One of the Most Efficient Passive Houses in the World
This sweet and compact home was designed by Dennis Wedlick Architect, who has been long commited to sustainability, and built with the support of the New York State Energy Research Development Authority through the High Performance Energy Challenge.
It was intended as an energy conservation project, a prototype home-of-tomorrow that demonstrates the energy-saving potential of residential architecture.
His project, the Hudson Passive Project has tested out as one of the highest performing passive houses in the world.
This was the first passive house for the builders Bill Stratton Building Company, and they were amazed that a house with a floor-to-truss glass front, and a lack of conventional mechanical HVAC systems could be so warm to work in.
After they finished, the house was selected by BUILDER’s 10 Favorite Houses of 2011
Despite a very unconventional construction technique, the speed of construction was remarkable – the builders were able to substantially complete the house within just four months, using SIPs.
As you see, this construction technology means there are many fewer places where cold air can get in to the house.
The secret of passive house design is extremely efficient thermal insulation and much more airtight construction. Wedlick used SIPs (structural insulated panels) to build the house.
This kind of totally airtight construction must be paired with a heat a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system.
With an HRV system, fresh air is brought in in one place rather than leaking in (and out) anywhere. The incoming air is heated by pipes that have become warmed by carrying outgoing air.
Once the incoming air is warmed to the desired temperature it is released into the house, bringing in air that is both fresh and warm. So it keeps the heat that has already been generated inside the house inside for reuse in the incoming fresh air from outside, saving energy.
Although there is no one design that works best as a passive house, many do seem to have the same general “cube-like” two-storied internal space fronted by a large expanse of windows, as here.
To qualify as a “passive” house it achieved overall energy savings of 90 percent of space heating compared with average homes – entirely with non active energy production by solar panels.
Dennis Wedlick, the founder of DWA, has infused the design with a subtle gnome-cave look, which is very appropriate to the snug and warm haven it provides as a burrowing shelter; creating a bulwark against the chilly air of upstate New York.
Wedlick has had a career-long commitment to picturesque design and is a believer in the real energy savings of passive house design.
What a cosy little house in the woods. You just know it’s warm inside. But this one is certified.
To become a certified passive house, the house must pass an “air blower” test. The air blower test tests the amount of air that is exchanged from the inside to the outside. The Hudson Passive House passed with a rate of .16 air exchanges per hour, making it one of the most efficient passive buildings in the country.