“If It’s Not Beautiful, It’s Not Sustainable.” - Lance Hosey
Architect/Builder Sylvain Côté’s mantra is evident in the impressive “Beach House” renovation his design/build firm completed in 2014. “I’m a firm believer in making design attractive because if you don’t, someone will replace it. And that is as wasteful as it gets,” Côté said.
The Beach House is Energy Star Certified, with a HERS rating of 30 and LEED Platinum Certification rating of 90. Côté’s, who practice building science, is the current owner of the award-winning firm Absolute Green Homes, serving Westchester County, located just North of New York City.
The 1932 home overlooks Truesdale Lake in South Salem; once a popular gathering public building, the structure had fallen into disrepair. After significant gutting and rebuilding using new and reclaimed materials, The Beach House is now fully restored and retrofitted for maximum comfort with a minimal carbon footprint. Noteworthy is the fact that, not only the home was not expanded, but the living space was actually reduced from 1,840 to 1,780 square feet.
Several innovative design ideas enable passive heating and cooling. Some of the mechanical features that contribute to the home’s energy efficiency and sustainability includes:
Air Conditioning consist of a high-velocity small duct system manufactured by Unico. The system, which has close to zero thermal loss, cools much more efficiently by removing 30 percent more humidity from the air than a traditional system. The flexible tubing snakes through wall and ceiling cavities. This “hidden” ductwork allowed architectural freedom in the design, eliminating the need for soffits that can disrupt the charm of the home. Discreet outlets quietly deliver air into each room.
Heating is provided by a radiant system from Viega and installed under the floors, reducing heating costs by an additional 30%.
Ventilation comes from an energy recovery ventilator, bringing in constant fresh outside air, and a whole-house HEPA filtration unit maximize healthy indoor air quality, often lacking in today’s build tighter, more energy-efficient houses. Both are Fantech independent systems.
Solar: SunSlates solar BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic) roofing slates use the same PV cells as standard solar panels but combine power and roofing into one product. Because it offers better aesthetics than solar panels, SunSlates satisfies historic and zoning commission codes, not to mention the most demanding architects.
Roofing: Durable, attractive synthetic slate tile is utilized for the roof (except where solar PV slates are installed). The 50-year-warranty tile is manufactured by DaVinci Roofscapes.
Lighting Design: All lights are high efficiency LEDs and are strategically placed to highlight reclaimed beams, glass doors, fireplaces, and any other focal points.
Cabinetry: All cabinets, bathroom vanities and built-ins were fabricated on site using wood reclaimed from a 200-year-old local barn. The kitchen cabinetry were constructed with sheathing from the original roof, exterior walls and attic flooring.
Water Conservation: All appliances requiring water are the most efficient models available on the market. When it came to plumbing fixtures, Kohler stood out for their vast selections, as well as their water efficiency.
Storm Water Management: Roof rain cascades from the gutters into 4 collection barrels; excess water flows into the backyard swale. Our swale consist of low maintenance landscaping designed to absorb both roof and driveway storm waters, filtering pollutants, eliminating water runoff and ultimately improving our overall lake water quality. There are no lawns to mow, cancelling air and noise pollution as well.
Sustainability, efficiency and beauty - The Beach House is a great reflection of what smart design is all about, and a true green home that hopefully inspire for generations to come.
Builder: Sylvain Cote, Absolute Green Homes, Inc. Architect: Sylvain Cote, Absolute Green Homes, Inc. Landscape Architect: Sylvain Cote, Absolute Green Homes, Inc. Interiors: Sylvain Cote, Absolute Green Homes, Inc.
Alternative Building Systems: Rigid insulation boards is continuous and installed on both the existing exterior walls and the roof
Appliances: Refrigerator: Liebherr. Range: Capital. Dishwashers: Asko & Bosch. Washer & dryer: Whirlpool. Built-in outdoor gas grill & accessories: Twin Eagles
Building Envelope: Existing structure
Cabinetry: Custom fabricated on site from reclaimed pine & White Oak, which includes kitchen cabinetry & the floating shelving, 3 vanities, the lounge bar & the floating shelving, the mini-office area, the mudroom cabinetry, the laundry room cabinetry, 3 built-in benches, and finally several built-ins, all fabricated with reclaimed wood from both the existing home and a local barn
Caulks and Sealants: Various
Central Vac: Vacuflo, equipped with Hide-A-Hose system
Countertops: Limestone, reclaimed White Oak
Decks: (balcony): Kleer, by Tapco Group
Door/Hardware: Interior & exterior doors: Simpson. Hardware: Emtek. Shed doors: reclaimed from the existing home
Exterior Finishes: Siding: James Hardie. Millwork: Kleer
Fire Protection: Firex
Fireplace: Electric & Gas fireplaces: Napoleon. Wood burning fireplace: custom. Backyard fire table: Restoration Hardware
Flooring: Kitchen, ½ bath & hallway bath: limestone. Upper floor, incl master bath: reclaimed Doug Fir from the existing home. Main floor: reclaimed Doug Fir, 2 x10’s, ripped in half, from a NYC brownstone
Furniture: Custom, fabricated on site from reclaimed pine & White Oak, which includes a dining table, a 3-piece sofa, 3 bed platforms, all fabricated with reclaimed wood from both the existing home and a local barn. Backyard dining table, chairs & seating area by Restoration Hardware
Garage Doors: Custom, locally fabricated with new Doug Fir wood; Opener by LiftMaster
Home Controls: Lutron HomeWorks
HVAC/Ducts: AC: Unico high velocity system. Radiant heat: Viega. Boiler/hot water combination unit: HTP Versa-Hydro
Insulation: DOW rigid boards; Touch n Seal Two Component close cell spray foam
Lighting: Lutron HomeWorks, misc. LED’s fixtures
Paints and Stains: Paints, ceilings & millwork: Benjamin Moore. Paint, kitchen cabinetry & wainscoting: Modern Masters Decorative Painter's Crackle. Stain, garage doors: Cabot Australian Timber Oil. Wood countertops sealers: various water-base sealers & epoxies
Pavers: Custom concrete patio tiles, fabricated on site
Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler
Renewable Energy System: 3.3 kW PV solar system by Atlantis Energy
Roof: DPV slates: Sunslate by Atlantis Energy. Synthetic slates: DaVinci Roofscapes
Specialty Products: Natural earth plasters by American Clay
Structural: Existing structure; Steel beams over the 4 patio doors by LiteSteel
Ventilation: ERV, whole-house HEPA & all remote exhaust fans including kitchen hood liner by Fantech
Water Filtration: NA
Water Heating: Boiler/Hot Water Combination unit: HTP Versa-Hydro
Waste Management: Misc recycling facilities
Window Coverings: QMotion Shades
Windows/Skylights/Patio Doors: Windows: Andersen. Patio folding/sliding glass wall/French doors system: NanaWall