Project Description

The Charlotte House | Pill-Maharam Architects 

2012 Vermont’s Greenest Award – Residential

Proven annual energy intensity: 7.8 kBTU/sf/yr

This is a single family residence for a family of four located in East Charlotte, Vermont. The house was completed in August of 2007. The goal was to create a house with as little environmental impact as possible while maintaining a high level of design and detail in a cold northern climate. The house has been designed to, and has been functioning since construction, at net zero energy use with zero carbon emissions, using only electricity generated on site with its 10kW net-metered wind turbine and 5kW PV tracker (added in 2010).

Since its construction, the house has been net positive (putting more than 4,000 kWh back into the grid). Being in a rural Vermont landscape, the architects designed the house by taking cues from the local agricultural context. The exterior form expresses the simplicity found in barns and farm houses, allowing us to create a simple building envelope which was more efficient to build and to heat. The Interior was designed with a clean minimal aesthetic allowing focus to the carefully framed views out into the landscape. The design of the house is large enough for a family of four with future flexibility, and small enough to limit energy use and resources. The house maximized energy efficiency by being long and narrow on the true east west axis with simple massing. It is a super insulated passive solar design which uses a ground source heat pump for all heating and domestic hot water. The open plan allows for flexibility as well as southern daylight to all living spaces. The 10kW net-metered wind turbine produces all of the electricity required for heating, hot water, cooking, lighting and appliances and sends a surplus back to the grid. No fossil fuels are used.


Owner: David Pill and Hillary Maharam

Architect: Pill-Maharam Architects

Contractor: New England Housewrights

Energy Consultant: Energy Balance, Inc.