Willis Point Net Zero House

Designed by JRA Principal J. Stewart Roberts, AIA, for himself as a family vacation spot. This Net Zero residence sits on waterfront land on Westport Island in Maine. The house has four bedrooms with a large open living and dining area to allow for gatherings of family and friends.

Built on a pristine wooded waterfront site, it was important to the Architect to be as sustainable and low-impact as possible. To that end the house was designed as a super-insulated, Net Zero dwelling with R-40 Walls R-60 Roof and triple-glazed windows.

The house is built to minimize its environmental impact using state of the art construction techniques. Like cloaking the house with a down jacket, it is super-insulated with a continuous 6” to 8” layer of exterior insulation, and a continuous peel and stick air-water barrier on the outside of the frame, that extends from the footings up over the roof to create an extremely thermally efficient air-tight envelope. The thick exterior insulation is expressed on the outside with deeply inset windows in the frame of the building and walls that overhang the foundation.

Heated and cooled with an air source heat pump system,the house never draws more that 3,000 watts for heating during the coldest time of winter. Solar panels, heat pumps, a battery backup, and efficient lighting and appliances create a net zero house that is energy self-sufficient.

This project was featured in The Boston Globe in June 2023. Here is an excerpt from that article:
“Save for the walnut flooring, Roberts detailed the interior of the open living space, from the cabinetry to the wall panels, with Baltic birch plywood. As with the plywood sculptures he makes in the workshop behind the kitchen, Roberts left the edges unfinished to reveal the wood’s laminated layers. ‘Anytime I can expose an edge I do because I want people to know that it’s plywood,’ Roberts says.
The same goes for the coffee table, side tables, and dining tables that the architect designed and the cabinetmaker built on site. ‘They’re done in the spirit of early modernists who designed furniture using the same material as the house,’ he says.” If you don’t have a subscription to the Boston Globe, you can download PDF to read the article.

It was also featured in the June, 2024 edition of in Maine Home+Design magazine.