CHATHAM MARSHVIEW HOUSE - CHATHAM, MASSACHUSETTS
This Cape Cod green home provides a destination for visiting family, support of a snowbird lifestyle, and an expression of the homeowner’s energy conscious values.
Looking over the salt marsh with Nantucket Sound in the distance, this new home offers single level living to accommodate aging in place, and a strong connection to the outdoors. The homeowners can easily enjoy the deck, walk to the nearby beach, or spend time with family, while the house works to produce nearly all the energy it consumes. The exterior, clad in the Cape’s iconic Eastern white cedar shingles, is modern in detailing, yet recognizable and familiar in form.
HOW THEY FOUND US. The homeowner’s relationship with ZED goes back to their days at Cornell University. As board members and alumni, the homeowners were early and outspoken supporters of the school’s first entry into the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon competition. Being students at the time, ZED’s Jordan Goldman and Stephanie Horowitz participated in the entry as their first collaboration - later becoming Cornell alumni and co-founding ZED. Subsequently, the homeowners followed the firm for over a decade; reconnecting when they had purchased land on the Cape and knew they were looking for a custom green home.
THE SITE. The architectural design carefully places the home beyond the 100’ wetlands setback while capturing the panoramic marshview and successfully managing a steep grade change. With the proximity to the salt marsh, removal of existing invasive species and installation of native plantings, spearheaded by Wilkinson Ecological Design, helps to mitigate site impact. The initial design proposal successfully made its way through the Chatham Conservation Commission review process.
OUTDOOR CONNECTION. The cathedralized ceilings and wrapping walls of windows and doors enhance the spacious, bright feeling inside, while capturing the surrounding landscape. Not only is there a steady stream of natural light into the house, but the alluring draw of the deck allows for outdoor living, cooking, and dining throughout the summer and fall. The changing marsh view of green and gold is captured throughout the seasons, supported by the blue ocean in the distance.
SINGLE FLOOR LIVING. Planning for aging in place, the layout locates all habitable space on a single floor. Only mechanical equipment and storage is relegated to the basement. The burden of stairs is very limited when entering or exiting the home, with adequate space to potentially add future ramps if desired. Privacy is created within the layout by locating the guest bedrooms and master suite on opposite sides of the living space.
ENERGY. Near Zero. The all-electric home consumes 99% less energy than a new code-built house, and produces 91% of the energy annually that it consumes, making it exceptionally energy efficient. The home’s impressive energy performance offers remarkable thermal comfort, shelter from future heating & cooling costs, all with no carbon emissions onsite.
ENVELOPE. Thick walls and roof lack thermal bridging, by using dense packed cellulose and continuous rigid insulation. High performance, triple-glazed windows and doors round out the super-insulated building envelope. The continuous air barrier yields minimal leakage, with air tightness testing revealing only 0.3ACH50 which is half the Passive House requirement. Placement and height of the windows not only bring in the outside, but also ensure a naturally bright interior all year round and enable passive heating during winter months. The super-insulated airtight envelope also means that during a storm with power outage, heat loss will be very slow – taking multiple days to drop to 60 degrees even with no heat source.
SYSTEMS. The house includes an array of solar panels that produces enough energy each year to nearly offset consumption. A high-efficiency heat pump water heater provides domestic hot water and is complemented by Energy Star appliances. In addition, a high efficiency HVAC system, comprised of an air source heat pump and an energy recovery ventilator (ERV), ensures the house stays warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and provides a constant supply of fresh, clean air throughout the year. Some of the heating units can be shut down during the winter season while the family is away to conserve energy. The home’s insulation and high solar gain windows help keep it warm with minimal active heating. Finally, a circuit-by-circuit energy monitoring system allows the owners to track their energy consumption, troubleshoot anomalies, and monitor both energy and temperature of the home remotely.
OVERALL. The owner’s goals are thoughtfully expressed through the home design as they plan for their long term lifestyle, consume very little energy, and attract family for extended stays.
Square Footage: 2,800
Single floor living, Panoramic marsh & waterview, Walk to beach location, Outdoor living/cooking/dining, Outdoor shower
Air Leakage: 0.3ACH50
Better Than Code: 99%
Cellulose and continuous rigid insulation, Triple pane windows, Continuous air barrier, Air source heat pump, Heat pump hot water heater, Energy recovery ventilator
Ultra low energy consumption, Highly durable materials