William Maclay - Vermont Architects and Planners
Choices in Sustainability
Putney Residence - Putney, Vermont

As residents of the Putney community, the owners were familiar with and inspired by the nearby net-zero Putney School Field House. The idea of net-zero resonated with their environmental goals as well as their desire to control costs in the future and avoid energy cost escalation and/or volatility.

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This new residence is set close to the western edge of a hay field in Putney, Vermont. Living spaces have direct access to the south where a large vegetable garden and orchard border the home. The north side of the kitchen and dining area opens to a screen porch with eastern views. To the west an existing forested area leads to a meandering stream and hill with trails to enjoy nature and the surrounding beauty. The trees and hill also provide some protection from winter winds. The building orientation and glazing work to balance the competing goals of optimizing solar gain and addressing long views eastward to Mt. Monadnock. The house utilizes a super insulated envelope with double stud walls to reduce energy demands.They decided to install an air source heat pump with PVs, solar domestic hot water panels, and with a wood stove. They have a wood lot that can easily provide a sustainable supply of all the wood they need for heating and they enjoy harvesting wood off their land.

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Oak and cherry trees were harvested from their land and used as interior finishes. Quarter sawn oak was used for flooring in the main living spaces, beams, trim, stair treads, and built-in bookcases. The site-harvested cherry was used for hand-carved doors and the built-in dining nook. All were finished with low or no VOC finishes. All of these details were used to further deepen the connection of the owners to their unique property.

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