Net Zero Prairie Retreat


On this beautiful wooded site with a restored prairie, the owner sought a cozy refuge with a minimal carbon footprint. This LEED Gold house was carefully sited in the midst of a restored prairie to visually connect to the pond below and trees above, with screened porches at the upper two levels. The guesthouse is for frequent family and friend visitors, but by keeping it separate, it can be run at low-power mode, while allowing the main house to be the intimate domain of the owner. High insulation levels, triple-glazed windows, energy recovery ventilation, and airtight construction keep space conditioning demands low; a heat pump water heater, condensation dryer, induction cooktop, and LED lighting allow the annual energy to be offset with a solar PV array.



General Contractor
Mike Von Behren Builder, Inc.


Structural Engineer
Goodfriend Magruder Structure


Third-party Testing and Verification
Eco Achievers


Hausman Photography


Energy Use
2019 Actual EUI = 3.5


Fine Homebuilding, Feb/Mar 2021,
“High Design at Home in Nature”