Architect’s Tour features energy-saving Zionsville house 


By Chris Bavender

Imagine living in a home without a heating or cooling system. A home that could use close to 80 percent less energy than a conventional home.

It’s called a Passive Home, and the one in Zionsville is the first to be certified in Indiana and is part of this year’s Architects’ Home Tour Oct. 15 and 16.

“It’s technology and a concept that’s the oldest of all construction concepts. You work with the sun and local climate to heat and cool the home naturally,” said Cara Weber, the architect who designed the home. “So the design uses the sun to heat the house and the walls are so thick you don’t need air conditioning.”

Weber, a founding partner of DELV Design, was asked to design the home by the builders, Dan and Anne Porzel. The couple also owns and lives in the passive home in the Village area at 580 W. Cedar St.

“They were the ones who were passionate about building a passive house, and that was very exciting to me because you don’t often run into clients who are more excited maybe than you are to push the envelope of sustainable design,” Weber said.

Construction started around Nov. 1, 2014, and was finished in June 2015.

“So, we have lived in it for a year and have been monitoring the cost very closely, and we have spent $1,000 for one year total in energy costs,” Porzel said. “I figured the costs based on energy bills from a neighbor – so the same area and a house about the same size. It was built in 1991, so it’s not too old, and the comparison showed we have used 73 percent less energy than that house.”

Those on the tour won’t necessarily see any difference in the passive home versus a “normal” home.

“All that extra effort is behind the walls and behind the scenes, so I guess maybe that is part of the point we would like to share,” Porzel said. “It doesn’t have to look different or be a super modern style or a square box – it can be what you want.”

The self-guided Architect’s Tour is scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 and 16. It features eight unique homes – three in Zionsville and five in Indianapolis. Tickets are $17 in advance at or $20 at any house the day of the tour.

Children 12 and younger are admitted free.

Also on the tour

Two other Zionsville homes are featured in the Architect’s Home Tour.

The AXIS house, 6100 Irish Hill, is a modern farmhouse that once was a brick-style ranch home. Designed by AXIS Architecture + Interiors, it now features a wrap-around porch and rustic hardwood floors. The three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath, 2,200-square-foot house was transformed by designers into a four-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath, 4,900-square-foot modern farmhouse, complete with a secret tree house.

The theme of the Fitch Place home, 340 Fitch Place, is “bringing the outside in.” Designed by Zionsville-based David Rausch Studio and located on the outskirts of the Village, it reflects the Midwest with reclaimed barn wood siding mixed into contemporary materials. The open living space in the 2,700-square-foot home takes advantage of the northern views thanks to walls of windows and sliding glass doors.