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Sunday, November 18 Real Estate

Easton solar home gives ‘passive’ a good name

EASTON — Being called “passive” isn’t usually interpreted as a compliment. But, in the case of the house at 28 Drewbarrie Lane, it could be.

The 4,548-square-foot Cape Cod is a passive solar home, meaning that it is designed to collect and distribute the sun’s energy in the fall and winter, and to minimize the retention of heat in the summer.

“Everything was planned so that you can heat the house with as little energy as possible,” said listing agent Lori Mezes.

The passive method of solar heating is, as you might have guessed, different from active solar heating, which uses mechanical and electrical equipment — not design elements — to aid in converting the sun’s energy to heat and electric power.

The Drewbarrie Lane home, built in 2000, is for sale, listed at $695,000. According to a lengthy statement from the current owners — who moved to Sweden 10 years ago and have been renting out the house ever since — they designed the house after studying how the sun travels over the course of a year and figuring out how the house could best channel solar energy.

One way is with radiant heat floors, which release heat when it’s cold outside, meaning residents won’t have to step onto chilly floors first thing on a winter morning. The home is also designed to minimize drafts and leaks from doors and windows, so heat stays in during the winter and, ideally, out during the summer.

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Mezes conceded that this means the house was without air conditioning during this hot summer, but it is designed so that such measures aren’t necessary.

The solar-saving design is only one interesting aspect of the contemporary, architect-designed residence. The 11-room home is designed with an open floor plan, with the living room flowing into the dining room and kitchen, only partially separated by a Swedish-style, heat-retaining fireplace.

“They liked the open space, because that makes it easier to entertain,” Mezes said.

The wife of the designer-owner was an artist and painter, so there is a large, north-facing studio upstairs.

Perhaps in contrast with its ecologically sound passive solar design, the house is also a good fit for a car enthusiast, as there is a large garage with a car lift.

The house has four bedrooms, and three and a half bathrooms. In addition to all the great stuff inside, there’s also a pool and patio outside, making it a good spot for outdoor entertaining.

But it’s the house’s unique approach to collecting and distributing energy that really sets it apart, Mezes said. Indeed, it might even turn the word “passive” from insult to highest praise.

Do you know of a house or apartment building with an interesting story? Contact acuda@ctpost.com, and the home could be featured in Habitat.

Amanda Cuda|Reporter, Sunday reporter/editor

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