Getting to Zero in Massachusetts

To create ultra-efficient residential and commercial buildings, designers and builders utilize integrated design and building techniques. They also determine which energy efficiency strategies and technologies, and what type of renewable on-site generation, will contribute to superior energy performance to meet the needs of the buildings. These elements will create a comfortable, healthy home or workplace; decrease energy costs; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- all characteristics that make ZNEB buildings desirable and rewarding.

These case studies, featuring zero and near zero net energy buildings, newly built or retrofitted, are designed to inform and inspire you to consider what's possible. Indeed, innovative designers, builders, and homeowners are transforming the way we build in Massachusetts, demonstrating much needed solutions to reduce energy waste.



Arlington House: Adding Insulation



The  pdf format of Arlington Case FINAL.pdf

Arlington, Mass.



Design: Building Sciences Corporation

Builder: Synergy Companies Construction

Other Collaborators: DOER; NSTAR Electric; Anderson Insulation



Photo by Alex Cheimets of the Mass. Super Insulation Project


Livermore Residence pdf format of Gloucester Case FINAL.pdf


Gloucester, Mass.




Design: Livermore Energy Associates; Energysmiths

Builder: John Livermore



Photo courtesy of John Livermore




Westborough, Mass. pdf format of Westborough Case FINAL.pdf



Design: Caroline Fisher; assisted by Yestermorrow Design/Build School

Builder: Jay Hartnett Construction


For many homeowners, deep energy retrofits in the current market are cost-prohibitive. However, increased incentives and financing mechanisms, rising fuel costs, and a growing demand for "green" housing, are expected to facilitate the affordability and widespread implementation of deep energy retrofits. Building experts estimate that as the market grows, material and labor costs will decrease from 25 to 50 percent. Furthermore, with existing government and utility incentives (tax credits and rebates), incremental approaches to super-insulation are accessible to many homeowners as these projects are most cost-effective when a building undergoes a major renovation such as a new roof, new siding, or window replacement.






Montague Urban Homestead pdf format of Montague FINAL.pdf


Turner Falls, Mass.



Design: Doug Stephens, Tina Clarke, and Bick Corsa

Builder: Bick Corsa

Other Collaborators: Conservation Services Group; Limbach Engineering and Design Services; Center for Ecological Technology; Western Mass Electric




Townsend Case FINAL.pdf  pdf format of Townsend Case FINAL.pdf


Townsend, Mass.



Builder: Transformations, Inc.

Other Collaborators: Team of design and energy experts





Wisdom Way Solar Village pdf format of WisdomWay FINAL.pdf


Greenfield, Mass.



Design: Steven Winter Associates, Inc.; Austin Design

Builder: Rural Development Inc.

Other Collaborators: Joan S. Rockwell & Associates (landscaping)


Photo courtesy of RDI

For more information about the various energy efficiency specifications and other characteristics of zero net energy construction, refer to the U.S. Department of Energy's website: zero energy home design. See the Residential Energy Services Network to learn about the HERS Index (Home Energy Rating System), a standard rating for residential energy use.


This information is provided by the Department of Energy Resources.