di Domenico + Partners designed a new, 1,900 SF Passive House in Westchester County, NY to stringent Passive House standards, satisfying the owners’ desire to reduce their carbon footprint in a highly efficient home. Four passive house strategies were followed to significantly reduce energy usage and improve comfort:
Orientation: The home is oriented in an east-west direction and most of the windows face south, so that the house can take advantage of the sun’s warmth in the winter months to reduce heating costs. Insulation: Thick insulation and high-performance windows and doors will retain heat in the winter and keep it out in the summer. Air tightness: Air-tight construction will minimize infiltration and heat loss and will improve comfort by eliminating drafts. Ventilation: Energy recovery ventilation brings in filtered air with minimal energy loss.
The house’s energy-saving characteristics, along with the roof-top solar panels, will allow the house to be “net-zero” so that, over the course of the year, the electricity generated during sunny days will offset electricity pulled from the grid on cloudy days or at night. No oil or gas will be used to power the house.
Wherever possible, locally sourced materials were specified. White oak wood for flooring and cabinetry, for example, will come from a millworker in Kitchawan, NY who salvaged fallen trees on his property. Exterior siding for a portion of the house and a deck will be Black Locust, also sourced in New York State.
A rain harvesting system will collect water from the roof and store it in a cistern for irrigation of the planned vegetable and flower gardens. To minimize rainwater run-off, the remainder of the site was designed to have no impervious surfaces.
Particular care was taken to create a unique house reflecting the owners’ contemporary tastes while respecting the character of the neighborhood.