Built in the 1970s, the existing house had an unexpected, eclectic character that its owners loved, including a variety of recycled doors, windows, interior finishes, and an exposed post-and-beam structure. In spite of its perfect south-facing exposure, the home was fussy and expensive to heat. The interior was gloomy and cut off from the surrounding garden and fields, the basement flooded with water and silt after every heavy rain.
A beautiful private pond was virtually invisible from most of the living and bedroom spaces, and a separate guesthouse and studio disrupted natural groundwater flows across the site. The challenge would be to drastically reduce the home’s energy needs without losing its unique personality and style.
We performed a deep energy retrofit with Net Zero Energy a goal of the renovation. New windows and dormers opened the home up to the south and a striking view of the pond. New doors and porches helped to open the space up to the 10-acre property and its features. The new design also reduced space needs and combined functions, which reduced the home’s overall footprint on the land. The guesthouse/studio was relocated, improving groundwater flows.
The home features FSC-certified wood, and we reused materials whenever possible. New materials were sourced locally, and we used native Maine plant species to create a sustainable landscape. A new bio-swale filters and controls water run-off into the stream, helping to reinstate natural water patterns and preventing erosion and flooding. The super insulated exterior shell stays warm thanks to low-energy heat pumps, and heat recovery air exchangers allow fresh air to flow through the home all year long. Extensive use of LED lighting brought lighting energy use down to a third of what a conventional system would use. Rooftop PV panels, backed by a wood-fired stove, provide power and heat, and rooftop evacuated solar tubes provide hot water.