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Beauty and the Beach

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Jan 29, 2016 3:19:37 PM


An 83-year-old beach house gets a deep energy retrofit, but retains the grace and beauty of the original home.

THIS 1932 HOME overlooks Truesdale Lake in Westchester County, NY. Once a popular gathering place, the structure had fallen into disrepair. Incorporating new and reclaimed materials, architect and builder Sylvain Côté has fully restored The Beach House for maximum comfort with a minimal carbon footprint. Completed in 2014, The Beach House is Energy Star Certified, with a HERS rating of 30 and LEED Platinum Certification of 90.


A high-velocity, small duct system from Unico, Inc. cools efficiently by removing 30 percent more humidity from the air than a traditional system. It delivers conditioned air through insulated flexible tubing, which snakes through floor, wall and ceiling cavities. The tubing has close to zero thermal loss, and the “hidden” ductwork allowed architectural freedom in the design and eliminated the need for soffits. Small, round air outlets quietly deliver air into each room. Heating is provided by a radiant floor system from Viega, which reduced heating costs by an additional 30 percent.

A Fantech energy recovery ventilator brings in constant fresh outside air, and a whole-house HEPA filtration unit, also from Fantech, maximizes healthy indoor air quality. All systems within the home can be operated remotely, maximizing energy efficiency when the owner is away.

Durable, attractive synthetic slate tile from DaVinci Roofscapes makes up the majority of the roofing, but a building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) Sunslate System from Atlantis Energy Systems was incorporated on the south-facing roof. Because it offers better aesthetics than solar panels, the Sunslate System satisfies historic and zoning commission codes.


NAME: The Beach House at Truesdale Lake, Lewisboro, NY
BUILDER Sylvain Côté, Absolute Green Homes
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Sylvain Côté, Absolute Green Homes
Photos: Sylvain Côté

“I’m a firm believer in making design beautiful, because if you don’t, someone will replace it. And that is wasteful,” Côté says.

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    From the Judges “This is a great example of green, energy-efficient retrofit. We need more of these.”

  • Beach_House_Dining.jpg

    The public areas of the first floor include a great room with a central fireplace. The home was not expanded, but reduced from 1,840 to 1,780 square feet.

  • Beach_House_Vanities.jpg

    All vanities and cabinets were built using wood reclaimed from a 200-year-old local barn. The kitchen cabinets also utilized sheathing from The Beach House’s original roof, exterior walls and attic flooring.

  • Beach_House_Entry.jpg

    Now, all lights are LED and are strategically placed to highlight reclaimed beams, glass doors, fireplaces and other focal points. Each light uses only 3 watts of electricity.

  • Beach_House_Exterio.jpg

    Rain is directed into collection barrels for watering plants and grass; excess water flows into a landscaped swale, which filters pollutants and reduces water runoff, improving the lake’s water quality.

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