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Up Hill House

October 11, 2021 - January 14, 2022

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“Up Hill House was designed and built by the homeowners, Larry and Jill Burks, in southern Washington County, New York. It produced more energy than used the first year of occupancy and is on track to do so again this year. Our house is at the heart of an effort to live a more sustainable lifestyle that also includes producing more of our own milk, eggs, meat, and produce on our small family farm. It is perhaps one of the best documented net zero houses on the web at where we published our entire design and build process, as well as our experiences living in our new home. We also post all our energy, water and temperature data monthly at, a site we built specifically to share our data.

When we became engaged we decided we wanted to leave the city to build a small, sustainable home in the country. We knew we wanted good southern exposure for passive heating and PV potential, and soon found the perfect spot. Initial plans explored utilizing a Russian stove and lots of mass, but further research led us to discover super-insulated homes with high-performance windows and tight air sealing. Carter Scott’s homes in Massachusetts convinced us that net zero was the way to go. Soon thereafter we discovered and and the wisdom of Joseph Lstiburek and Martin Holladay.

We wanted a efficient, simple and modern space. Each floor is 600 sf (interior). We included a walkout basement to take advantage of the slope. The main level includes the kitchen, dining and living in one open space. A small office and pantry are located on the north side. Upstairs includes two bedrooms with walk-in closets and one full bath.
Larry did the preliminary energy calculations, then brought in DEAP Group to run the numbers in the PassivHaus spreadsheet to see where there might be room for improvement. They made a number of recommendations that were implemented in the final design.”


October 11
January 14, 2022
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Sustainable Features
Net zero
Other Sustainable Features:
Solar Site Type


Up Hill House
Cambridge, NY 12186 United States + Google Map