201203hsp_030 By the time Christian Valle was asked to build a certified Passive House, his Falmouth design firm had already hit a green-design milestone. The Valle Group earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification for sustainable design, the highest certification available through the U.S. Green Building Council. But creating a Passive House is a different honor: Fewer than three dozen such homes have been built in the United States.

The home is sited on a bucolic property on Bourne’s Pond in Falmouth. “The idea was to build a house that had a super-tight building envelope, but at the same time had a very minimal impact on its location, a peninsula on a salt marsh,” Valle recalls. “It needed to be efficient, but without a lot of intrusion.” Today, the two-story, 2,000-square-foot home, built in traditional wood-frame style with 17-inch-thick exterior walls, is an exceptional beauty. A large kitchen opens to a living area, creating a sense of spaciousness in the relatively small house. Each of the two floors sport reclaimed flooring and natural elements, such as stone tile in the bathrooms. 

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Mary Grauerholz

Mary Grauerholz is the communications manager of the Cape Cod Foundation and a freelance writer.

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