Clean Water Cottage 

Sited on a wooded piece of land that overlooks Hull Creek and the Potomac River, this small house was designed to embrace its surroundings. Generous windows are located to open up to beautiful sunrises while also providing passive solar gain in the cooler months. Tall spaces with sloped ceilings make for a dynamic interior while aiding natural ventilation for shoulder season cooling. A curved steel and wood stair connects an open mezzanine and office space with the living room below. A butterfly roof catches rainwater which is stored and filtered for use instead of well water.

Sustainably-harvested cedar is used for siding, decks, and a screened porch. Modern detailing meant simpler finishes and require less material. Sustainable features include bamboo floors, a colored concrete thermal mass, painted Hardie board siding and a well-insulated shell. The house is raised on piers to facilitate airflow and minimize site disturbance. The architect and owner were intimately involved in siting the house to remove the least amount of trees – creating a place that enjoys the woods in which it is nestled.

Summer strategies:

1. Cross ventilation harnesses breezes
2. Attic fan + chimney effect vents warm air
3. Trees provide natural shading
4. Rainwater is collected from the roof + stored underground
5. Fans provide cooling
6. Concrete floor is a thermal mass for cooling
7. Light-colored roofs cut down on unwanted heat island effect

Winter strategies:

1. Windows are sized and oriented for solar gain + passive heating
2. Radiant floors provide a comfortable heat
3. Thermal mass stores and radiates heat
4. Natural light cuts down on energy use
5. Sloped ceilings move air to follow the cycle of the day
6. House on piers minimizes site disturbance
7. Permeable paving promotes rainwater infiltration, minimizes runoff