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Project:  Custom Home
Location:  Roxbury, VT
Year Completed:  2010

We designed and built this home for a retired couple, one of which suffers from a chronic medical condition.  The layout, functionality, and systems of the house were custom tailored to the needs of the couple, their future, and the site.  There were many challenges and obstacles to overcome and their solutions had to be carefully coordinated.  

The home sits on a ledge outcropping with a terrific southerly exposure and view down the Rt 12A valley towards Randolph.  While the outcropping gave the house site a great view, it created challenges with blasting, fill, and elevations.  The original house layout was modified slightly after the ledge was blasted to accommodate the resultant available area.  While there is a slight concession made for passive solar gain on this house, the orientation to solar south was important for orienting one of the roof pitches for photovoltaic panels.  

Great attention to detail was paid in the insulation package, heating and cooling systems, and air sealing in an effort to create a relatively conventional looking home that used technology to create a very small ecological footprint.  Because conventional looking homes can limit the extent the design can create passive solar gain, we needed to use technology to offset this challenge.  The home is heated and cooled with a ground source geothermal heat pump.  The home boasts and R-70 ceiling and R-35 walls, radiant slab heating in the home and the garage, and a guest apartment above the garage that uses a separate geothermal heat pump to create forced hot air and air conditioning.  In over 3700 sq ft of conditioned space the entire heating load on the house is around 50,000 BTUs on a -10F day.  To put that in perspective, that is about what a large water domestic hot water heater puts out.  

Long term costs were also a major design concern on this home.  Since the couple is retired and has large medical costs, creating a home that did not require large amounts of money to operate each year, especially as they get older, was critical.  The siting and the use of a geothermal heating system solved this.  The roof of the garage was angled and sited to create a perfect canvas for photovoltaic panels.  The plan for this house is to evaluate the electrical load of the home over the course of a full year and then size the future PV array to create a close to net-zero energy situation for the home - a very attractive situation for a retired couple.  

The result is a wonderful, warm, and bright home that specifically serves the needs of this couple.  With careful planning and forethought, all the systems of the home work in conjunction to produce a low maintenance and high quality home that will serve it's new owners for may years to come.  
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