Whitchurch Passive House Cottage


Whitchurch PH Cottage-VTPH Project Submittal Form


Barb & Greg Whitchurch built this right-sized home for Greg’s elderly parents, Ev & Norm; so that instead of being in an assisted living space in Akron, OH, they’re here in beautiful VT with their kin.

The “Cottage” is 24x24x24 inside (28x28x28 outside) with a poured concrete full basement plus two floors. The snow stays atop the  1/2 in 12 roof where it is insulation, rather than atop the flower beds where it would remain until April. The skeleton is post & beam and the 16″ cellulose DP curtain walls are spaced outside the timber frame 2″ so that the frame seems to float inside the house, independent of the thermal envelope. The cladding is UV-protected local, rough-cut white cedar T&G; the inside is the same except uncoated, planed & V-grooved. The SW corner window assy. is 13’H x 21’W & protected by a removable summer shading device. The inside finishes are rustic: wood, 3″ live-edge pine slabs for some counters & sills, cherry accents, cedar cabinets.

The building provides all necessary functions on the first floor – anticipating a time when movement between floors will be difficult – & the 2-story stairway cut-out is sized for a home elevator. The 1st floor is also exactly level with the main floor of the main house – to which it is connected by a protected, but unheated, breezeway.

Because the Cottage has a “hot” roof, its PV and thermal panels are mounted on the main house next door.  The cottage’s DHW tank has electric backup and resides w/in an R-56 superinsulated enclosure. The CERV, Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator, provides fresh air, cooling & heating at high volume only when needed according to user-set temperature, CO2 & VOC limits; is controllable through the Internet; has no refrigeration lines or external components; & resides entirely inside the building for increased efficiency.


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