Projects / New Homes      Waitsfield, Vermont

Joslin Hill Passive House


  • PHIUS+ Passive House Certified
  • Vermont’s Greenest Building Award
  • PHIUS Awards - Best Single Family


After retiring from their careers in New Jersey, an active professional couple decided to move to Vermont to be closer to their family. They wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to sensibly plan for the future by building a sunlit home in which they could comfortably age in place with predictable, low energy costs through the harsh Vermont winter. A spacious, open lot near a historic river village provided the perfect backdrop for the couple’s favorite hobbies: gardening, woodworking, and yoga. The couple’s son, owner of Shelterwood Construction, would have the chance to showcase his meticulous craftsmanship in a home lovingly built for his parents.


The home was built using very local natural materials that blend into the surrounding landscape. Cor-ten steel weathered clapboards transition from the earth to the wood clapboards above and the entire exterior has no finish, allowing the house to change and weather with the seasons. Many of the interior finishes, including the decorative stair wall, were made from locally-milled white pine that was harvested from the site.

This certified Passive House is designed to be lived in for a lifetime with wheelchair accessibility, wide doorways, accessible fixtures, and everything the couple needs located on the main level. Framed by large south-facing windows, the light-filled main living area includes a lofted ceiling transected with a glass bridge that connects the guest bedrooms above and looks out onto the garden and fruit trees below.

The attached barn, which creates a courtyard for gardens, houses a yoga studio and woodworking shop. With an ample array of solar panels and airtight construction to keep the heat in, the house is predicted to be net zero with no energy bills even in the coldest of Vermont winters. A Tesla Powerwall stores backup electricity for this all-electric home.


  • Year Completed

  • Cost

  • Gross Floor Area

    3050 sq ft
  • Beds

  • Baths

  • Partners

    Shelterwood Construction

Sustainability Achievements


  • Sustainable landscape
  • Edible landscape
  • Native plantings
  • Reused materials from the site
  • Resilient landscape design


  • Users recycled or reclaimed materials
  • Users locally-sourced materials
  • Designed for durability
  • Designed for low maintenance
  • Designed for minimal embodied energy
  • Low global warming potential insulation


  • Optimized for daylighting
  • Fresh air ventilation system for indoor air quality
  • Visual connection to the outdoors
  • Low-VOC finishes
  • Formaldehyde-free building
  • Contains no EPA chemicals of concern


  • Low-flow fixtures
  • Heat pump water heater
  • Landscaping requires little water


  • Fossil fuel-free building
  • Uses renewable energy systems
  • Uses passive design strategies
  • Net zero
  • Meets Passive House requirements
  • Fresh air ventilation system with heat recovery
  • Super-insulated
  • Triple-glazed windows
  • Battery storage system for back-up power & grid management
  • Has achieved Passive House Certification
  • Airtight construction
  • R-6 windows
  • R-50 walls
  • R-80 roof
  • R-30 slab
  • ACH50: .3
  • Predicted EUI: 0
  • Predicted % reduction from national average EUI: 100