Lecture by Dennis and Alan @ House of History

Sunday August 11th: Architecture Lecture by Dennis Wedlick and Alan Barlis

2:00 pm
Vanderpoel House of History, 16 Broad St., Kinderhook, NY 12106

Wedlick and Barlis, of BarlisWedlick Architects, will speak on their new book, Classic + Modern: Signature Styles , which features a number of Columbia County homes.


About the book:
“Whether we know it or not, everyone has a signature style. In Classic & Modern: Signature Styles, award-winning architects, Alan Barlis and Dennis Wedlick, share their passion for innovative architecture and interiors through fourteen illustrated stories of homes that are grounded not only in good design practices but also express the distinctive aesthetics of those who live in them.

Classic & Modern: Signature Styles is a vibrant design survey. Each signature style story illuminates the authors’ belief that when homeowners are empowered to identify their personal sense of style—while also understanding the underpinnings of good design—they become full participants in the creation of their own one-of-a-kind homes. This is how a signature style is born.”

Saturday house tours

We visited two wildly different green building projects yesterday and discovered they have a lot in common: heat recovery ventilation, high R-value insulation, high quality windows, open plan living and fresh white paint.

10:30 a.m., Hudson: Dedication of the Columbia Passive Townhouses built by the volunteers of Columbia County Habitat for Humanity. Read more >

1:00 p.m., Copake: Tour of New York’s first Breezehouse, an eco-friendly house built on a steel frame in Blu Home’s California factory. Read more >


With Natalie Pace of Huffington Post

Huffington Post blogger Natalie Pace visited the house on Saturday, pictured above with friend Jim and architect Dennis Wedlick. Natalie blogs about clean energy. When it comes to energy use, a Passive House is the best building standard in the world. We’ll be certified as using about 90 percent less energy than a conventionally constructed equivalent (no need to import foreign oil to heat our house). The site itself is part of the energy story, too. In the mid-1970s, utility companies proposed building a nuclear power plant here, envisioning a cooling tower where this energy-efficient home now stands — on land farmed by Susan’s family at least eight generations.

Wise use of natural resources adds another green dimension because every inch of glass and insulation is calculated to contribute to the high performance of this “machine for living”, in the words of Le Corbusier. More familiar green choices may be our use of sustainably-produced wood products, zero VOC interior paint, and a recycled staircase and cabinets. We’re also buying local when possible and leaving the lower level’s concrete walls and floor unfinished.

Talking to reporters (three so far) is a new and somewhat unnerving experience. This time, listening to Dennis describe how a Passive House works made the 90 minutes fly thanks to his enthusiasm, artistry and technical know-how. It was pleasure meeting Natalie and Jim and we’re excited to see what comes of the visit via Huffington.

Natalie’s bio: Natalie Pace is the author of You Vs. Wall Street and founder and CEO of the Women’s Investment Network, LLC, at NataliePace.com. She is a repeat guest on CNBC, ABC, Fox News, Forbes.com, NPR and more.

A visit from SUNY Ulster

Students from the SUNY Ulster National Sustainable Building Advisor Certificate Program visited on Friday afternoon to see our Passive House in construction. Instructors Janus Welton and Clifford Cooper led the group. Janus heads Eco-Architecture Design Works and Clifford is a Senior Industrial Hygienist with Vertex Engineering. Dennis Wedlick and Bill Stratton spoke to the class about their experience building the first Certified Passive House in New York State (ours will be their second). “No leaks,” Dennis said, pointing to a gap around the unfinished door, soon to be foamed, taped and sealed. The airtight seal of a Passive House is one key difference between a Passive House, which is designed to drive down energy consumption for heating and cooling, and a traditional passive solar house, which aims to maximize solar energy.

Congratulations to Orca House

Usually when I tell friends we are building a Passive House, they look puzzled. “A what house?” But when I told Amy Whitman she declared, “Of COURSE you are! Why would you build anything else?” I hadn’t seen her in 15 years. During that time she had put her health supply procurement skills to good use and become a Sustainable Building Advisor. She is part of the team tied for 3rd place in the Living Aleutian Home Design Competition. Congratulations to Amy and the Orca House team! [Susan]

Interview in the Troy Record

Printed in the newspaper, and also online here >>

Five questions for July 18, 2012: Chris Gould and Susan Guthridge-Gould

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 / By Siobhan Connally, The Record

Photographer Chris Gould and writer Susan Guthridge-Gould are building a certified passive home in Columbia County. They are documenting their family’s experience at www.newhudsonvalley.com.

Q: Why this kind of home instead of another kind of energy efficient home?

A: This Passive House is going to be extremely well-built, comfortable and beautiful — and it will keep our energy bills low for the rest of our lives. The house is designed by Dennis Wedlick Architect LLC and built by Bill Stratton Building Company. We are also benefitting from building science engineering from The Levy Partnership as part of a grant from NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development
Authority through its High Performance Development Challenge.

Q: How did you find Dennis Wedlick?

A: Susan heard about Dennis Wedlick’s Hudson Passive Project through her research into green building and some time ago we attended an open house in Claverack, NY, which is about 30 minutes from where we are building. We did a lot of research into a very DIY approach and called a few architects that we admired. Dennis Wedlick and his team, including Brian Marsh, have created a striking home that conserves energy by design.

Q: Construction of a house of this nature is costly right? Why is it worth it?

A: Any new construction is costly so why not take the opportunity to build the best you can? A Passive House can recoup its costs over the long-term because it requires minimal heating and other energy expense. It relies on insulation, sunlight and an airtight exterior. Going the extra mile to build this way is worth it. For our family in
particular, there’s also the satisfaction of building an energy-efficient home
to the Passive House standard on a site where utility companies wanted to build
a nuclear power plant in the 1970s. Chris will do a lot of the interior finishing
himself to keep costs down.

Q: What were the things you considered drawbacks and how did you overcome them?

A: We had to make some choices to build this way. We are building a smaller house that is very well-designed for living. We can’t have an indoor fireplace or cook with gas and we didn’t want to pierce the airtight envelope for a dryer vent so we have a compact condensation dryer.

Q: What inspired the design of your house?

A: The Shakers were all about quality craftsmanship and simple, efficient design, so it’s a perfect style for a Passive House. Several Shaker villages are nearby. After looking at countless books and online plans, we drove past a Shaker barn and said, that’s it.

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