The 2018 CT Zero Energy Challenge Grand Prize Award Winner was designed and built by Wolfworks on a remote hilltop site in Higganum. Wolfworks designer Jamie Wolf explains, “this project was an act of patient endurance as our clients faced and overcame many challenges on their journey to build a small simple home powered by the sun: some practical, some legal, some regulatory, some topographic, including their climb up the slope of affordability.”
The one bedroom home with a compact 1000SF footprint includes a 250SF loft space for a professional artist. The structure has a thick shell to maintain miserly control of the energy required to maintain comfort. It is oriented for the large south facing triple glazed windows to harvest solar energy in the heating season, while deep overhangs avoid summer overheating. These windows also feature extraordinary views of the Connecticut River valley. Heating and cooling use about as much energy as a blow dryer. Constant fresh air is provided by heat recovery ventilation. All the energy the home requires is provided by rooftop solar and can be sustained by a Tesla Powerwall backup system.
Peter Harding, the certifier for this project notes that “Wolfworks knows the ropes when it comes to building high performance, zero energy homes.” He goes on to point out that, “once you have taken control of air movement in a home, it becomes so much easier to make it comfortable.” Nick Jones from Eversource goes on to explain that “year after year we are excited to be able to showcase projects that prove again and again that building a home like this makes both financial and environmental sense.” Wolf adds,”all it takes is the awareness to recognize that when you are building a new home you have the opportunity to bake in the features that achieve this performance.”