Gallatin Passive House


New construction

Construction Type


Building Type

Detached single-family house



About the Project

The Gallatin Passive House was built in answer to the clients’ priorities of energy self-sufficiency and a best practices approach to sustainable new construction. Built upon NORTH RIVER’s Flexhouse design model, the project incorporates simple extruded shapes and full-span structural design to permit future modification of the internal plan over the life of the house with minimal cost. This attempt to ensure the longest utility possible over changing family stages and cultural and economic conditions is at the core of the project’s sustainable design.

Project Name: Gallatin Passive House
Certification type: PHIUS+ 2018
Location: Gallatin, NY
Builder: NORTH RIVER Design Build
Architect: NORTH RIVER Architecture & Planning
Size: 3,400 SF
Status: Complete
Year completed: 2021

The project included the restoration and repurposing of an existing 18th century Dutch barn for multi-use work and events, and linked it internally to the new, two-level residence. The residence features two sets of 24-foot lift-slide doors providing rich, textured light and easy access between open flow interior lower level spaces and the family’s surrounding garden and farm. The upper level has four bedrooms and a flexible space for homework and play by day, and guests by night, connecting with the restored barn.

The envelope is a conventional stick-frame design with 5-1/2” of dense pack cellulose cavity insulation and 4” continuous exterior insulation outside the taped Zip sheathing airtight assembly. The foundation of the Gallatin house utilizes a minimum of concrete with a frost-protected shallow foundation. Window and door glazing are generous in size, as a client-friendly design and daylighting strategy. Building overhangs and attached porches provide shading, reducing summertime cooling loads, and an important component of the flexible indoor/outdoor design for this family.

NORTH RIVER is committed to training our region’s construction workforce in better building design, and did so with the Gallatin project, engaging tradespeople in their first Passive House building experience. In addition to this technical on-the-job training, local artisans performed all of the custom steel, stone, and woodworking projects within the house, and local permaculture design crews installed the gardens and orchards that surround the house and barn.