A couple builds a smaller, affordable, “green” house
When I called Susan Hayes to talk to her about her new, affordable, “green” house in Williston, Vermont, one of the first things she said was, “We really wanted to respect the local vernacular…” She and her husband Ryan created what they call a “Modern Farmhouse”. The exterior was inspired by the farmhouse Ryan’s dairy-farming great grandparents’ owned, and “the inside is really sparse which is more of a Modern feel,” explains Susan. Their hybrid aesthetic is unusual for a “green” home. The fact that it’s smaller is a “green” hallmark.
Smaller and greener
I found Susan and Ryan through their blog Building Green in Vermont in which they've documented their home’s “green” evolution. “We really weren’t that enlightened when we started,” admits Susan. But thanks, in part, to a lengthy local permitting process, they had time to research and educate themselves in efficient and sustainable design. Susan discovered that “size is absolutely critical.” After estimates for an initial design proved too expensive, she and Ryan realized they would need to downsize to keep the construction of their first house on budget and “green”. They scrapped plans for a 2200 sq. ft house (not including a finished, walk-out basement) for a 1568 sq. ft house (not including a finished, walk-out basement).