This modern farmhouse seamlessly blends into wooded landscape near the ocean, the ideal location for a home that minimizes energy use. The homeowner’s wish to downsize while maintaining a sustainable lifestyle was met with a new three-story residence within a robust building envelope, reducing heat loss and lessening energy use. Site orientation of the building was carefully navigated to maximize the land’s sustainable offerings and site construction was timed to begin during autumn to avoid disturbance to surrounding wildlife. Special care was given during the design process to incorporate efficient building systems to reduce air filtration. Solar panels efficiently provide organic heat throughout the home; during their first summer of residency, the homeowners earned a $200 energy credit from Eversource because of the panels. Oversized windows bolster natural light throughout all rooms. All building protrusions and vents were made on the north side of the home, keeping the south side clear for solar panels.
The home boasts an energy-efficient metal roof and the garage provides an electric vehicle charger. Multifunctional heat pumps reduce heating and cooling methods and require very little energy to run. An aerated pre-treatment septic system produces a dramatically cleaner outflow, allowing a leach field 90% smaller than a traditional system. Woodchips for the driveway are made from trees cut down on site. A culvert bridge within the driveway provides drainage and an amphibian migration corridor to protect native endangered species, specifically the American Wood Frog.
Though not certified as a passive house, this home is considered by the designers and clients alike to be a “pretty good house”, meaning many Passive House, Energy Start and LEED principals were applied without the cost of certification.