Professor Elliot Gall and Electrical Engineering Student Naveen Daham

Residents of Ankeny Row welcomed researchers from the PSU Green Building Research Lab ( that are  are investigating the intersection of energy use, outdoor air quality, and indoor environmental quality at Ankeny Row. The built environment consumes 41% of the energy produced in the U.S, in turn contributing 39% of U.S. CO2 emissions. While building energy consumption must be reduced, for a solution to be effective it must consider the impact on the quality of the indoor environment. Researchers at the GBRL are interested in studying Ankeny Row due to its combination of airtight building envelope design, advanced HVAC systems, and on-site solar PV electricity generation as well as its record of meeting net-zero energy consumption or better.  Researchers have recently deployed monitoring equipment that measures site environmental conditions, particulate matter levels, and carbon dioxide levels in and around the residences. The researchers are also measuring real-time energy consumption in each home. They expect this data to shed light on how indoor air quality, outdoor air quality, and energy use are related in high-performance building stock. For example, the GBRL researchers will analyze the data to observe whether degraded outdoor air quality drives changes in energy production, consumption, and indoor exposure to air pollution.

With the landscaping and all but the common room complete, we invited members of the media to attend a private tour of Ankeny Row.

Ankeny Row Courtyard_Solar

Green Hammer CEO, Stephen Aiguier, led the tour, along with Green Hammer Certified Passive House Consultant, Alex Boetzel.


We heard from some of the Ankeny Row owners, such as Francie and Michael Royce and Richard Benner, about their process for purchasing the land and hiring Green Hammer to help them complete this net-zero-energy community.

Richard Benner

Touring the kitchen in Unit 3

Unit 3 Kitchen

The exterior of Unit 3

Ankeny Row Townhouse

In late February, the partners of Ankeny Row began moving in! Here’s Francie cooking up a healthy meal in her new kitchen with custom cabinets made by Urban Timberworks.


Carol and John (their living room below), recent Peace Corps volunteers and world travelers, are excited to have a home base that produces all of its own energy.



Landscaping is next. Can’t wait to see the transformed courtyard!


Selecting exterior paint colors IMG_7364

This fabulous weather has been great for the Ankeny Row job crew. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look from the job site in early September.

IMG_4788Cellulose insulation, made from recycled newsprint and other paper sources, was being blown into Building B.


Deck beams and roofing were being installed in Building A.





IMG_4811Leland, of Urban Timberworks, and Patrick, of Green Hammer, were reviewing plans for cabinetry for the bathrooms in Building A.

Dense Pack Cellulose Insulation (ground up newspapers treated w/ borate for insect and fire resistance) shows up on site!

Dense Pack Cellulose Insulation (ground up newspapers treated w/ borate for insect and fire resistance) shows up on site!

Comfotube connection to supply box & fire sprinkler

Both the Zehnder comfotube ducting / supply box, and the fire sprinkler system will all be located inside the plywood air barrier above. In a “typical” building the air barrier would most likely be located at the flat ceiling plane so these mechanical systems would create a serious challenge to air seal.

Comfotube Chase

Here we can see a chase cavity for many Zehnder HRV “comfotube” duct runs. These ribbed plastic ducts are durable, easy to install, airtight, and smooth on the inside to provide great airflow.

HRV ducting penetration details

Here we can see the main HRV duct penetrations SIGA taped into the air barrier (FSC plywood).

3 Phases of Construction at once!

Here we can see the newest slab poured atop 13″ thick Geofoam EPS insulation (foreground L). Exterior I joist walls (foreground R) as well as the exterior permeable SIGA membrane, windows, and standing seam metal roofing in the background.