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And the ‘Zero Energy Challenge’ Winner Is …

A home built in Montague, Massachusetts, takes the honors in a utility-sponsored competition that challenged five builders to produce energy-efficient market-rate and affordable homes

Posted on Jul 1 2009 by Richard Defendorf

An energy-efficiency pilot program called Zero Energy Challenge, in which five Massachusetts builders competed to construct ultra-efficient market-rate and affordable homes, this week announced the Challenge winner.

Bick Corsa Construction took the $25,000 top prize for a 1,152-sq.-ft. three-bedroom home the company completed last year in Montague for about $200,000. Occupied since December by its owners, Tina Stephens and Doug Clarke, the home has so far produced more electricity than it has used.

The contest was sponsored by the state’s investor-owned electric utilities – National Grid, NSTAR, Unitil, and Western Mass Electric Company. A ceremony held on Monday at the Massachusetts State House featured distribution of a total of $50,000 in prize money (the second-place prize was $15,000, the third-place award $10,000) and a talk by Secretary Ian Bowles of the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Contest competitors
Second place went to builder R. Carter Scott, of Transformations Inc., who worked with a price cap of $195,000 to construct a 1,232-sq.-ft. three-bedroom affordable home in Townsend that includes a well-insulated shell – R42 walls, R64 ceilings, and triple-pane windows – and a 5.7 kW PV system. The house earned a HERS verification rating of –2.30.

Anne Perkins of Rural Development took third place for construction of a 1,392-sq.-ft. three-bedroom affordable attached home in Greenfield with a HERS rating of 18.7. The two-story building includes 3.42 kW PV system and solar thermal hot water.

Fourth place went to engineer Mark Sevier for a 2,960-sq.-ft. market-rate three-bedroom in Sudbury that combines passive solar design with PV and solar hot water systems. The building’s HERS verification came in at 14.86.

In fifth place was the nonprofit charity Bread & Roses Housing, whose 2,080-sq.-ft. affordable attached three-bedroom home in Lawrence is the first the organization has built to far surpass the Energy Star standard (a HERS maximum of 85) it has used for previous projects. Its contest home earned a HERS rating of 43.70.


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  1. ICF International

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