Norbert and Robin had dreamed of retiring in a Passive House-certified home overlooking the Lubberland Creek Preserve in Southeastern New Hampshire, and they’d done their homework. They were interested in using four integrated Zehnder America (www.zehnderamerica.com) technologies to make the 1,900 square foot home extremely energy efficient.
They didn’t miss any opportunity to innovate or raise the bar on sustainable design. Our goals were focused on guaranteeing their comfort in every season, saving them money on a fixed income, and reducing the home’s overall impact on the environment as much as possible.
The home faces directly south and captures sunlight all winter under tall and vaulted ceilings and a continuous band of slim-lined, Italian triple-pane windows and doors that provide gorgeous views of the wild preserve. A second-story office nook and clerestory provide even deeper views, with a little more privacy.
Zehnder, which previously sold its innovative products only in Europe, took on the project as a test house. We designed around Zehnder’s vent-based systems, including a geothermal heat loop that heats and cools incoming air, a heat pump cooling system, electric towel-warmer radiators in the bathrooms, and a highly efficient energy recovery ventilator, which recycles heat and minimizes the need for air conditioning. The house effectively has no conventional heating system—and doesn’t need it. We also looked for efficiencies and smart solutions everywhere, from the lights to the windows to the insulation.
The kitchen exhaust hood eliminates, cleans, and recirculates cooking fumes in the home’s unique kitchen, custom-designed to match the ways Norbert likes to prepare meals. There are several countertop heights so they can prep and clean comfortably, and the eat-in kitchen also has two seating heights so people can sit and socialize while they’re working on dinner. An adjacent screened porch greets guests and opens to the view.
A roof-mounted solar system helps to ensure that the home generates more energy than it consumes—helped by features such as a heat pump water heater, superinsulation, LED lights and a polished concrete floor that helps regulate indoor temperatures.