2589 Lalor Road Oregon, WI

© 2015 by One Seed Farm.

A Net Zero-Ready Farmhouse

It is more efficient to live where we farm so we built a farmhouse and moved here April, 2016. The old farmhouse - razed before we bought the land - was uninhabitable, unless you were a possum, raccoon or feral cat. A new house offered an opportunity to build better.

It’s not a typical house. It's not a tiny house.  It's not an off-grid house.  It does not have geothermal (often the first question we are asked.)  But it has been designed using passive solar principles with the ultimate goal of producing as much energy as we consume.  In new-age-speak that’s called Net Zero. Conventional construction standards are based on the building code, which is based on adequacy. It’s probably an oversimplification, but it seems the industry goal is to create structures that look nice and pass inspection, as cheaply as possible. And cheaper means upfront costs with little thought given to ongoing energy expenditures. Even the various green certifications, which are better than code, don’t come close to applying the best available science. 


Could we have built a smaller house?  Certainly. But we like to share our home and our harvest.  We envision a steady stream of family, friends and curious onlookers sitting around our long farm table for dinners or Friday night gatherings on the front porch. We might even have farm hands or interns or a parent living with us someday.


Could we have built a less expensive house?  For sure.  As is often the case with a new home, there were anxious moments when the original pricing came in, but we have cut costs where possible while staying committed to attaining Net Zero.  We also didn’t want to over simplify or under-insulate the G-Wing, which includes a two-car Garage, below-grade General-purpose room (including tornado shelter/root cellar/rainwater cachement cisterns) and a Greenhouse.  “G”-wing -- Get it?!  Kelly’s idea. She can be clever sometimes.

It's a REALLY good house.


Location: Madison, WI
Bedrooms: 3, + future bunk room
Bathrooms: 3
Main House sqf: 2650

G-Wing (Mud Room & General Purpose below grade): 615 sqf

G-Wing (Greenhouse): 465 sqf

Architect: Design Coalition, Inc.

Designer: Paul Schulman Design

Builder: Aldo Partners



Wall system: 12" Double stud, 2x6 exterior, 2x4 interior

Wall insulation: 12" blown-in dense pack cellulose (R-45)

Wall sheathing and air barrier: Intello Plus with continuous taping

Siding: HardiePlank fiber-cement 4 in. lap siding

Windows & Doors: 

  • H Windows, triple-paned, argon-filled, high solar gain

  • Nordic Doors by H Windows

Ceiling insulation: 21 in. blown-in dense pack cellulose (R-75)

Floor insulation: 6" EPS, alternate sheet direction over 1.5" limestone fines.TuTuff High density air barrier. 2x3 sleepers with 1.5" EPS insulation.  Two 1/2" layers of plywood underlayment, alterate sheet direction.

Roofing:  Standing-seam metal roof



Wall system: 2x4 staggered wall @24" o.c.

Wall insulation: Blown-in cellulose (R-26) and 3 1/2" Roxul Batt

Wall sheathing and air barrier: Certainteed membrane wrap

Siding: HardiePlank fiber-cement 4 in. lap siding

Windows & Doors: 

  • Anderson 100, double-paned, argon-filled

  • Therma-tru light fiberglass

Ceiling insulation: 18" Blown-in loose fill cellulose (R-64)



PV system:

  • Outbuilding roof-mounted, grid-tied LG modules totaling 5.5kW

  • Plan for future PV array expansion to main house roof.

Space heat and cooling:

  • Main House 1st Floor- 12,000 Btu/h Mitsubishi ductless minisplit

  • Main House 2nd Floor - 9,000 Btu/h Mitsubishi ductless minisplit

  • GWing - 12,000 Btu/h Mitsubishi ductless minisplit

Mechanical ventilation: RenewAire ERV

Domestic hot water: Bradford White Aerotherm Heat Pump, 50 gal.

Blower-door test: (Main House) TBD


Water Efficiency:

  • Rain Cachement System - 3,100 gal. cistern capacity

  • Stormwater overflow to backyard rain gardens

  • Future grey water system rough-in

  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures

Lighting:  100% LED

Finishes/Paints: No VOC