As a Certified Passive House, the Norwich Residence is a forward-thinking new construction home for the modern New England family. It was designed to meet the rigorous Passive House energy performance standard, and accommodate later in life accessibility.
A blend of features were carefully balanced
to develop a final design that has an
efficient footprint, meets the Passive House
Standard, and takes the form of a
traditional farmhouse with some modern
twists both inside and out. Durability was
also a top client priority – this influenced
a lot of the exterior design and detailing.
Site & Surroundings
This 200 year old, 100-acre farmstead is
predominately held under conservation
restriction by the Upper Valley Land Trust.
While the home sits in a field, it was sited
behind a rise in the terrain that plays host
to several fruit trees.
The exterior form complements the nature
of the Colonial era site and the town
history, with gabled roof lines. The
exterior detailing – the siding, trim
and steel decks – give the traditional
form a modern twist. A progressive,
contemporary look completes the
interior, offering a clean, fresh modern
Aging in Place
The first floor was designed with ADA
accessibility in mind; it includes a
master suite and living space as part of
the client's long term livability plan.
The client requested a structure on the
south side of the house that would
permit vegetation to grow and could
double as summertime shading. In the
walk-out basement, a freezer door
provides access to a root cellar for
energy-free food storage.
The air-tight, super insulated house is certified under the Passive
House and Energy Star programs. It
features R-60 above-grade walls, R-87
roof, R-36 basement walls, an R-75 basement slab, and air leakage of only 0.49ACH50Pa. The highly-insulative,
triple-paned windows also play a role in
passive heating due to their high solar
heat gain coefficients. The active
heating is provided by a wood burning
stove, electric radiant floor in the
bathrooms, and a solar hot water system
coupled with low-temperature baseboard
radiators throughout the house. A small
photovoltaic system is installed to
offset electricity consumed on site.
The high performance building yields
superior thermal comfort, with no chilly
drafts, cold windows, or temperature
swings throughout the house.
Healthy Indoor Air
Only non-toxic and no-VOC materials,
paints, and adhesives were used in
interior assemblies. A highly efficient
heat recovery ventilator provides
continuous fresh air to the tight
building while it simultaneously
exhausts stale air.
After building the super insulated
foundation on site, the home's walls were
constructed inside the Bensonwood Homes
factory where it was protected from the
elements and yielded very low levels of
construction waste. The prefabricated
structure was then trucked to the site,
lifted by crane, and quickly assembled
weather tight, which minimized the
interior's exposure to the elements and
mitigated the risk of water damage and mold
growth. The exterior and interior finishes
to the home are currently underway.
ZeroEnergy Design | Schematic Design, Mechanical Design, Passive House Consulting
Estes and Gallup | General Contractor
Bensonwood | Building Envelope Panels
Paul Bilgen | Consulting Architect
Architectural Openings | Windows & Doors
- Square Footage:
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 2.5
- Open Living Plan with Cathedralized Ceilings, South Facing Glazing and Views, Lofted Second Floor.
- Passive House Certified and Energy Star Certified, Grid-tied Solar Electric System, Solar Hot Water System, Heat Recovery Ventilator, Super Insulation with 17" walls, High Performance Windows.
- Whole House Ventilation
and Filtration System, Low
or No VOC aterials/Sealants/Paints,
Hard Floor Surfaces, Shoe
Ventilation in Bathrooms.