Innovative Design with a Community-Minded Slant
The green motivation behind TOH’s 2016 Idea House
A green home doesn't have to be a cold-looking ultramodern box. It can marry the warmth of traditional architecture with modern systems that save and produce energy. That philosophy is at the core of TOH's 2016 Idea House, an updated farmhouse with a prominent front gable, double-hung windows, and a homey front porch. The house will use less than a third of the energy of a typical new house of similar size thanks to its tight building envelope, efficient systems, and solar-panel array. In fact, with an expanded array, the house could produce all the energy it needs, making "net-zero" living possible.
But Don Powers, a developer and lead architect of the project, is proudest of the fact that the look and feel of the home are just as compelling as the green technology. "You don't have to care only about sustainability to like this house," says Powers. "It isn't a one-trick pony about energy efficiency. It's simply a great place on a great street."
The house is located in Emerson Green, an innovative development in Devens, Massachusetts, with a focus on sustainable design and community building. Houses there feature front porches, and the streets include sidewalks to support walkability and neighborly interaction.
Proof that this approach is a winner: The farmhouse will soon be home to Paula and Brian Haschig and their daughters, Mila, 2, and Diana, 4 months. "We are excited to raise our girls in an environmentally aware, community-minded neighborhood," says Paula. "We'd love net-zero to be the only life they know."
Siding and trim: HardiePlank lap siding in smooth Iron Gray and HardieTrim window trim in smooth Arctic White; James Hardie
Front door: Painted in Smoked Salmon, Olympic
Windows: Tribute vinyl double-hung windows with black exterior finish and 0.17 U-factor; Harvey Building Products
Porch: Azek Porch capped polymer tongue-and-groove in Oyster, and cellular PVC-wrapped columns; Azek
Roof: Majestic Traditional 12” synthetic slate in Smoke Gray with chisel point detail in Midnight Gray and Smoke Gray; EcoStar
Copper porch roof: standing-seam copper roof and Alpine snow guards; Copper Development Association
Gutters: 5” half-round copper gutters on plain rib-cast fascia brackets in solid brass and 3” smooth downspouts in copper; Classic Gutter Systems LLC
Lighting: 14” District LED wall sconces in white; Barn Light Electric
Landscape design and plants: Bailey Nurseries’ Endless Summer, First Editions and Easy Elegance collections shrubs, roses, hydrangeas, perennials and trees; Endless Summer Collection
Planters: Valencia tall planters by Belham Living; Hayneedle.com