Renovation: Roxbury Home
We designed and built this home for a retired couple, one of which suffered 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 views 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. The orientation to solar south was important for orienting 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 had a very small ecological footprint. Because conventional-looking homes can limit the extent the design can create a 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 an 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 had large medical costs, creating a home with low operating costs, especially as they get older, was critical. The siting and the use of a geothermal heating system solved this. The roof of the garage and the main house are angled and sited to create a perfect canvas for photovoltaic panels. The electric load was evaluated over the course of several years and Photovoltaic panels were installed to create a net-zero arrangement -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 low maintenance and high-quality home that will serve its new owners for may years to come.