Last year Wisconsin experienced one of its roughest winters in years, but Sonya Newenhouse and her family scarcely felt the affects in their German-certified passive house. While snow covered the ground and fierce winds whipped around the trees, this 970-square-foot home stayed warm using less energy than it requires to run a hair dryer! Despite exterior temperatures that hovered at 30 degrees below zero, interior temperatures averaged between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit - an extraordinary feat made possible by air-tight insulation, triple-paned windows and doors, and strategic passive design. Approximately 80 to 90 percent more efficient than the standard home, NewenHouses are exceptionally well-designed, and by the end of next year, they will most likely be available in three different sizes - all below 1,000 square feet. Inhabitat spent the night in Viroqua, where we enjoyed a nice warm shower despite a gray cloudy day and homemade scones filled with fresh raspberries from the organic garden. Hit the jump for more information about the many facets of this home's superior performance, and flip through our gallery of images for a virtual tour.
Large windows bring copious amounts of natural light indoors
A view into the kitchen and living area from the stairs
The master bedroom is rather small, but comes with a large walk-in closet
The guest bedroom
Sonya's son's bedroom
The beautiful tiles in the main bathroom were sourced locally and made with recycled materials
Sonya buzzes around her kitchen, which is also remarkably well-lit
Yes, that's a swing in the kitchen - so much fun and relaxing!
No energy escapes this ultra-efficient home!
Looking from the kitchen out to the street
Each NewenHouse will come with an edible landscape plan
The main entryway
The side of the home
We arrived at sunset, when the house was lit up like a lantern
The NewenHouse offers all kinds of innovative storage solutions.
The home is very transparent - eventually Sonya will add some elderberry trees that will offer privacy without interfering with solar gain
Notice the stuga has plenty of windows too!
A wood-fired stove heats up the stuga
The stuga offers a separate storage area that doesn't have to be heated all the time
In addition to its energy efficient fixtures, this home is a haven for those who are nervous about electromagnetic fields
The interior design is largely influenced by Sonya's Dutch & Finnish heritage
Sonya is also an excellent cook!