2015 Challenge Participant:

Glastonbury Housesmith - Harris Residence

Applicants: Lisa Harris, Robert Dykins

Project Address: 1 Ellise Road, Mansfield, CT 06268

Bdrms./Sq. Footage: 3 BD - 3,278 sq ft

Project Overview Project Specifications Project Team Project Photos
The Glastonbury Housesmith - Harris Residence project in Mansfield, CT.

General Project Overview:

The project sits on the north side of a natural sloping meadow within a mature hardwood forest.  We minimized the cutting and site disturbance to install the new home, taking advantage of the natural clearing in the woods.   The home was designed to float over the meadow with cantilevered decks and large doored openings which bring light and views into the main living spaces.  The owner was looking to create a relaxing retreat that brings nature inside with a clean, warm, modern aesthetic.   


Special Features:

  • The home has a one story low, pitch metal roof that rises toward the southern views and sun. 

  • Floor to ceiling glazing on the south side give light and views to all of the major living spaces. 

  • A large overhang on the south side both protects the decks and shades the glazing in the summer and allows full exposure in the winter.   

Orientation and Envelope (Windows, Insulation, Framing): 

  • The majority of the glazing is south facing and protected by a large roof overhang, designed to shade in the summer and allow full exposure in the winter. The north, east and west glazing is minimized to provide natural light and ventilation for the secondary bedroom space.
  • The walls have 1.5”of mineral wool exterior insulation with battens to create a rain screen and horizontal cement siding.
  • Inside we have a fiberglass BIB within the 2x6 wall system and used Energy Complete by Owens Corning to seal the envelope.
  • The roof has 5” closed cell foam on the sheathing and rim with 7” of Fiberglass BIB.
  • The basement is conditioned with 2” of Roxul on the walls and 4” of XPS under the slab and Mar-Flex insulating drain board outside the foundation.       

Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water:

  • The home has a Waterfurnace Series 7 closed loop, water-to-air geothermal heat pump system.
  • Hot water is provided through a 30 gal desuperheater storage tank with an on demand LP tankless Hot Water Heater. 
  • A sealed combustion European wood burning stove is provided for backup and supplemental heat. 


  • Balanced ventilation is provided with a centralized ERV which pulls from the bathrooms and distributes through the supply ductwork.

  • The home is oriented to catch the prevailing summer breezes through the large doors and roof scoop, and is closed to the northerly storms and wind. 


  • The home is prepped for a ground mount PV system and has a LP Standby generator. 

  • We used all LED lighting fixtures with dimmers in all primary locations.

  • Timers and smart switching are used to minimize electric use. 

  • All appliances are ENERGY STAR. 


  • The home uses passive solar gain through its south facing glazing and has closed loop geothermal heating and cooling system.

Resources Sustainability Features:  

  • We minimized the cutting and site disturbance to install the new home and will maintain deed restrictions and trail easements for the mature forested land. 

  • Leaf litter and locally sourced stone drive, walks and drip strips make the home settle into the natural environment.

  • Outside we used Hardiboard siding and fly ash Boral trim. 

  • The metal roofing will long serve the home and be 100% recyclable when replaced. 

  • Inside we used Porcelain slab counters, cork flooring and responsibly sourced Douglass Fir flooring and cabinetry. 

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