With its exterior stonework, timber frame, and pitched roof, the Hudson Passive Project in the Hudson River Valley, is New York State's first Certified Passive House. Designed by architect Dennis Wedlick, it is one of only 11 U.S. projects to be awarded certification from the Passive House Institute.
- Historic Homes & More >
- House Tour: Hudson Passive Project
House Tour: Hudson Passive Project
The Hudson Passive Project
The current owners of the Hudson Passive Project house never turned the heat on last winter, says Wedlick. "In my mind, this is a true breakthrough. It reminds us that good building techniques can really be the answer." It also means the house is working exactly as planned. For more on the Hudson Passive Project, click here.
Wedlick opted for a striking two-story wall of triple-paned windows on the structure’s southern exposure. Soaring cathedral ceilings with bow-arch beams give the open, loft-like interior a roominess that belies its compact 1,650 footprint.
Wedlick installed beechwood cabinets, marble countertops, and premium energy-efficient GE appliances for the house. "We opted for an induction range with no hood,” notes Wedlick, "to reduce having another penetration in the airtight structure."
The dining area benefits from the warmth and views provided by the home's south-facing windows. The triple-pane windows, high ceilings and open second-floor loft are all key features in the home's passive design.
The bathrooms, outfitted in marble and recycled-glass tiles, features low-flow Waterworks faucets and fixtures, are outfitted in marble and recycled glass tiles. For increased energy efficiency, the bathrooms and kitchen were ganged together, back-to-back, in order to share the hot water provided by the home’s single on-demand water heater.
“The aesthetics of the structure have a lot to do with the message of the house,” says Wedlick, who wanted the residence to have a strong connection to nature and to give the impression of being as healthy indoors as out.
How it Works
The Hudson Passive Project uses a heat-recovery system. "I call it a magic box," says Wedlick. "It’s the only mechanical equipment required in a passive house. It brings fresh air in and exhausts stale air out, all the while transferring the heat to the new air coming in."
Raising the frame
Although Wedlick spent years refining the eco-specifications of his design using thermal modeling and precise climatic information, the Hudson Passive Project house took only about six months to construct once building got underway. Shown here, Bill Stratton's building team raising the frame.
Passive solar houses come close to achieving 'net zero' energy consumption by being super-insulated and airtight. To achieve this, builders insulate the entire envelope, including the walls, roof—even the foundation—and meticulously caulk, seal, and tape every possible gap or opening.
In addition to eschewing structural elements that might serve as thermal bridges (allowing hot or cold air to escape), passive design also relies on strategically placed windows to ensure the home gains more heat than it loses.
While the south-facing side of the house features large, expansive windows that capture warmth, the rear, north-facing side is virtually windowless.