Nexus EnergyHomes — the award-winning green builder best known for North Pointe, a planned community of 55 affordable, carbon-neutral homes in downtown Frederick, Md. — is expanding beyond its home turf of Maryland with a new net-zero project due to break ground later this summer in Philadelphia’s super-hip Northern Liberties section.


Dubbed Foundry Court, the project is proving to be an attention-grabbing maneuver for the Stevensville, Md.-based company as it involves the construction of the first ever net-zero energy townhomes to hit the ancestral birthplace of water ice, cheesesteaks, and umm, America. Unlike North Pointe, the emphasis at Foundry Court is on luxury instead of affordability (word on the street is that prices will most likely fall in the $600,000 to $700,000 range) yet each of the five high-performance, high-end Foundry Court residences will save its future inhabitants thousands of dollars per year on utility costs and be built to the National Association of Home Builders' stringent Emerald Certification green building standards.


The quintet of 2,800-square-foot homes are designed by Ed Fink and Alex Duller of Northern Liberties-based architecture firm FUSA Designs and to be built on the former site of the Pride of the Sea fish wholesaler at 4th and Brown Streets (the delightfully named neighborhood of Fishtown is nearby, on the other side of 95). And on the topic of delightful names, a popular brunch spot named Honey's Sit 'n Eat is right across the street from the build site. After taking a quick look at that establishment's local producer-centric menu, I’m not sure I’d really need to travel elsewhere for meals but if I did, there’s plenty of other options in the nabe and Foundry Court’s nearly flawless Walk Score of 97 reflects that. And in addition to nearby dining options, public transportation in the area isn’t too shabby either.


But back to Foundry Court itself. Aside from the obvious (rooftop photovoltaic systems and super-tight building envelopes), sustainable features of each four-bedroom townhome will include geothermal heating/cooling, green roofs, rainwater recycling systems, EnergyStar-rated appliances, NexusVision energy management systems, and all the energy-saving bells and whistles that you’d expect from a project of this magnitude.


Like other Nexus EnergyHomes projects, a huge emphasis is placed on indoor air quality in addition to superior energy efficiency. Each residence will feature an energy recovery ventilation system, HEPA air filtration/central vacuum system, and the use of low-VOC building materials throughout. And as you can see from the renderings, while the townhomes can be easily classified as "contemporary" in style, they do give a slight nod to the vernacular architecture of the area.


Exclaims Ann Ashley, senior vice president for Nexus EnergyHomes in a press release issued by the company:


As the recognized national leader for energy-efficient home building, we are well qualified to help Philadelphia achieve their goals for a revolutionary transformation towards a cleaner, greener lifestyle. Our High Performance homes combine the best technologies available under one roof.

And since Nexus EnergyHomes considers its expansion into Philadelphia to be a full-on revolution, Foundry Court isn’t the only project that the company has in the works in the area. Two “suburban style” homes complete with two-car garages will be built at 301 Fountain St. in the Manyunk/Roxborough section of the city. In addition to the Philadelphia projects, Nexus EnergyHomes is continuing to develop sustainable communities throughout Maryland and has branched into South Carolina as well with its innovative take on ultra-efficient home building.


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Party of 5: Trendy Philly nabe to get quintet of net-zero townhomes
Maryland's Nexus EnergyHomes sets its sights north to Philadelphia, where the company plans to break ground on the city's first net-zero energy townhomes later