2015 Challenge Participant:

Appropriate Designs - Pandolfo/Wilmes Residence

Applicants: Richard Sherman - Builder, Pandolfo/Wilmes Residence

Project Address: Ashford, CT

Bdrms./Sq. Footage: 3 BD - 2471 sq ft

Builder Website: www.appropriatedesigns.net

Project Overview Project Specifications Project Team Project Photos
The Appropriate Designs - Pandolfo/Wilmes Residence project in Ashford, CT.

General project overview:

Single family house, approx. 2400 sqft living space, incorporating passive and active strategies for energy efficiency and net zero energy consumption.

Special Features:

  • Super-insulated shell, passive solar orientation and active solar array, air source heat pump mechanicals

Orientation and Envelope: (windows, insulation, framing)

  • Windows are Inline triple-pane with U-values of  .17 to .22, and solar heat gain (SHGC) values of .39 to .40+
  • Shell is clad with triple course of 5/8" thick regional white cedar shingles (natural weathering, no VOC finishes)
  • Outside the envelope is a root cellar, with conventionally insulated north entry airlock above, and a corner porch with hip roof positioned to catch prevailing northwest wind
  • Shell is oriented due solar south,  with window layout for significant solar heat gain in the heating months, and long saltbox roof side facing south for maximum solar array and walkout basement for maximum passive solar heat sink in basement slab. 
  • Framing cellulose-filled 2x6 sheathed, with exterior foamboard 4” also sheathed for additional air barrier. Combined R-value for the wall R-40.
  • Ceiling insulation levels above R-60; flat ceiling with 20" blown-in cellulose, and Vaulted ceiling with spray foam and rigid foamboard. 

Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water:

  • Passive solar heat will be backed up with mini-split air source heat pump system, and final backup of EPA-rated woodstove in basement with outside air feed. Mini-splits will also be active cooling, with eave overhangs and ‘heat chimney’ window layout for passive cooling. 
  • Water heating will be active utilizing a heat pump water heater system, with heater location directly under highest use room (main bath & shower).


  • Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) will also be active ventilation, with ‘heat chimney’ window layout for passive ventilation. 


  • Design will employ efficient use of light through LED lighting and with window scheme designed to maximize passive daylighting.
  • All appliances are ENERGY STAR rated. Freezer housed in root cellar, for minimum temperature fluctuation and load.


  • Solar array will be roof mounted, with initial sizing estimates at 9KW system
  • Site slope and tall roofline employed for maximum panel exposure while retaining the southern/western tree line for summer shading

Resources Sustainability Features:

  • Site harvested oak and maple is used for all hardwood floors, countertops, stair posts, and rails
  • Site harvested pine is used for all interior trim
  • Graded area was covered entirely with woodchip mulch rendered locally or on site, allowing fern and other native understory plants to re-estabilsh for finish landscape (vs. maintained lawn)
Website by: 505 Creative Services, Guilford CT  |  www.505Creative.com
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