2013 Challenge Participant:

Bolton Passive House

Applicant: Anne Decker

Project Address: Bolton, CT

Bdrms./Sq. Footage: TBD

Project Overview Project Specifications Project Team Project Photos
The Bolton Passive House project in Bolton, CT.

General project overview:

This 2,100 square-foot modern farmhouse in Bolton, designed to meet the international Passive House standard, will be home to a family of five. Homeowners Anne Decker and Steven Toomey set out to design an energy-efficient home with minimal mechanical systems and operating costs. The super-insulated and airtight building enclosure required to meet the Passive House standard helps achieve that goal.

Passive House is a quality assurance standard measuring the home’s total energy use, energy use for heating and cooling, and airtightness against specific performance criteria. It is considered the most stringent building energy standard in the world.

The house sits on a 7-acre property that has been in the owners’ family since the early 1900s, primarily as a hayfield. The house is a short walk from the town center. Large, triple-glazed wood windows on the south and west open the living space to the gently sloping terrain planted with hay grasses.

The efficient floorplan includes three bedrooms, two full and one half bathrooms, an office/guest room, mudroom, laundry/pantry connected to the kitchen, and a large open dining and living space enclosed by a locally-sourced timberframe. The house is connected to a separate garage by a covered walkway.

The house was designed by GO Logic of Belfast, ME. Cooper Lane Builders of Stafford Springs, CT, began construction in April 2013.


Certification Programs:

Passive House International, ENERGY STAR Certified Homes v3.0


Orientation and Envelope: (windows, insulation, framing)

The house is oriented 14 degrees west of solar south. The triple-glazed, aluminum-clad wood windows are made in Germany by Kneer-Sudfenster. An exposed slab serves as the finished floor for the main level and is insulated with 8” of EPS foam (R-35). The wall system (R-54) consists of an 8 ¼” structural insulated panel attached to a conventional 2x6 cellulose-filled stud wall on the interior. Raised-heel trusses form the roof assembly, which is insulated with cellulose to R-80.


Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water:

Heating and cooling are provided by two Fujitsu 9RLS2 air-source heat pump units, with one indoor unit on each floor. 6 feet of electric radiant baseboard are installed for backup purposes. Domestic hot water is from a 75-gallon Marathon electric resistance heater with an efficiency of 92%.



A Zehnder CA350 energy recovery ventilator provides controlled ventilation and heat recovery. The full volume of air in the house is exchanged every 3 hours.



LED/CFL lighting and ENERGY STAR appliances will be used throughout the house.



An 8.5 kW photovoltaic system is planned. The system would cover approximately 100% of the home’s projected annual electricity needs.

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