IDSR, Residential

Passive House, Mount Tobias Rd





Catskills, NY, USA


2 bedroom / 2 bath / 2 loft passive style house with cellar and detached workshop.


185 m / 2000 sf


Completed 2018


Maria Ibañez, Todd Rouhe

General Contractor

IDSR architecture and Antonio Ibañez

Steel Contractor

Benson Steel

Panel fabrication

Foard Panels


Dan Dwyer Construction


IDSR architecture

Landscape Design

Karin Ursula Landscapes


Bertrand Cavalier, Amy Barkow, Eric Petschek


Located in the Catskill Mountains on the watershed for New York City’s water supply system, this home is an experiment in sustainable building. The site strategy was to preserve as many trees as possible on the site while elevating the house above the hillside to allow water to flow undisturbed towards the tributaries of the Esopus Creek corridor. Based on a traditional longhouse typology, organized around the main central shared space, the bedrooms and bathrooms are situated on either side of the main space with open lofts above each bedroom.

Constructed to passive house standards, the envelope of the house was assembled from prefabricated structural insulated panels (SIPs). The house is air-tight, with triple-insulated windows and double-insulated sliding glass doors that open onto exterior decks that run the full length of the house. The walls are clad in Siberian Larch siding inside and out. The entire floor of the house is covered in quarry tile over radiant floor heating. The radiant heating system uses an air-to-water heat pump technology that runs on minimal power. The project is all electric (there is no gas on the property). An array of 24 ground-mounted solar panels is installed adjacent to the septic field and the remaining areas of the natural landscape that were disturbed during construction have been replanted with native species like mountain mint, hay-scented fern, and bristle-leaf sedge.