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1830 Carlson Farm House

October 2, 2021 - January 15, 2022

Hybrid Hybrid Event

1830 Peters – Lockrow House Renovation
Location: Clifton Park, NY
Owners: Paul & Joanne Coons
Architect: Bart Trudeau, Trudeau Architects, PLLC
Engineer: Dan Hampson, PlumbExcel Engineering
Green Consultant: Karen Totino, Green Conscience

Updating The Old To Be New Again:

Conducting an energy retrofit of our first home, a neglected 1852 Greek Revival, provided us with hands on experience and knowledge. We were looking for a new project and were alerted to a vacant historic 1830 farmhouse. The front of the home faces south and a bike path that leads to our town center is located on the north side of the property. After walking through the dilapidated building we could see the hidden value of the structure. We envisioned it powered 100% by the sun.

We set three goals for the project, to maintain the historic character, make the renovation sustainable and green and provide an energy efficient building.

We started demolition only to find substantial insect, water damage and other structural issues that greatly increased the scope of work. Our architect incorporated the newly found damage as well as other ideas from the Building Science Corporation book “Builders Guide to Cold Climates” by Lstiburek and ideas from the book “Prescriptions for a Healthy House” by Baker-Laporte, Elliott and Banta.

We built new partitions inside the existing exterior walls using offset studs, allowing us to increase the insulation, as well as provide a thermal break. The new wall cavities were filled with approximately 8” of closed cell foam. After replacing the second story roof structure (inadequate for the expected snow loads) we filled the rafter spaces with closed cell spray foam, covered the decking with a recycled rubber roof underlayment, 4 inches of Styrofoam insulation, and finally a standing seam metal roof.

The design required us to preserve the existing room layout and south facing facade of the building. We renovated the facade by reinstalling wood siding, rebuilding the porches, existing double hung windows and wooden storms. In addition, we installed magnetic interior storm windows over the existing windows to increase their energy efficiency.

Care was taken in choosing systems and products for energy reduction as well as local sourcing to reduce our construction and operating carbon footprint.

Mechanical systems include a 3 ton ground source heat pump, a heat recovery ventilator and a whole house dehumidifier. Renewable energy is provided by pole mounted 8.4 kW photovoltaic (PV) and solar hot water (SHW) systems in the rear yard. We located the PV and SHW systems separate from the structure to maintain the historic facade of the structure.

Interior work include American Clay finish over all walls, a milk based poly whey coating for all exposed wood finishes, paper stone counters and a local Amish cabinet maker crafted oak cabinets.

The project met our three goals! We received the 2011 Town of Clifton Park Historic Preservation award and Town Conservation Easement, earned LEED Platinum and NAHB Certified Green Building Emerald awards and a NYS Energy Star rating. For the first year the local utility paid us for our excess electricity. We are now using the excess carbon free energy generated to power a 2012 Nissan Leaf and a 2012 Toyota plug-in Prius to help cover our transportation carbon footprint.

Occupancy Statement:
The building, 4 Balsam Way has been continuously occupied by at least 2 persons since we moved in January 2011 to now, November 2012. For the first 6 months we had a teenager living with us while she went to school locally. In the almost two year period, with an exception of two weeks this last summer and an occasional overnight visit to our families we have lived here continuously. One occupant is retired and home most all day and second occupant is a school teacher and works 10 months per year. Person days of occupancy = 1485.

Cost of Project and Square Footage of Conditioned Space:
The building has 2134 sq. ft. of conditioned space. The house construction costs were approximately $288,000 (minus barn, driveway, landscape, design and legal fees) or approximately $135 per sq. ft. (including PV, GSHP and SHW).

