Net Zero Cottage or Vacation Home

A smart passive design is exactly where you need to start if you want a comfortable, affordable and future-friendly vacation home.

A smart passive design is exactly where you need to start if you want a comfortable, affordable and future-friendly vacation home.

Net Zero Vacation Home Plans

With summer in full swing, you might be visiting the cottages and vacation homes of friends or family. You might be at your own tired spot in the country, dreaming of something energy efficient and supremely comfortable.

We’ve said it before and it bears repeating: the quickest route to Net Zero is a passive home. A passive house is so energy efficient, it takes so little to net zero.

Net Zero makes so much sense for a vacation home, where a small footprint will be in keeping with the beautiful landscape around you. Net Zero is also a big buzzword as it’s where we’re all headed, as we continue to adapt to climate change and demands on our energy resources.

Net Zero is also the perfect companion for the off grid nature that many vacation homes demand. More and more of us appreciate having somewhere we can unplug from the rigors of modern life. Your vacation home should be this space.

Seasonal living

Any cottage or vacation home is going to take its cues from the surrounding landscape, but it’s also essential to consider how you’ll use it now and in the future:

  • Will you be welcoming friends or family?
  • Will it be used like a time share or be rented out when you’re not there?
  • Do you need to work when you’re there?
  • Will it be used year round or only at certain times?
  • Will you plan to retire to this home in the future?
  • Do you have any special requirements for it?

Borrowing the best ideas from the spaces of others is a great way to brainstorm, and you can also take inspiration from some of our existing house plans!

This dwelling was built as a cottage by a young family in Prince Edward County, Ontario, using EkoBuilt’s Swede passive floor plan.

Vacation home floorplan

The Swede floorplan was used by a young family building their vacation home in southern Ontario’s gorgeous Prince Edward County.

This design features a narrow, barn like profile. The ground floor makes clever use of the relatively narrow front to back run, with the primary bedroom situated at the rear of the plan, behind the main bathroom, and the open plan kitchen, dining, and living space taking up the front two-thirds of the plan.

A loft space above the ground floor bedroom and bath offers additional space that can be used as another sleeping area, an exercise or away space, a studio, or whatever makes sense for how you live.

Remember – with no furnace and only small HVAC components that will handle the minimal heating, cooling, and air circulation in your home, the mechanical room is so tiny it’s tucked into the main run of rooms, opposite the bathroom.

The roof is the perfect spot for a just big enough solar installation.

The floorplan of The Swede, with one bedroom and a small bathroom with shower.

A large deck runs along the side of this cozy cottage dwelling. Large doors and windows let in light and connect the main living space and bedroom to the outdoors.

Big or small, we’ve got your plan

Maybe your second home or cottage will always be welcoming a crowd. In that case, a plan like our perennial favourite The Hummingbird, or a variation on it is just what you need.

This four-bedroom bungalow has been riffed on by clients across North America who love its natural orientation to what’s outside. We show it here with lots of deck chairs on a deck that runs its length, as well as a screened in porch. This home is a natural for seamless indoor / outdoor living.

With a walkout basement, this home could take on yet more occupants and create two outdoor living spaces. (Our Shooting Star with walkout basement is another great possibility here – be sure to check it out.)

An exterior render of the Hummingbird floorplan showing the screened in porch at the front corner of the home.
The Hummingbird floorplan is open to endless variations. See more.

Just enough space

Perhaps something more like this two-bedroom chalet is what you have in mind.

Our client is currently using this as a cottage or chalet until they are ready to retire, when it will become their full-time residence.

This is a great example of a country dwelling built using one of our smallest secondary dwelling plans. Tiny or modest living gets a lot of attention from our coach house line of plans.

The one bedroom plus den floor plan (including comfortable open plan kitchen and living space, bathroom, and utility room) is innately flexible. It provides just enough space to accommodate occasional guests, or for two people to live together.

Again – all of this is meant for inspiration. If you don’t find the right plan here, let’s talk and create a plan that’s just right for you!

This flipped version of our Nepean Point plan was built in Pakenham, Ontario.

Everything you need

We’ve got all that you need to plan your perfect energy efficient cottage or vacation home.

With 50+ existing floorplans, the ability to handle a custom design, our passive house kit (which we ship across North America), support for your local builder, and all the know-how and experience to take your new spot off-grid, we’re here for you!

If you’re in or visiting the Ottawa, Canada region, you can plan to visit our model home, which is completely net zero. (We also offer a virtual tour.)

If you’re in planning mode, be sure to check out our “Build Your Home” webinar – the next is coming up in August!

Ready to plan your dream getaway? Give us a shout!

Exterior render of the tiny house plan, The Calendula.
The Calendula is a sweet one bedroom tiny house plan that would make a larger bunkie or secondary dwelling on a vacation plot.

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