Case Study: Park City Passive House

Design challenge:

The challenge with this project consisted of a very challenging steeply sloped lot, with only partial yearly solar access. The house was intended to have the smallest energy footprint as possible, so designer/builder/owner Chris Price went for the extremely rigorous Passive House standard. With such low energy goals, the building envelope, and in particularly the windows, were extremely important to nail down.

What makes this project outstanding?
According to Price, “I started designing this house my first year into my Masters of Architecture schooling at the University of Utah, at the age of 25, and built it with the help of our company Park City Design+Build and mentor long time Park City builder & uncle Matt Price. We built it while I maintained full time employment with PCD+B and went to school full time. I did a huge part of the labor, including laying the radiant, exterior insulation, framing the house with friends, plumbing, electrical, and trimming to name a few.”

The house itself was intended to nestle neatly into the 45 degree sloped site and to take full advantage of the limited solar access and views. The views range from short, highly wooded views to a long corridor out towards the Uinta Mountain range towards the east. The house was designed and built based off Passiv Haus standards, and the framing and ventilation became critical elements to maintain such minimal energy requirements.

The window and door package takes advantage of the beautiful surrounding of the location, including forrest views from the deck off of the kitchen.

French balcony doors create a large, post-less opening to the deck. The primary leaf features a tilt function, which can be used when less ventilation is required.

What was your personal design theory or focus for this project?
“My focus was to design and build a truly one of a kind project that took every advantage of the site,” says Price.

What are your some of your favorite construction products used on this project?
“The epic tilt/turn triple pane behemoths from Zola. These windows clearly have the engineering, quality, and performance that is far superior to any North American brand we have seen thus far.” Price used the Zola Thermo uPVC windows for their performance, ability to choose the interior/exterior colors, and economy.

“Every person who has seen these windows is utterly dumbstruck that a window could move like that. It will be an easy sell for our future projects.”

The clean lines of the windows compliment the kitchen design.

Designer Biography:

Chris Price graduated with his Architecture degrees from the University of New Mexico and the University of Utah. He focused his studies on sustainable building design and practices, with a focus on design build. He became a LEED certified professional in 2010. After living in New Mexico working in Architecture firm Mahlman Studio , Chris moved to Park City to work as a Project Manager/Designer for Park City Design Build in 2011. Chris fully appreciates the ‘Powder’ clause in his contract.

Contact Info:


Design & Planning: Chris Price of Park City Design + BuildWindow & Door Package: Zola’s Thermo uPVC.  Exterior Finish: Anthracite Gray.  Interior Finish: White.