There is simply nothing like this unique and luxurious earthship farm-stead home anywhere on the East Coast—it is a leading-edge lifestyle in and of itself. Taken together with the 103 acres, the guest yurt, the well-cared for pastures, and the quality farm-support structures, it represents tremendous vineyard potential. The acreage, elevations and contours would also support a wine-grape vineyard and the utility/shop area could be easily adapted to a small winery operation.
The house is, essentially, a net-zero-energy home. It uses 90% less energy for heating/cooling than a typical house of similar size and has been built to be tough, easy to maintain, comfortable, and an extremely cost effective house to live in.
Household hot water is supplied via rooftop solar panels with electric-resistance heating as a backup. A 12-kw photovoltaic array mounted on the barn roof supplies all the power the farm needs, making the house fully energy positive. The house operates like a miniature power plant with 100% clean energy production.
Local, healthy and sustainable materials were utilized throughout the construction of the house and stringent limitations were placed on the use of formaldehydes and VOCs. Wherever possible, natural and organic materials and finishes were used. All of the flooring is local white oak, the upscale custom cabinetry is Virginia black walnut, and American Clay Paint was used throughout for the walls and ceilings.
While a copper-colored metal standing seam roof was utilized for the great room/dining room portion of the home, the remainder of the roof structure consists of Lite-Deck steel reinforced concrete panels as a base, with a poured concrete cap that is 8 to 10 inches thick. The concrete is waterproofed with a fluid-applied membrane that is insulated with 4 inches of termite-treated EPS rigid insulation, and finished off with 18 inches of earth to form a grassy sod roof.
The roof membrane is protected by an embedded electric field that can be used to identify and precisely pinpoint any leaks over the lifetime of the house. The roof should last for 50 years or more in part because the steel reinforced concrete is thermally stable and not subject to freeze-thaw cycles.
The property is amply supplied by well water and all pumps and fixtures were carefully evaluated and chosen to ensure that water usage would not over-tax the energy systems. In addition, the landscape design carefully considered water use as well and includes a large cistern that captures, stores, and reuses all water from the roof.
Complementing this unique and truly “one-of-a-kind” home is a separate, quality-built, heated and cooled yurt structure with an outdoor deck and free-standing wood stove. The yurt is 30 feet in diameter, with about 705 square feet of finished space which includes a fully outfitted kitchen, living space, sleeping space and a bathroom with shower. Guests will love overnighting in the yurt, and the views from the yurt’s deck are simply magnificent.
There is a large, modern, heated, and quality built shop/utility building with a mechanic’s pit, to support farming activities. Attached to the shop is a food preparation area and cold storage with all surfaces and equipment up to USDA/FDA standards. Additionally, the farm has a very large, nearly new steel-beamed shed barn structure with a concrete floor and flexible pen arrangements.
The owners have taken much pride in the stewardship of the land, and have done extensive clean-up work related to remnants of the predecessor farm, such as removing all the dilapidated barbed wire fencing and replacing it with new high quality, high-tensile wire fencing. In the process they divided the pasture land into four, 8-acre parcels to facilitate rotational grazing. Each parcel was equipped with a watering system and care was taken to include natural shade in each field for the welfare of the livestock.
Additionally, the owners have undertaken over several years, a program of pasture management designed to eliminate the Kentucky 31 Fescue grass from the farm and replace it with grasses which are friendlier to livestock.
As part of their overall stewardship, the owners have also taken care to protect the two beautiful streams that run through the property by fencing off and planting the stream banks. They also replaced an old entry road bridge with an entirely new structure which includes concrete abutments and steel supports for the bridge decking.
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P. Tyler Williams
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