Building Envelope

• Sub slab: dirt crawl spaces with two inches of Styrofoam under a plastic liner
conditioned mechanical space basement with Anvantech flooring over two inches of Styrofoam and Patton polyethylene sheets
• Slab edge: NA


• Foundation wall design:
– existing, R-40 (rater indicates R-15) 8“ of closed cell foam over plastic wall liner with offset steel studs and covered with paperless drywall
– addition, R-20 (rater indicates R-23) 8“ of sprayed closed cell foam over continuous plastic wall
• Above grade wall design:
– existing, R-56 (rater indicates-47) offset wall studs with 8“ sprayed closed cell foam
– addition, R-52 off set wall studs with 8” of closed cell foam
• Flat attic: NA

• Cathedral ceiling design:
– existing, R-72 +/- three by four rafters joined with new 8” rafters, the resulting cavity filled with closed cell foam, and then four inches of Styrofoam over plywood and recycled rubber underlayment
– addition, R-86 (rater indicates R-120 for both) new 10” rafters, the resulting cavity filled with closed cell foam, and then four inches of Styrofoam over plywood and recycled rubber underlayment

Windows and Doors
• Marvin Integrity windows on the north, east and west sides of the building with Comfortex, Comfor-Track Plus cellular shades; on the south side Magnetic One Lite storm windows by Allied Windows interior of the rebuilt antique original windows and exterior wooden storm sashes. The Marvin casement windows have a U value of .29 and SHGC of.30. The new doors are made by Thermo-Tru and are Energy star rated with a U value of 0.26 and a SHGC of 0.17

• Climate Master Tranquility TT038 Ground Source Heat Pump (Energy Star Rated) (6894 Heating degree days per designer)
• LifeBreath (200Max) Heat Recovery Ventilator (Energy Star Rated)
• Ultra-air Whole House Dehumidifier 100V(Energy Star Rated)
• Air King ESSEV 30 kitchen range hood(Energy Star Rated)
• (6) ceiling fans(Energy Star Rated)


• 19 Energy Star rated either CFL or LED light fixtures with the remaining 14 CFL equipped recessed fixtures

Renewable Energy
• Photovoltaic – (40) 210 watt Evergreen panels on (5) pole mounted racks, 7000 SMA Sunny Boy Inverter (Engineer specified a 7.4 kW system to run house and charge future electric car. The PV contractor suggested 40, 200 watt panels to equally balance arrays across 5 poles but substituted 210 W panels at the time of installation which resulted in a 8.4 kW system.)
• Solar Hot Water – Velux Model CLI-U12SKOW/L218EL, SRCC Rated SEF 3.6, 80 gallon Solar Hot water system with electric timer, interconnected with GSHP well to prevent overheating.
• Samsung Induction Range
• Samsung Energy Star (ES) dishwasher (DMT300)
• LG Energy Star refrigerator (LFC20760)
• LG Energy Star clothes washer (WM2016C)
• Simplicity Central Vacuum System
• Car charging station – Leviton Evr-Green 160
• Home electric use monitoring system – The Energy Detective (TED 5000)
• Exterior Manual Solar Clothes Dryer

• HeatLok Soy closed cell foam insulation by Demilec

Plumbing Fixtures
• All Water Sense fixtures. Water usage is approximately 33 gals per day per person.

Roof Construction
• Sprayed foam underside of new or existing deck and 4” of Styrofoam over Strong Seal Rubber underlayment. Finished with furring strips and standing seam metal roofing

Wall Construction
• 8” double offset stud wall new addition and all existing exterior walls to offset thermal bridging and increase depth of foam insulation

Wall Finish
• American Clay over existing plaster or new wall board throughout


October 2, 2021
January 15
Event Category:


Joanne Coons


Sustainable Features
Battery Storage, Composting, Electric Vehicle(s), Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Geothermal, Net zero, Passive Solar, Solar Thermal, Solar PV - Ground Mount
Other Sustainable Features:
Electric Vehicle Chargers
System Size (in kW):
11.7 kW
Solar Site Type


1830 Carlson Farm House
4 Balsam Way
Clifton Park, NY 12065 United States
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