Although it’s not a Passive house, this project is a favorite. The site for the weekend cabin is a 17-acre wooded hillside with a pristine view of the Laurel Highlands and Chestnut Ridge. The clients were interested in an extremely simple structure; their initial image was a one-room cabin with a fireplace, and they liked the materials and structure of bank barns in and around Western Pennsylvania.
The cabin is a simple large room with two lofts. One is a sleeping loft for the children and the other is the parents’ sleeping area. The house is situated on the top of a hill oriented toward the southeast. Large windows allow for lots of daylight and views out into the landscape. The solar access, daylight, and super-insulated shell maximize the cabin’s energy efficiency.
Many of the items in the house are reclaimed. The timber frame that supports the SIPS panels was reused from a local barn. The flooring for the cabin was taken from the flooring of that same barn and cedar siding was cut from reclaimed telephone poles. It is energy efficient and has low embodied energy.