservation
  • Install building materials and finishes that are environmentally friendly
    • Paints and stains all low- or no-VOC content
    • Flooring Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified hardwood, which is harvested through sustainable practice
    • Decking 80% of composite comes from recycled materials
    • Insulation formaldehyde-free
  • Recycled all of the waste wood from the construction site to help alleviate the demand on land fills

Whole-House Automation System

System Configuration

  • Main system controller with built-in security control
  • CAT5e and coaxial structured wiring
  • Ethernet and RS232 control
  • Wireless control capability
  • Whole-house distributed audio
  • Lutron lighting contol system
  • Surveillance CCTV
  • One-touch control with LCD video touch-pads
  • HD & 7.1 Dolby Home Theater in great room with plasma screen
    • Satellite, Cable, XM, FM/AM connectivity
    • Input sources: digital cable, receiver/tuner, CD/DVD/Blu-Ray player, and PC audio/video
    • Remote access & control of system plus video monitoring via Internet
  • Energy monitoring & control of HVAC system
  • PC media server for DVD, CD, photo shortage & playback, also for Internet play
  • Video monitoring

Security System

  • Our demonstration home has a wired/wireless security system consisting of contact switches on all external doors and windows, surveillance CCTV cameras, heat and smoke alarms, motion sensors on all stairways and floors, indoor & outdoor sounders, video monitor system, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, battery backup, one button arming, key-chain remote, video and controls accessible from internet, and cell phone monitoring.

Lighting Control System

  • Greater than 90% of the lighting inside and outside of the home is compact-fluorescent, fluorescent, or LED (light emitting diode) and has about a 65% energy savings compared to standard incandescent. Furthermore, our Lutron lighting control system, which communicates with each individual light fixture or light switch, can help increase those savings through its dimming capabilities. Since most all of these lights are dimmable with electronic dimming ballasts, maximum energy savings are achieved through the control of individual light levels by the system timer or by a pre-programmed event, which enables the homeowner the ability to receive necessary light levels to all locations without wasting energy through over-lighting. At the touch of a single button, our integrated lighting control system can help set the perfect scene for any occasion by creating the desired ambience; be it a party with friends, a dinner for two, or a restful night alone.

Energy Management Climate Control

  • Studio26 understands that many rooms in a home have a unique environment, which may require their own temperature, humidity, and ventilation control. During planning of our Demonstration Home, airflow rates, duct sizes, and heat/cool register sizes and types were determined for each individual room. Four separate HVAC zones were then installed and can be operated independently, providing the opportunity to precisely control the room environments via automation. Through the use of programmable indoor & outdoor thermostats and humidistats the climate (temperature & humidity) and comfort is tightly controlled as well as optimizing the energy used by the HVAC system. Our Trane HVAC system is regulated by a microprocessor and can easily communicate with the home automation system through the bi-directional programmable thermostats.

Whole-House Distributed Audio

  • With the audio system, you can enjoy music anywhere in the home. It is possible to play different music or audio in any of six locations simultaneously, or from six different sources to six different locations. The system can play stereo audio at various locations throughout the home without any awareness of audio disturbance or delay. Regardless of the location of the system hardware, full control of the audio system can be managed by any one of the six digital audio keypads or by a handheld remote.

PC Media Server

  • The PC in the study is connected to the system controller via a Windows Media Edition extender device. This enables stored video and audio (e.g. mp3s) on the PC to be distributed by the system. Internet content from the PC can also be distributed on the network.

Surveillance CCTV

  • CAT5e cameras have been placed at various locations inside and outside of the home. These cameras can be accessed from several touch-pads in the home or on a specific channel on any TV in the home. Four cameras can be viewed at once or they can be seen in sequence. These cameras can help provide the homeowner with a sense of security and comfort along with being very convenient. For example, if a doorbell rings while the homeowner is upstairs or in the basement he/she needs to only go to the nearest touch-pad or TV to see who is at the door.