Inspired by the New England Farmhouse, Self-Reliance
is a two-bedroom, solar-powered home designed for a young family of four. Environmentally-friendly
building strategies and effective use of space, provide a comfortable home for family living.
Self-Reliance’s simple design and timeless gable form make the structure familiar and
appealing. A comfortable, shared living space is fundamental in making a house, a home.
The adjacent kitchen, living, and dining areas are designed to encourage a family to make
meals, do work, and play together.
The greenhouse-wall and outdoor planters allow the family to learn about their food by growing
organic herbs and vegetables at home. The separate bedroom quarters allow individuals
to retreat into a private space. The home’s user-friendly interface allows
the whole family to learn about the house and its energy use over the course of the
year. This feature encourages wise energy consumption.
Self-Reliance provides the modern comforts
that 21st century families expect in today’s market. A family with an annual income of
about $85,000 can easily afford our home. Self-Reliance uses one third of the energy
of the average 1,000 square-foot home in the United States. Families will be happy to know
that Self-Reliance has zero annual energy bills in Vermont. Our solar hot water system
and photovoltaic array collectively save the family nearly $2000 a year in Middlebury,
VT. Our durable materials and systems are built to last, minimizing maintenance costs.
Local materials reduce the home’s embodied energy and support local businesses. Self-Reliance
was designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and protect our surrounding environment. Self-Reliance
combines tradition with technology to set a new precedent for New England family homes.