Living Off-The-Grid: The Spirit Residence

Hugh Lofting Timber Framing Inc. is constructing a new off-the-grid home in Annapolis, Maryland and it’s an eco-conscious family’s dream come true. The company’s description of the sustainable home is so poetic that I found myself lost in a daydream of calling The Spirit Residence my own—lounging in front of the sealed fireplace as I gaze out over the surrounding farmland and forests, the aroma of my dinner filling the air, slow-cooking in one of two wood burning stoves…

But, back in reality, this home really does boast an impressive list of earth-friendly elements sure to send any environmentalist into a gloriously happy, dazed state of consciousness. The list includes solar thermal heating, natural ventilation, Energy Star appliances and high efficiency energy recovery ventilation for fresh air.

Built to provide a modern living experience for a family of four while reducing their carbon footprint, this house hopes to serve as a model for home construction of the future.

Read a full list of The Spirit Residence’s sustainable elements after the jump!

  • Passive solar orientation with seasonal shading with concrete floors and chimney mass placed for maximum heat absorption, allowing passive nighttime heating

  • Solar thermal heating via an in-floor radiant system with geothermal back-up

  • Geothermal cooling augmented with night cooling

  • High-efficiency Energy Recovery Ventilation for fresh air

  • Solar thermal domestic hot water system with on-demand propane fired back-up

  • 6kw Solar Photovoltaic array for electricity with battery storage

  • FSC certified timber frame, framing lumber and cabinetry

  • High fly ash content concrete floors on three levels

  • High-efficiency windows customized to solar orientation

  • High-reflective roofing system to deflect heat gain in summer

  • Ultra efficient plumbing fixtures for reduced consumption

  • Sealed fireplace to reduce heat loss, including two wood burning stoves for back up heat and two fireplaces for beauty and joy

  • Energy Star appliances and lighting

  • Reduced construction waste by using prefabricated structure and panels, and by ordering all framing lumber precut to needed dimensions

  • Natural ventilation strategies include home orientation to prevailing winds and operable windows