On March 28, 2014, Energize Connecticut with its utility partners, Eversource and The United Illuminating Company, named five winners of the fourth annual Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge (ZEC), a statewide design/build competition for single and multi-family homes. This year’s competition featured 11 homes from across the state built between June 1, 2012 and December 1, 2013. From organic farms to a multi-family housing authority, this year’s challenge saw the largest number and most diverse range of participants, compared to prior challenges.
Zero Energy Challenges
Zero Energy Challenge Home
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- Building a Net Zero Energy Home
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Homeowners: Lisa Spalla and Michael Randich
Built to Passive House standards, this home features a “heavy down coat” of insulations and is designed to maximize solar gain and minimize air leakage. “I’ve followed the Zero Energy Challenge from its inception,” said winner Mike Randich. “It sparked my interest in ‘passive homes’ and allowed me to get smarter on building a home that uses little to no energy. It also helped me connect with a builder that was able to bring this idea to life for me.” Although the home did not win any specific category, its performance in all four categories was high. The home tied with the Griffiths home creating two Overall Winners for this challenge.
Homeowners: Susan and David Griffiths
Designer/Builder: Lehto Design Build
On a large, working farm, the Griffiths residence aesthetically fits the landscape yet features the high efficiency design and technology that makes it an overall high performer. “When my husband and I first thought about building an energy efficient home, I was skeptical,” said winner Susan Griffiths. “I didn’t think it would be possible to build a home that was efficient, had character, and felt comfortable. Now that I have, I wouldn’t do anything differently—it’s a beautiful home that utilizes energy-saving and renewable technologies and design features. I don’t think anyone would realize our home is net zero.” The airtight, durable home is heated with two air source heat pumps and features a heat pump water heater. The electricity the farm does need is provided by a photovoltaic system.
Designer/Builder: BPC Green Builders
Built to Passive House standards, this home is designed to maximize solar gain and features large amounts of insulation combined with high performance windows. The tight construction of this modest home allows it to be heated by a single air-source heat pump. In addition, the previous home was demolished with sustainability in mind and a number of original features were incorporated into the new home.
Designer: CK Architects Builder: J & P Building and Remodeling LLC
This New England farmhouse incorporates high efficiency building techniques and technologies with a photovoltaic system resulting in a HERS rating of -34. Built on a working organic farm, this zero net energy home makes this a truly sustainable property.
Designer/Builder: Brookside Development
The team at Brookside Development designed and built this high efficiency model home to fit into the current estate property featuring a large, stone home.