Best Energy-Smart Home 2014

By Fine Homebuilding Editor

This traditional farmhouse design is also a cutting-edge, high-performance home.

Matt O'Malia of GO Logic in Maine writes about designing Michigan's first certified Passive House in "Cold-Climate Collaboration." The project received the best energy-smart home award for successfully capturing the comforts of traditional farmhouse design in a cutting-edge, high-performance home.

Six details form the heart of balancing a farmhouse aesthetic with contemporary details borne from the design elements associated with building a high-performance home. A simple gable roof is the most energy-efficient form to use, and it helps to establish the home's traditional look. Standing-seam metal roofing offers durability and longevity; moreover, it connects the home to its rural region, which is dotted with farms and outbuildings of similar proportion and detail. A sweeping front porch helps define the style as a quintessential farmhouse, and its roof pitch is adjusted for optimum solar gain through south-facing windows. Low-maintenance, fiber-cement lap siding, painted Sherwin-Williams Indian Corn red, wraps the house and the barnlike detached garage. Overscaled, 2-over-2 triple-glazed windows by Kneer-Sud allow views and solar energy to penetrate deep into the living space and shift the home's style toward the contemporary. Inset windows give the exterior walls visual depth and mass. The resulting shadowlines create punches of contrast and keep the unadorned elevations from looking bleak.

Because the shell is so tight, this home requires very small inputs to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. Heat-recovery ventilation, which provides a supply of fresh air with minimal heat loss, is the primary aspect of climate control. Supplemental heating and cooling is accomplished with ductless minisplits.

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Originally Published in Fine Homebuilding

Sun Jun 22 00:00:00 PDT 2014