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.
EXISTING HOMES: DEEP ENERGY RETROFITS
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
Design: Livermore Energy Associates; Energysmiths
Builder: John Livermore
Photo courtesy of John Livermore
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.
NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION
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
Builder: Transformations, Inc.
Other Collaborators: Team of design and energy experts
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 and zero net energy commercial building projects. 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.