Searl Lamaster Howe Architects renovated the Harbert Cottage, a contemporary cabin located in Harbert, Michigan.
Instead of tearing down the old structure and building anew, the architects decided to preserve as much of the existing building as they could in order to conserve resources. The modest size of the original home was perfect for maintaining materials and energy consumption.
To achieve an optimal energy performance, the architects installed insulated roof panels and geothermal wells that connect to a conditioning system. The roof, in particular, boasts a large amount of recycled materials and offers solar reflection while keeping its thermal radiation low. Instead of gutters, the home's gables allow excess water to drift into a surrounding gravel moat.