From great meals to great homes, it’s harvest season! With local food from farm to table it’s gratifying to know where your food comes from and that what you eat is supporting the local farm economy. We’re designing and building projects that harvest local energy. Some of these projects even produce all the energy they need from the sun that shines on them. It doesn’t get more local than that! These are “Net Zero Energy” homes. The one’s we’ve built have been awarded for this remarkable performance.
We’re excited to share a project in Farmington that goes a step further. Not only will it achieve “net zero” performance, we’re building parts of it from local wood. How local? The post and beam porch and nearly all the interior trim for this project will all come from large oak and hickory trees found in the backyard of this half acre suburban lot. One lay on the ground, one was half fallen from a storm, and one was diseased. Others were cleared to allow the sun’s energy to wash over the house. A portable saw mill was brought in to cut these trees into usable lumber. It’s a real treat to be able to make this wood a craft feature of the home.
We harvest the “local” solar energy in two ways. Larger south facing high performance windows capture more energy than they lose. Added to the outside of the house, super insulation and air tightness slow heat loss to a trickle. An 8KW solar array on the roof is then able to produce all the energy the house requires on an annual basis, including hot water, lights, and appliances. This is the first existing home where we’ve reached the net zero goal. It’s pretty impressive!
Modest adaptations to this 1500SF post-war Cape’s floor plan will provide an inviting and functional entry to an enlarged family room, a remodeled kitchen opened up to their dining room, and a screen porch with a fireplace. The enlarged south facing windows will capture energy, invite in the light, and draw in views and connection to their wooded backyard.
We’ve eliminated the chimney and oil tank and will provide comfort with small mini-split heat pumps. Constant filtered fresh air will be provided by a heat recovery ventilation system. Beyond the remarkable energy performance this will be a home of lasting beauty. It will look great, work well, and feel good to be in.
This project demonstrates how new design thinking and building techniques can transform an existing home. It proves that unprecedented comfort, health, durability, security, and net zero energy performance are redefining what it means to live in a great home. Wolfworks calls these homes “future friendly” for good reason. They respond to the challenges of climate change and energy independence with confident vision.
The Plan for this Deep Energy Retrofit