Greenport Passive House

The entire design by Turett Collaborative of this two-story home was thoughtfully created to not only be energy efficient, but to make the most of interior and exterior spaces in Greenport, New York.

Concerned about over consumption in the post-industrial modern world and how it affects our ability to maintain a healthy planet, architect Wayne Turett of the Turett Collaborative, wanted not only to design, but to experience for himself just how well energy-efficient technologies could work. After three-years of researching, sketching and planning he decided to embark upon the mission of creating and living in a Passive Home of his own — his dream was realized as a carbon neutral design that fuses his modern aesthetic with an historical barn exterior, more in keeping with the village of Greenport, NY on the North Fork of Long Island.

Though few people know what the “Passive House” designation means, that’s bound to change soon, if the Passive House Institute and its supporters like Turett have anything to say about it. Contrary to the name, the Passive House movement has been active since the term “Passivhaus” was coined in Germany in 1988, and European countries have embraced the idea. In response to climate change, the movement came alive again in recent decades thanks to the growing popularity of green building and sustainable design in response to climate change. A Passive House consumes about 90 percent less heating energy than existing  buildings and 75 percent less energy than an average new construction.

While to the casual observer Turett’s Passive house doesn’t look different from any other well-designed contemporary house; the difference is in the way it is built and performs. As Turett explains, there were three key elements he had to consider when conceiving of his Passive House: the envelope, which had to be completely sealed so that there was no leakage of air; the insulation to ensure that heat would not escape nor cold air would enter; and added elements, such as roof overhangs, that protect the house from receiving too much sunlight in the summer. The house also has exhaust ducts in the kitchen and bathroom, triple-glazed windows, and energy-recovery-ventilation which brings in and takes out air. The exterior is ship-lapped grey cedar and cement, and the roof is aluminum. Inside, Turett kept the walls white and the furnishings clean-lined and contemporary, with a neutral color scheme, light woods, and white upholstery.

The main living spaces—the combined kitchen, dining, living rooms and porch—were intentionally located upstairs to soak up water views, while cathedral ceilings in the great room contribute to an open and airy feeling reminiscent of a more modern and urban loft-like experience. Downstairs, an outdoor shower helps smooth the transition from the sandy shore to the three bedroom, two bath space on the ground floor.

Architecture: Turett Collaborative
Photography: Liz Glasgow