Located in the Upper Merryall section of New Milford, CT. This low environmental impact Passive House is approximately 75% complete.
The main design ethos of the house is to have as little environmental impact in its construction/embodied energy, as well as its energy consumption when inhabited.
The single story house floats above the hillside on wood posts, anchored to concrete pads. This approach minimized both excavation and disturbance of the natural topography, along with reduced quantities of concrete for the foundation. When inside the house it has the feeling of a tree house with open views of the valley to the South.
Approximately 40% of the south elevation is glass to maximize views and significant solar gains in winter. In summer overheating is prevented with the shading provided by the surrounding deciduous trees and 24” overhangs on windows on the south elevation. The spatial design concept is conceived as one large flowing space around a central core, with pocket doors to create individual rooms when needed. As you walk around the central core in a clockwise direction you always have view out to the landscape through a window located in the corner.
The central core contains all of the mechanical and electrical equipment. The mechanical room is located between the kitchen and bathrooms to reduce pipe runs and avoid wasting hot water rom the heat pump hot water tank. The heat pump will contribute to summer cooling. A compact air treatment unit (Minotair unit combining an ERV and HVAC system) distributes fresh conditioned air to all spaces via ducts in the dropped ceiling of the central core.
We have minimized the use of materials with high embodied energy, using mainly wood for the structure, exterior cladding and dense pack cellulose as the main insulation material. We have also incorporated low maintenance materials such as Richlite for window trims. The structure is a mixture of regular and engineered lumber, balancing cost and environmental performance.
The house has all the mechanical and electrical roughing installed. Our initial blower door test achieved 0.5 Air changes. Currently we are working on interior finishes for the walls, floors and ceilings. We plan to commission the Minotair heating/cooling/ventilating later unit this month.
General Contractor David Burdett/ West Mountain Builder