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Entry Title: " Passive House Retreat"
ZeroEnergy Design
, United States
Category: Professional, Residential
Designer(s): Stephanie Horowitz & Jordan Goldman, ZeroEnergy Design

Entry Description:

Passive House Retreat, New England

This LEED certified vacation residence located in a beautiful ocean community on the New England coast features high performance and creative use of space in a small package. ZeroEnergy Design created the simple, gable-roofed structure and proposed the Passive House standard. The resulting home consumes just 14% of the energy compared to a similar new home built to only code requirements.

The client sought a modern two-bedroom, two-bath private retreat that was right-sized for their family - nothing more, nothing less - and a goal of minimizing energy use. The site offered excellent southern exposure, however paired that with the challenge of a lovely north-facing agrarian view.

ZED planned the homes gable form as a defining aesthetic feature. Its iconic shape is repeated inside and out. Simple finishes, bright colors, minimal trim, and concrete floors achieve a clean, fresh look for the interior. Daylighting, paired with agrarian surroundings, enhances the home while drawing in the outdoor environment.

The layout carefully aligns with the familys planned use. Bedrooms are located at either end of the home. A central space with cathedralized ceilings includes living and cooking areas with northern views and ample southern daylight. A dining nook, on the south side of the space, accommodates a large table for both family and friends without encroaching on the open space. A loft, overlooking the living space, allows for extra sleeping areas and a dedicated play space for children. The family also expressed their love of bathing, which was addressed by including a dedicated sun-filled tub room in the southeast corner of the home. Despite the modest footprint, the home addresses all the familys needs through smart design and creative space planning.

The home features advanced framing, locally produced sheathing, the concrete slab foundation as the finished floor, quartz countertops, reclaimed cabinetry, fiber-cement & cedar siding, and zero-VOC paints.

High R-values in the home, including R-44 walls, R-50 slab foundation, R-60 roof, and meticulous air sealing result in a vast reduction in space conditioning requirements. A single air source heat pump provides heating and cooling distributed via exposed ductwork. After collecting a year of measured data, the result is an electric house that consumes 86% less energy compared to the same house built only to code requirements. Installing a small 4.1 kW solar system would offset the total annual energy consumption, making the home net zero energy.

LEED GOLD certified. Energy Star certified.
Designed to the Passive House Standard.

Architecture & Passive House Consulting:
ZeroEnergy Design |

General Contracting:
Aedi Construction |

Greg Premru |

About the Company:

Architecture | Mechanical Design | Energy


* 2012 Green Dot Awards - 2nd Place Winner - Residential Category