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Our Practice

The CSC Design Studio is a full service architecture and urban design firm with 30 years of award-winning solar and sustainability-driven design experience. Using advanced energy-efficient building standards and technologies we specialize in designing net-zero energy buildings. We offer LEED, Passive House, and energy modeling consulting and design services for residential and commercial projects and comprehensive sustainability planning for urban projects.

We guide our clients through the entire architectural process from schematic design through contract administration. We employ Builidng Information Modeling (BIM) in the creation of our construction documents to ensure maximum coordination and integration among team members. We utilize the Passive House Planning Package for energy modeling, WUFI software for hygrothermal analysis, and THERM for thermal bridge analysis. Through the use of these and other tools, we provide our clients with buildings that are both architecturally striking and technically advanced.

Our Projects

The CSC Design Studio is one of a few architectural practices in the United States to employ the Passive House Standard, the most rigorous energy standard for residential and commercial building design in the world. This standard can be met either by new construction or deep energy retrofits to existing buildings. Because of an integrated design approach, our Passive House designs require 90% less energy for climate control, and 75% less total energy compared to standard new construction. When buildings are designed from such an efficient standard, remaining energy needs can be obtained by an affordable photovoltaic array to achieve net-zero energy. The CSC Design Studio is itself headquartered in a pair of net-zero energy buildings, with annual electricity consumption offset by a photovoltaic array installed in 2009.

The CSC Design Studio is a versatile firm with experience in seamless integration of environmental management and ecological design. We refer to our architecture as "sustainability-driven," recognizing that the scale of the single building is inadequate to comprehensively address sustainability. Nevertheless, buildings account for nearly 40% of energy consumption in the US - more than in any other sector. We see energy & carbon neutrality in architecture as a powerful point of leverage for energy independence, community development, environmental protection, and economic advantage.

Through two decades of international research and development projects, our research arm, the Center for Sustainable Cities, has identified the city-region as the scale at which homeostatic relationships between social, environmental and economic issues can reach dynamic balance. This research resulted in the formation of an Operational Definition of Sustainability, which served as the underpinning of the Aalborg Charter, part of the United Nations Agenda 21 framework for the delivery of local sustainable development. The CSC Design Studio over the last 30 years has evolved a new urban design model, the Sustainable City-as-a-Hill, as the counterform of the process of sustainability described in the Center for Sustainable Cities's Operational Definition.


What is Passive House?

The Passive House Standard is the most rigorous energy standard in the world, yet it has only four requirements:

  • Annual heating demand ≤ 4.75 kBtu/sf/yr
  • Annual cooling demand ≤ 4.75 kBtu/sf/yr
  • Primary Energy (from source) ≤ 38.1 kBtu/sf/yr
  • Airtight building envelope ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 pascals pressure, measured by a blower-door test.

Through superinsulation, elimination of thermal bridges, airtightness of the building envelope, energy recovery ventilation, and high performance (triple glazed, insulated frame) windows and doors, Passive Houses use only 1/10th of the energy for heating and cooling when compared to a new building built to the current energy code. Passive House is the future of building and the CSC Design Studio is currently designing buildings that not only meet the Passive House Standard but go beyond it to achieve Net-Zero Energy. Net-Zero Energy means that the building produces as much energy on a net basis over the course of a year as it consumes. This renewable energy is typically produced by a photovoltaic system that is integrated into the building's design.

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