Bring up the word architect, and the negative stereotypes of arrogant architects that want to design a monument for themselves and their portfolio frequently bubble to the surface. Unfortunately, those types of architects do exist, and you can be thousands of dollars in before you realize that it is not going to work out...
When striving to design a super efficient home, be it a Passive House certified home, or a Net Zero home, everyone needs to be on board- the clients, the builder and the architect. It is like a three legged stool- if one leg is missing, it won't function.
Two local architects that are a pleasure to work with and understand how to design homes that are both pleasing aesthetically, and designed to perform are Arielle Schechter and Jay Fulkerson.
Arielle specializes in modern design and has a developed a whole library of plans available for purchase under her Micropolis Houses collection. She works extremely hard to listen to the client and adapt the plans to their liking. Arielle has a very artistic eye, and is very thorough with her plans.
Check out her website at: http://www.acsarchitect.com
Jay will design modern, contemporary, craftsman, or even colonial if that is your flavor. He is a certified Passive House consultant, and is extremely in tune with how to design a home that performs optimally.
Check out his website at: http://www.jfarch.com
You can't go wrong with either of these two- they get it!