Farm Fresh: Appearances are deceiving at a Vermont farmhouse

Posted on September 21, 2010

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Pill-Maharam Architects

…That’s a wind turbine, to be exact. And it powers the house entirely. Indeed, while it pays homage to the building traditions of rural Vermont, Pill conceived the house as an exemplar of up-to-date sustainable design. Since its completion in August 2007 the house has earned a LEED-Platinum rating, and it has put 50 kilowatt-hours back into the grid. (Pill reports paying a monthly utility charge of $9 to stay grid-connected.) …

Photo courtesy Pill-Maharam Architects

Refusing to erect their home on a greenfield site, the couple purchased the acreage, once the spot of a horse arena, in 2005, and a local family transported the equestrian facility to its own property. Pill designed the house atop the old training grounds, placing the two-story, 2,700-square-foot building along an east-west axis to minimize the difficult-to-control heat and glare of early-morning and late-afternoon sunlight…

Photo courtesy Pill-Maharam Architects

He distinguished volumes with cedar clapboard and corrugated galvalume, and punctuated the entire building with triple-glazed windows A historically respectful porch partly wraps three sides…

Photo courtesy Pill-Maharam Architects

Upstairs, a master bedroom sits above this living room and the wide middle contains the master bathroom as well as two bedrooms and a bathroom for Pill and Maharam’s two kids to share; a home office forms the bookend topping the vestibule. With an intermitten boost from a wood stove tucked next to the stairwell, the maple-floored second story gets all its heat from the concrete surface downstairs, and Pill credits energy modeler Andy Shapiro of Energy Balance for making sure of that condition…

Photo courtesy Pill-Maharam Architects

The exterior’s traditional aesthetic belies the modern interior, which, just beyond the draft-trapping vestibule, opens into an expansive kitchen and dining room (located in the truncated north–south cross stroke of the plan) and reaches around a staircase to encompass a living room. Sun streams through windows to warm a four-inch concrete floor that derives additional heat from a geothermal radiant system…

 

Photo courtesy Pill-Maharam Architects

Whereas the living space of the house seems to benefit primarily from passive techniques—plentiful daylight, natural ventilation, thermal mass—the guts of the basement display the active green technologies at work. Here Pill measures the output of the three-blade turbine and assesses the electric ground-source heat pump, or occasionally changes the filter of the heat recovery ventilator that freshens interior air during winter without sacrificing much heat…

Photo courtesy Pill-Maharam Architects

Remarking on how passive and active approaches work in concert, Pill makes a comparison, saying, “The house itself is more like the barn. It harvests and stores the energy resources on the property—from the sun and wind to heat from the earth.”

By David Sokol,Via:greensource.construction.com

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