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House on the Hill
Columbia County, NY

Energy and Sustainability

Passive Solar Energy: The house is oriented toward the south and has an overhang designed to keep the sun out in the summer and admit it in the winter. High-mass floors and walls in the large south-facing main space act as a heat sink to retain energy after sunset.

Geothermal Heating: A geothermal heat pump uses well water to generate the heat for the radiant floor system, which constitutes the majority of the heating load for the building.

Ventilation and Cooling: The abundant natural breezes flowing up the hill are routed through the house to cool it in hot weather, so that no air conditioning is needed. An energy recovery ventilator provides fresh air to the interior in the winter months, without significant loss of heat or humidity.

Water Management: A cistern was designed to collect runoff water from the large roof surface, to be used for irrigation.

Site Impacts and Landscaping: The house, located in a field that had been cleared long ago, is sited in such a way as to minimize its impact on the landscape. Man-made landscaping is kept to a minimum, allowing natural flora to cover most of the property.