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Hudson Valley House Deemed One of the Most Energy Efficient Homes in the World


By Bud Dietrich, Houzz


Rather than relying on technology such as photovoltaic arrays and solar hot water heaters, a passive house is designed to maximize its ability to heat itself in winter and cool itself in summer. To do this requires careful consideration of a home’s site and how the sun moves across the sky, where the trees and other vegetation are located, where the winters winds come from, etc. In this way, a passive house relies more on good design and proper site location than anything else.

Designed by architect Dennis Wedlick, this Hudson Passive project is the first certified passive house in New York State and one of the most energy efficient houses in the world. It was realized with the assistance of New York State and is designed in accordance with the standards established by the German Passivhaus Institut. These standards, which target an overall savings of 90 percent in the energy consumption, are common in Europe but relatively new in the United States, with only 12 houses certified to date.


Dennis Wedlick, original photo on Houzz


Located in the Hudson River Valley about a two-hour drive north of New York City, the Hudson Passive Project’s design was inspired by traditional Upstate New York barn architecture. Stone walls and a laminated wood structure support a simple gable roof. The large, south facing glass wall illuminates and warms the interior.

From the distance, the simple, barn-like structure fits in with the landscape and the traditional architectural forms of the Hudson River Valley.


Dennis Wedlick, original photo on Houzz


The large glass wall at the south end of the house lets the interior light shine through in the evening hours, turning the house into a giant lantern in the landscape. Though snow blankets the landscape, the house remains warm and inviting.


Dennis Wedlick, original photo on Houzz


Sunlight is transformed into heat as it passes through the glass, warming as well as illuminating the house. The main living space features the large south facing glass wall and an elegant laminated wood frame. The stained concrete floor includes radiant heating elements to keep the occupants warm in winter.


Dennis Wedlick, original photo on Houzz


The bedrooms and bathrooms are at the north end of the house. A loft-like space contains two bedrooms while the master bedroom is on the first floor.


Dennis Wedlick, original photo on Houzz


The loft area has views of the great room and out to the landscape beyond. The concrete floor is a large thermal mass to collect and store heat generated during the day. At night, the heat stored in the floor radiates back out into the rooms.

Related: Warm Your Home With the Right Rug

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