Situated on a 40-acre wooded site, this new 6,000 square foot house was designed and built as a “dream green home” for the environmentally-conscious clients. After hiking the property for four years, the clients and architect began planning the home using the best sustainable practices and technologies available with the goal of being completely off-the-grid within five years. The house follows the natural topography of the sites’ north/south ridgeline and is nestled into the slope providing a low profile, one-story east side for shady afternoons on the screen porch, while the west side is two-storied for tree-house views from the main interior space across the gulley. The interiors are animated with natural air and light encouraged by two light shafts on either end of the internal circulation for stack effect ventilation. The house is designed in a contemporary Arts and Crafts style reflecting the client’s appreciation for natural materials, handcrafted workmanship and simple yet elegant detailing. A crew of Amish rough and finish carpenters built the house. Durable, natural, long life, moisture and mold resistant, reused, recycled, and recyclable materials are used throughout the interiors. Low VOC paints and stains were used and cabinetry was made with no formaldehydes. Energy Star appliances and equipment, as well as LED and CFL light fixtures, are throughout the house.
The exterior skin of the house is clad with cultured stone, traditional stucco, FSC cedar, cement fiber board, and recyclable metal shingles.
Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) foundation walls, Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) combined with wood framed walls with closed cell spray foam insulation at wall and ceiling spaces and insulated glazing help maximize the energy efficiency of the house. A geothermal heating and cooling system produces the energy on site. A high-efficiency ducted wood burning fireplace supplements the home heating.
The house obtains 100% of its potable water from a rain harvesting system. Captured by the roof, rainwater circulates from downspouts through vortex filters and is deposited into two 3000-gallon cisterns located below the root cellar of the house. There the water is treated with UV and charcoal filters to remove remaining impurities and delivered to water saving fixtures and a heat recovery hot water heater. Waste water is gravity fed to a passive biological waste treatment system using natural peat biofilters which feed a wetland habitat.
Groundbreaking took place in September of 2009 and the house was completed almost a year to the date, six weeks ahead of schedule. The general contractor was hired with a Guaranteed Maximum Price with the owners benefitting from cost savings during the project. Construction change orders amounted to less than 1% of the final GMP. Payback for the renewable energy systems are projected within 10 years.
Jason & Halcyon Moses