Root River House | RootRiverHouse.com
John Gaddo and Nancy North - 510 Riverview Street, Lanesboro, MN 55949
This site sponsored by
The Root River House is 1 mile east of the Whalan bridge on state Highway 16, on the Root River side of the road. Take a look at our google map to locate the site.
This home in southeast Minnesota's Root River valley was designed with a primary focus on sustainability—from floor plan to building materials to energy use to the surrounding landscape.
Passive House Planning software guided decisions related to insulation, glazing, and structural design. The shape of the house (a story and a half with one-story “lean-to”) grew out of design program requirements.
A modified Larsen truss wall system includes interior and exterior cavities filled with Minnesota-made dense pack cellulose insulation. The floor rests on a perimeter foundation and leveled gravel base with 12" of rigid EPS insulation, vapor barrier, and two layers of subflooring beneath the finished wood floor, rather than a concrete slab. All glazing—windows and doors—are triple paned and argon filled, with thermally-broken frames and ultra-airtight seal.
Because the house was designed and constructed to minimize energy demand, mechanical systems are also minimized. Winter heat is collected passively through the glass, supplemented by an on-demand mini-split heat pump for cloudy weeks. A high-efficiency energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) system ensures constant fresh air, recovering over 90% of the exhaust air’s heat in the process.
Water is heated using a solar hot water system with roof-mounted collector and water storage tank. A roof mounted 4.8 KW photovoltaic solar array provides power. The system is grid-tied to ensure availability of power, and to contribute excess production for local use. The house operates annually on a net-zero basis.
Repurposed and local materials were used to build and finish the house wherever practically possible, including: wood floors and woodwork; counter tops; bathtub; some ceilings, hardware, and many light fixtures; interior decorative window; firring and some other structural wood; and landscaping rock and pavers.
The owners are establishing native prairie on nearly three acres adjacent to the house. Water from the garage roof is collected in a cistern for garden use, and stormwater runoff is managed using deep-rooted native plants, an infiltration basin, and a series of berms that support some food production. Fruit trees have been planted and a fenced vegetable garden with naturally self-irrigating hugelkultur beds is being installed this fall. A root cellar will be used to store produce.