The Project

Team 22: LaPlaca, Blunt, Lopez, and VanDeRiet

Project Description

Calvin College Engineering Senior Design Team 22’s objective is to design a sustainable home that complies with the requirements of the Passive House Institute US’s sustainable home certification. Their finished work will contain research, thermal models, power calculations, cost data, a structural model, an architectural design, and client consultation decisions. 

Project Breakdown

As a multidisciplinary project, the various design components break down into their respective disciplines: mechanical, electrical, and structural/civil. Andrew Blunt, the electrical engineering student, will specialize in the power and lighting design. Robert LaPlaca and Oscar Lopez are dividing the civil and structural design responsibilities, with Robert LaPlaca as the architectural and site development specialist and Oscar Lopez as the structural specialist. As the mechanical engineering student, Julie VanDeRiet will focus on the heating, cooling, and energy modeling. All teammates will continue to work together to complete a project that is beyond the sum of their individual capabilities.


The proposed site for the Client’s house is the current location of the Vos house located at 3135 Hampshire Blvd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506. The property is just under one acre in size and borders Calvin’s campus on the west side. The front of the property faces south, which provides an excellent location for roof mounted solar generation. The location’s local building code requires minimum setbacks for the property, as seen below. 

Minimum Setback Requirements