Passive House Cottage
The Whitchurch Passive House Cottage was designed and built with the goal of being on the cutting edge of energy efficient construction. With this goal in mind, we picked the most stringent energy efficiency standard in the world as our starting point, the Passive House standard.
From the modest size to the placement of the windows, almost every decision was made with energy efficiency in mind. This house was featured in articles in the Journal of Light Construction, 475.com's blog, Green Energy Times and was the winner of Efficiency Vermont's Best of the Best award for Innovation in new residential construction for 2015.
The Whitchurch Passive House Cottage is a timber frame construction that is oriented to the south with the southern facade featuring large triple pane windows that flood the main level and loft with sunlight. Specially imported from Lithuania, these windows provide much more than light and a fantastic view, they also provide more heat to the house than it's heating system. Windows like these along with air-tightness and insulation are the crucial components of what is known as the "energy balance" in Passive House terminology.
With 16 inches of insulation in the walls, 22 inches in the roof and extreme care with air-sealing, this house will use less than a tenth of the energy to heat than a conventionally built house.
Inside this curtain wall of insulation rests a beautifully constructed, locally harvested and milled hemlock timber frame. A large hemlock tree serves as the center post of the frame and is the main focal point of the downstairs living space. A live edge slab of pine runs the entire length of the south facade beginning as a breakfast counter in the kitchen and dropping down in the living room to serve as a comfy window seat.
The Whitchurch Passive House Cottage is the product of combining the traditional appeal of a timber frame with the latest in energy efficient construction and sustainability.