New England Vacation House

Providence, RI United States

ZeroEnergy Design, Aedi Construction, Energy Star


Project Description

Award Winners

Grand Award


This vacation residence on the Rhode Island coast packs performance-enhancing features and an inviting contemporary aesthetic into a pared-down package. Architect Stephanie T. Horowitz designed the compact form to provide exceptional energy efficiency, keep costs low, and meet the client’s request for a small environmental footprint.

The smart, streamlined design loads plenty of storage and amenities into the 1,300-square-foot retreat, including two bedrooms plus a sleeping loft; two bathrooms; and an open kitchen, dining, and living area. The interplay of warm, comfortable interiors and high-performance features created a synergy the judges couldn’t resist. “There is a harmony here between design and performance,” they raved.

The jury was equally impressed with the combination of Passive House-inspired strategies that reduced the home’s heating requirements to one-tenth that of a similar new code-built home.

Project planners relied on exceptional insulation (R-44 walls, R-50 foundation, R-60 roof), extreme attention to thermal bridging and air sealing, and ultra-efficient windows. By siting the house for maximum solar gain (while optimizing a north-facing view), Horowitz and her team reduced the heating needs to a single 10-HSPF Mitsubishi air source heat pump.

For healthy indoor air in such a tightly built dwelling, Horowitz included a Zehnder ComfoAir 200 HRV, polished concrete floors, and zero-VOC Poggenpohl kitchen cabinets. Other sustainable products include recycled quartz countertops, a heat-pump water heater, a high-efficiency washer and condensing dryer, and WaterSense-certified plumbing fixtures and toilets.


Project Details

New England Vacation House
Shared by:
Project Team:
    ZeroEnergy Design, Architect.
  • Verifier: ZeroEnergy Design 
  • Builder: Aedi Construction 
Project Scope:
Project Type:
Room Or Space:
Project Status:
Year Completed:
Project Size:
    1,300 sq ft
Certifications and Designations:

Specified Products

Energy: XPS, Closed-Cell Spray Foam, And Cellulose Insulation / Double-Stud Wood Framing 24 Inches O.C. / Schuco U-0.13 Windows With 0.60 SHGC / GreenGuard Rainscreen And Housewrap / All CFL Lighting / Powerhouse Dynamics e-Monitor Energy-Monitoring System / Energy Star Appliances / LG High-Efficiency Washer And Condensing Dryer

Resources: Boise Cascade Engineered I-Joists / Caesarstone Recycled Quartz Countertops / Locally Sourced Bluestone Patio

IAQ: Zehnder ComfoAir 200 HRV / No-VOC Poggenpohl Kitchen Cabinets / Polished Concrete Floors / Benjamin Moore And Ecos Zero-VOC Paints

Water: GE GeoSpring Heat-Pump Hot Water Heater / WaterSense-Certified Plumbing Fixtures And Toilets / PEX Tubing / Permeable Gravel Walkway / Drought-Tolerant Grass And Native Plantings



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