Vermont Green Home Features Contemporary Style


Reader and recent commenter Raedia just sent over details of her and her husband’s green home being built in Vermont.  They were able to secure an in-town lot and decided to design and build something that was affordable, sustainable, and stylish.  In looking at the images, I think they were able to do just that.  With a super-insulated structure and passive heating and cooling, the home uses less of the mechanical systems for temperature control. 

To further reduce the use of fossil fuel in powering the house, the owners installed a geothermal heat pump system and heat recovery ventilator (to keep the air filtered and fresh).  The contemporary home ended up with some of the following green features:

  • 2000 sf small footprint
  • R40 walls, R50 roof, R20 slab
  • Recycled denim insulation
  • Triple glazed windows
  • Deep overhangs to block direct sunlight
  • Energy Star appliances throughout
  • On-demand hot water heater
  • CFL or pin based fluorescent lighting
  • No-/low-VOC paints and finishes

Raedia and Ian’s home was design by Ian’s father and the landscaping will be done by Ian’s mother.  Between everyone in the family, they’ve sure found a way to build a cool green home. 

In-Town House

Dining Room



Thanks for sharing details of your fantastic home, Rae.  And by the way, that little dog is cool, too.

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  • Dylan

    @ “and the landscaping will be done by Ian’s mother.”

    What landscaping? Those trees look like they have been there for years and there isn’t even much grass on the site.

    While i think it can be a good thing to no have a grass yard (so you don’t have to water it), it looks like the house is built on a slope. That means you would probably want grass to keep the soil from eroding.

    That said, your house looks very nice and I commend you on choosing to build it more efficiently.

  • Rae

    Thanks for your comment! That’s why the landscaping “will be” done – we haven’t quite gotten there yet. We were very careful not to have to remove any trees while we were building, so we have some nice mature maple and ash trees around, but not much in the way of grass yet. Ian’s mother is an amazing gardener, and eventually we’ll have native plants and gardens over much of the property. But it all takes time – we only broke ground a year ago!

  • JoshS


    Beautiful project. A quick question…how did you arrive at R40 walls using the recycled denim insulation?

    Dylan, the last thing you want is grass, for erosion and other purposes. Native landscaping, mimicking the surrounding ecosystem, restoratively or even in an amplifying way (using habitat gardening and analogous principles)…is really the way to go.

  • JoshS

    I’m also interested in your decision to go to R20 for the slab. Thanks!

  • Albo


    Ah, we used closed-cell spray foam for all exterior walls and the roof, that’s why the R-value is so high. The denim insulation is between floors and around our mechanical room and was chosen for its density and sound-proofing.

    R20 slab was just for protection, keeping us as insulated as possible. Along with the mechanical room, we have two additional rooms below grade and since it’s just the slab-as-floor now it’s nice to have.

  • JoshS


    Thanks for the info. So, SIP’s walls? 2 pound closed cell or another “weight”? What R per inch?


    Thanks for the time and for thinking, heart and hard work in doing the project!!!

  • Smart Equity

    The house looks stunning and thanks for all the pictures.Your hard work shows.

  • Rae

    We didn’t use SIPs – just stick-build, with 3 inches of closed-cell foam insulation, plus extra rigid board outside. It’s about R 6-7 per inch.

    Thanks for everyone’s comments!

  • JoshS

    Great choice with the exterior rigid foam, spray foam combination!

  • Anonymous

    Your “project” is very inspiring! – I love the sliding doors- who makes them?

  • albo

    The sliders and windows are made by a Canadian company called Thermotech (, but while their products are good, I can’t recommend them.

    Both the windows and sliders have major design flaws, which involved parts breaking, and because Thermotech was a small company that became big very quickly, their service is the worst we’ve ever encountered. In fact, we’re still waiting for repairs on a number of window sills 8+ months after installation.

    Ian & Rae

  • Brenton_lumsden

    congrats looks great !

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