Chapel Hill-based firm Arielle Condoret Schechter is known for its commitment to building sustainable homes that don’t sacrifice elegance or comfort. The company’s latest work includes the spacious Haw River House, which was built with several efficient features to create a net-zero energy home that is seamlessly linked with its natural surroundings.

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metal water cistern next to tan home on a hill

Tucked into a pristine woodland overlooking the Haw River, which runs through central North Carolina, the beautiful Haw River House sits in harmony with the landscape. Using this natural setting as inspiration, the 2,600-square-foot house is outfitted with several energy-efficient features that make it completely energy-neutral.

Related: Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

wooden home with angled roofs

outdoor stairwell leading up to second floor of wood home

According to the architects, the thick forest of towering deciduous and evergreen trees that soar out of the rocky landscape inspired the unique volume of the home. To mimic the dreamy, natural silhouettes, the home has a butterfly roof and various outdoor spaces. First, a cantilevered screen porch that nearly stretches the length of the home allows the family to enjoy a seamless connection to the outdoors. There is another deck off of the main volume and a private outdoor deck cantilevered off of the master bedroom.

white and gray kitchen with large white island

large bathroom with free-standing bathtub

To achieve its net-zero energy status, the home includes many sustainable features, such as a 13 KW solar panel system and a geothermal heating and cooling system. To maintain comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, Haw River House has an air-tight envelope and triple-glazed windows and doors, including a 20-foot-wide sliding glass door that looks out over the beautiful river rapids. The abundance of glazing provides the entire living space with optimal natural light, air circulation and, of course, views.

large covered wood porch

aerial view of solar panels covered roof of a home surrounded by trees

Despite all of that glass, the extended roof overhangs shelter the interiors from harsh sunlight. Additionally, the roof has an integral water collection system. The strategically designed gutter system leads to downspouts on each end of the home, funneling all rainwater into two 5,000-gallon above-ground cisterns. The water is then processed into clean drinking water via a triple-filtering system that includes a state-of-the-art UV method that kills 99.9% of bacteria.

+ Arielle Condoret Schechter

Photography by Tzu Chen via Arielle Condoret Schechter

aerial view of tan home next to a river