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Hudson Valley Passive House Design

September 15, 2014



Hudson Valley Passive House

Unlike many panelized home builders who enclose their home shells using standard XPS and EPS foam core SIPs exclusively, Bensonwood builds many of its own structural, insulated wall and roof panels to realize the visions of its in-house design team and outside architects alike. Simultaneously, reducing waste by eliminating cutouts for doors and windows, which are not recyclable and end up in landfills.

Our walls feature dense-pack cellulose for insulation (a renewable, recycled product) and can be easily upgraded to extreme R-Value and air tightness for Passive House performance levels. They also incorporate our Open-Built® chases for easy access to wiring and plumbing.

Perhaps best of all, our custom panels can accommodate curved walls and join complex, compound roof pitches to realize even the most innovative architects' contemporary designs. One such Passive House design, by Jonathan Knowles and Laura Briggs of Briggs Knowles Architecture + Design, is a strategically sited home on a wooded lot in the Hudson River Valley of New York. A passive house is a rapidly emerging standard requiring that buildings use minimal heating and cooling energy.

The striking 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath house re-imagines the Passive House vernacular's often utilitarian designs with its own unique curvilinear aesthetic, open space plan, and multi-level views. The first-floor plan includes a living area with a wood stove and screened porch, a separate kitchen and dining area, two bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a mechanical room, and a polished concrete floor. The dining area and one of the bedrooms are built into the exterior wall design's curvature, creating exciting interior spaces and angled wall partitions.

The second-floor plan has a generous, curved master suite complete with a large walk-in closet, sauna, bamboo wood floor, balcony, and dramatic, cantilevered porch. Rounding out the second floor is a large playroom open on one end to the living area below.

Bensonwood delivered and rapidly raised the home shell in the middle of winter, with R-49 roof panels and R-35 wall panels pre-installed with Zola triple-glazed windows. From there, the on-site builder, John Hommel of Ashley Homes, added additional layers of insulation to quickly bring the house up to Passive House levels of performance.

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