Any little thing you can do to be more sustainable is a good thing, such as placing a barrel outside to capture rainwater for watering the garden or landscaping plants. Why not put up a solar panel or install a gray water system? There are lots of little and big ways to create a passive house. One architect has devoted her entire career to this very concept.

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Stone house with a modern addition

Sarah Jefferys is the founder and principal architect of Sarah Jefferys Architecture + Interiors. She has spent decades studying sustainability in design and has also created passive homes throughout the northeast. Meanwhile, her designs are light, airy and full of windows. But Jefferys doesn’t stop at the basics. Her approach to sustainable design extends to all aspects of design.

Related: Richard Neutra: pioneer of modernism in architecture

A porch underneath the modern addition

Jefferys has designed passive homes for brand-new builds, as well as for gut renovations of existing buildings. Through her years of designing toward sustainability, Jefferys learned lots of tricks to integrate eco-friendly techniques into homes.

A bright wood kitchen

For example, she suggests extra window insulation, which reduces the energy needed to regulate the temperature inside the home through hot or cold. She also chooses energy-efficient appliances and looks for decor made from locally sourced materials.

Tall windows in the natural bedroom looking out to the woods

Further, her portfolio of projects includes the Modern Passive House Addition in Cornwall, Connecticut. The existing stone cottage is a historic building with storybook charm. Designed by Jefferys, the addition has huge windows that allow the mountain views to be enjoyed. Warm wood is featured throughout the interior spaces, while pops of color add bright, eye-catching accents.

Wood bathroom with large natural windows

In addition, she designed a whole new interior for the gut renovation in Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York. This lovely townhouse got a new cedar screen to extend over the new rear glass facade. The floors are oiled with wide planks and the cabinets are hand-crafted. Frosted glass walls, pink stone and pretty tiles create an inviting interior.

Jefferys founded her architecture firm in 2001. She has worked on commercial, residential and institutional designs throughout New England and the rest of the United States.

+ Sarah Jefferys Architecture and Interiors

Images courtesy of Morten Smidt