- Composting toilets
- Good wall insulation
- Triple pane windows
- Innovative heating
- Solar heated DHW
- Waste heat recovery
- Energy Star appliances
- Passive solar orientation
We designed, built, and live in our community according to principles of energy efficiency and sustainability. In the course of designing and building the community, we found the process instructive and very frustrating particularly dealing with bankers, lawyers, regulators, and a construction industry. We do not claim that our construction process was even remotely sustainable (meaning that we do not believe that 6 billion people could do the same and have the biosphere survive the process).
One of our favorite footprint lowering features:
Here are some things we think we may have done right:
- Building up on a rise and not on the prime agricultural land.
- Protecting all but a few acres of our 270 acre farm from further development with permanent conservation easements (thanks to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Upper Valley Land Trust).
- Designing and building to meet Vermont Energy Star Homes standards, a program of Efficiency Vermont.
- Relatively small homes (2100 or 1700square feet).
- Proper orientation for passive solar heating.
- Solar hot water on all units.
- Very good insulation, very efficient Thermotech windows.
- Composting toilets with a simple greywater leachfield.
- A single wood-gasifying furnace to heat all units (with a forced-hot-water district heating system and propane backup) GARN® WHS Smokeless Wood Heat.
- Wastewater heat recovery GFX system.
- Energy Star® appliances and low-flow fixtures.
- Keeping cars to the edge of the housing area.
- Having only two chimneys for 22 households (the wood boiler and one Rumford fireplace in the commonhouse).
- Nontoxic indoor finishes.
Here are some things we hope to do right, some day when we can afford them
- A fuel cell to provide both heat and electricity, in place of our wood boiler.
- Very good metering of the actual flowthroughs of energy and materials through our complex.
Here are some things we had to give up on, because of cost or nonavailability or the culture from which we come:
- Avoiding all use of PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
- A single community laundry.
- Getting off the grid (so far).
- Avoidance of particleboard, oriented strandboard, plywood.
- Nontoxic outdoor finishes.
- A Living Machine to process greywater (and dairy wastewater from the barn).
The common heating system, heating all 22 houses – The Garn with propane back-up
Jeff Schoellkopf Design
P.O. Box 237
Warren, VT 05674
Albee O'Hara Inc.
Now operating as O'Hara and Gercke, Inc.
Marc Rosenbaum, PE
PO Box 194
Meriden, NH 03770
7 Kilburn Street
Burlington VT 05401
Thermal Engineer and Design of District Heating System
Kohler & Lewis
27 Mechanic Street
Keene, NH 03431
(603) 352-4841 Fax: (603) 352-1456
Traffic Impact Study
Resource Systems Group
Hershensen, Scott, Carter and McGee
Gensburd and AtwellSt. Johnsbury VT