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Did you miss it? We all learned a lot at the Net Zero Open House
Submitted by

RandichExt9.18.14

This past weekend about sixty people came out in the rain to see, touch, and feel how different a future friendly home is from the homes most of us live in. The grand prize winner’s of the 2013 CT Zero Energy Challenge opened their doors, led tours, and shared in our presentation of what makes these homes so inviting AND so different from the homes of the past.

Here is a summary of what both of us learned from each other over the course of this stimulating event. Let’s start with what our audience learned and experienced:

THE WORLD AS IT IS

  • The homes that most of us live in were designed for curb appeal and organized according to the ways people lived when they were built. How we live today is often at odds with these floor plans.
  • They paid little attention to the energy they relied on and as a consequence were cavalier about energy performance. It was never a factor in their design.
  • This resulted in homes that were drafty and unpredictably comfortable. Temperatures varied from room to room and fresh air was uncontrolled and too dry, too humid, or too stuffy to feel good. They fall short in providing comfort and health.
  • The energy our homes rely on are a load we are committed to carrying on and on, year after year. The ways in which we measure our use offer us little control. We set the thermostat and pay the bill. They commit us to escalating costs.
  • The energy our homes rely on are doing damage to our environment and compromising our climate. Their dependance on large quotients of energy lock in a destructive pattern.
  • These are the experiences that provoked the owner of this home to search for something better, and how he found Wolfworks.

THE WORLD AS IT COULD BE

  • We have learned a new method of building that is fundamentally different than how we designed and built the homes of the past.
  • By orienting a building toward the “free energy” we receive from the sun, building a shell that retains heat like a thermos, capturing free energy thru windows that preserve more energy than they lose, creating a stable interior temperature, and making the building air tight but providing balanced ventilation that sustains health, we can meet our heating and cooling requirements with the equivalent of a couple blow dryers.
  • By reducing our other energy uses for lighting, appliances, household equipment, and hot water production we can fully satisfy all these needs with a rooftop solar array that provides all the energy we require on an annual basis. This is the definition of “net zero.”
  • The owner of this home explained how the experience of living in this home confirms the qualities of comfort, health, durability, safety, and security. They are outperforming the predicted energy production of their PV system and will be able to fully power their home, and have enough left over to power an electric vehicle. Pretty impressive.
  • This home is not only remarkable in the way it performs, it is delightful to live in. Folks who toured the home were impressed with the design and the craft. It is built with practical function and lasting beauty, not just remarkable energy performance. It’s not just “net zero,” it’s “net better!”

WHAT WE LEARNED

  • As we toured the house after sharing the story of its creation everyone said in one way or another, “there is nothing like being able to see and feel the space, and how it all fits together.” It is beautifully crafted and it shows.
  • Everybody is pretty amazed at how small the heating and cooling system is (one duct on each floor) and how even the temperature is.
  • I think they were even more interested in the “lungs” of the home. The heat recovery ventilation system provides constant filtered fresh air without exhausting precious heat. We were all silent for a moment and could hardly hear it running.
  • Over and over we heard this, “Why isn’t every home being built like this?” The answers to this question range from “the land of steady habits” and reluctance to change to the way in which realtors and banks have not produced a method to establish the “value” these homes represent. That is changing, gradually but inevitably.
  • In talking to folks who would like to create a home like this or transform the one they live in I realized that one of the most important things we help people do is discover a path to follow and help them keep moving along it. “A journey begins with the decision to act,” and we often meet people at their “action impasse.” Sound familiar?

 

For those who missed this event, download the handout about future friendly homes and the data about this remarkable home.

Discover What's Next Download

Download the Open House Handout

NEXT UP:

We are about to set a date for our next Open Wall Open House. We are really excited about this Deep Energy Retrofit of a post war Cape in Farmington that will – wait for it… be a NET ZERO home. That’s pretty cool!

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THE PLAN FOR THIS DEEP ENERGY RETROFIT

Open House for Farmington Net Zero Winner
Open House for Farmington Net Zero Winner

On Saturday October 4 from 11-3 you’re invited
to visit EnergizeCT’s 2013 CT Zero Energy Challenge Grand Prize Winner right here in Farmington.
Get directions at the end of this post.
What’s it like to live in …

Beautifully Done: The sun shines on another Net Zero Winner!
Beautifully Done: The sun shines on another Net Zero Winner!

This Farmington home produces more energy than it uses on an annual basis. Pretty remarkable, right? This “net zero” performance deserves recognition; that’s why energizeCT created its annual CT Zero Energy Challenge. And that’s …

Net Zero: The new goal posts
Net Zero: The new goal posts

This is a story about where we live and the energy we use to live there and the tantalizing prospect of actually producing all the energy we need on an annual basis – its a …

Saving Energy with a Thick Skin
Saving Energy with a Thick Skin

We’re just closing up the building “envelope” on a Passive House project in Farmington. This is always an important milestone in the project because we get to test how effectively our air sealing strategy …

Passive House Winner Meets the Challenges
Passive House Winner Meets the Challenges

CT’s First Certified Passive House wins the 2012 CT Zero Energy Challenge

The Passive House we designed and built in Harwinton this year has been recognized for meeting two significant challenges. It is the first house …

Designing and Building the Harwinton Passive House – Part One
Designing and Building the Harwinton Passive House – Part One

Paul and Diane Honig and their family moved into their new Passive House a couple weeks ago and are marveling at the indoor comfort as winter approaches. This is what it’s all about for us, creating a home that looks great, works well, and feels good to be in.

Building a Future Friendly Home

We are building a Passive House in Harwinton, CT. Over the course of its construction we are inviting people to visit and learn about the ways in which the remarkable comfort, health, durability, and efficiency of this home are technically achieved. This is a special chance to see how it’s done. Come inside and take a look around. Experience the difference.

Building a Future Friendly Home
Building a Future Friendly Home

We’re building a new home in the Harwinton hills. When we say we need to build future friendly homes, this is what we mean.

Design + Construction = Value
Design + Construction = Value

We have been managing construction projects for decades and have developed a methodical system of management and communication designed to realize all the value of the design/build process. To put it simply, design is aligned with construction to assure value.

Oh, Behave!
Oh, Behave!

We can engineer a building to use only as much energy as it produces. That’s pretty great isn’t it! We can also fill our pantries with healthy food, keep a bike outside our door to …