Vodka and Sunshine Can Keep You Warm
It is not the prettiest house to ever grace the pages of the New York Times home section, but perhaps that is why it is so interesting, it is such a switch from the usual swish. Larry Weingarten designed it to be cheap to run and maintenance free: "Didn't Thoreau question whether the man owned the lawn mower or the mower owned the man?" Mr. Weingarten said on a late-spring afternoon, paraphrasing slightly.
Anyone can do the simple things (cladding is Hardishake, decking is Trex, handrails are galvanized pipe, size is a modest 1800 square feet) but it also has photovoltaics for lights and the computer, and a gravity fed solar hot water radiant heating system with a thousand gallon tank in the basement. If you get thirsty, he uses vodka as the antifreeze because it is more efficient and non-toxic. (compared to industrial antifreeze anyways.)
What a pleasure to see such a modest and affordable off-grid home in the ::New York Times