John Witt designs and builds a house located off the grid.
In Pennsylvania, there is a new house—made largely from organic and reclaimed materials. When the owners sought out John Witt and his team to design them a house off the grid, they knew exactly what they wanted. And they knew that Witt Construction of Saratoga Springs was the company for the job. As well as designing the structure, the homeowners wanted the company to build it as well.
Despite the distance, the project proceeded smoothly and seamlessly. A dedicated on-site project manager saw to every little detail, and John Witt visited on a regular basis to make changes or add input to the original architectural design.
Because the goal of the owners was to create a home as green as possible, all materials were carefully selected and reviewed prior to order, delivery, and installation. Witt was ideal for this job and has been recently noted by EnergyStar as a primary builder of houses that meet and usually exceed EnergyStar standards.
Of course, this is not your customary house. In fact, green as it is, it is also grand at 13,000 square feet, with customary John Witt design touches. Local materials were a given, including hardwoods and stone procured from the 300-acre site. Flooring tiles are made from the stone as well. Tongue oil was used on the wood floors and all finishes are low VOC. Windows are handmade, and on the exterior, cedar shakes and clapboard complement the stone exterior.
Because the house is off the grid, generating power in a self-sufficient way is paramount. Geothermal is used for heating and cooling. Solar generates energy on the south side. A small hydrostation, developed by damning a small nearby stream, will generate electricity.
The tour de force? The house is insulated by wool, shorn from 2,600 sheep.
80 percent to 90 percent of Witt Construction homes are built green.