A Passive-House Certified Building in Westchester County, New York

Wednesday, Oct 15 2014
Posted by:
Nigel F. Maynard

Rather than pursue a run of the mill remodel, New York City-base A.M. Benzing Architects extended and updated the 1963 home to be net-zero and Passive House certified.

Located north of New York in the village of Mamaroneck, the building is a two-story wood-frame home with a masonry basement. Benzing used the footprint and first floor framing of the existing building, but it added a second floor and converted the south roof into a terrace to take advantage of the views to the harbor.

To update the energy efficiency of the building, the architects added a layer of insulation on the outside and installed vented horizontal cladding to promote drainage. Scandinavian pine triple-pane windows are soundproof, draft proof and have a high resistance to hurricanes due to laminated glass. “They operate seamlessly and allow the environment to flow from the lush exterior to the serene interior.

The home has simple yet elegant interiors. An eat-in kitchen opens up to the views and landscape and is outfitted with an induction cook top, stone countertops and a large center island. Oak trim and custom rails complete the interior.

Highly efficient and sustainable, the home also features solar panels, an electric car charger and LED lighting that all combine to create a house that’s easy to live in and easy on the wallet.


The entire retrofitted building uses the existing footprint and first floor framing of the existing building. The existing roof had to be carefully deconstructed and all asphalt shingles where recycled. 


The south facing red wood pergola is designed to provide shading during the summer and reduces heat gain, but it allows the lower angle of the winter sun to provide needed heat gain during the cold winter days.


An ERV was specified to help reduce the humidity in the summer. The ventilation system is a Zehnder comfort distribution system. All duct work is contained inside the building envelop and each bedroom and living room has a fresh air vent using a 3-in. home run duct to a manifold.


The heating and cooling system was specified as a ductless Mitsubishi mini split system.


The domestic hotwater system is a 80 gal heat pump from Stiebel Eltron.


The flat part of the roof has 28 photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 6.7 kilowatts and inverter technology from SolarEdge.




First floor plan.

Second floor plan.

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