William Maclay - Vermont Architects and Planners
Choices in Sustainability
Dartt Farmhouse


When Bill Maclay and his wife, Alex, purchased the Joshua Dartt 19th-century farmhouse located in Waitsfield, Vermont, they planned to renovate the drafty structure into a super-efficient net-zero multi-family building. Due to its location in Waitsfield's historic district, maintaining the building's original character and charm was essential. The team at Maclay Architects began by upgrading the insulation in the building's roof and foundation. Upgrading the walls proved to be more of a challenge. The building's historic appearance was preserved by making the energy efficiency improvements from the inside, slightly reducing the inside square footage of this 2,200-square foot farmhouse. Secondary walls were built inside the perimeter of the building to provide room for the insulation and to serve as a gap to eliminate thermal breaks—an essential element of any energy-efficient building envelope. With the addition of triple-glazed, high performance replacement windows, energy-saving appliances and a heat recovery ventilation system, the Maclay team hopes for a platinum—the highest level—LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Additional solar trackers and a solar domestic hot water system will be added over the next few years to enable this apartment building to reach net-zero.