UPDATED 12/14/2010: With added information about the Schaller Eco-Home and corrected specifications for the third-place home, built by BPC Green Builders.
The winning entries in the Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge, announced on Wednesday, make for an interesting trio: two homes larger than 4,500 sq. ft. and one at 2,690. The first-place winner landed a HERS index score of minus 7.
The Challenge, a design and build competition for single-family and multifamily homes, included 15 projects built in Connecticut between May 2009 and December 1, 2010. The top prize, $15,000, went to a four-bedroom project in Killingworth designed and built by Consulting Engineering Services, of Middletown, and J.W. Huber Architect, of Essex. The home includes R-20 slab floors, R-39 foundation walls, R-42 exterior walls, an R-62 vaulted ceiling, geothermal heating, an energy-recovery ventilation system, and a 13.65 kW photovoltaic system. A blower-door test showed airtightness of 0.43 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 Pascals. The conditioned area: 4,539 sq. ft., just under the 5,000-sq.-ft. contest limit.
Less extravagant, but still big performance
The second-place prize, $10,000, went to the smallest house among the top three, a 2,690-sq.-ft. three-bedroom in New Hartford whose owners, Jeremy and Karann Schaller, designed the home to include R-15 foundation slab and walls, R-25 structural-insulated-panel exterior walls, an R-42 SIP vaulted ceiling, solar hot water (with a propane-fuel backup system), and a 7.6 kW solar power system. The home’s HERS rating is 4, and it showed airtightness of 0.40 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals. The construction costs on this project, Jeremy Schaller noted in a recent post to a blog site focused on the project, came in at around $320,000, or about $120 per sq. ft. – likely nowhere near the same construction-cost universe as the first-place and third-place projects.
A five-bedroom in New Canaan, built by BPC Green Builders, of Wilton, took the $5,000 third-place prize. This 4,944-sq.-ft. project, which, like the first-place winner, barely scraped under the 5,000-sq.-ft. contest limit, also is seeking LEED for Homes Platinum certification. It is designed with an R-10 foundation slab, R-44.8 foundation walls, R-64 frame floors, R-30 exterior walls, an R-57 vaulted ceiling, a 450-sq.-ft. solar thermal system, and a 10.8 kW ground-mounted, grid-tied solar power system.
The Zero Energy Challenge is sponsored by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, Connecticut Light and Power, and the United Illuminating Company. Like Connecticut’s other major energy conservation programs, the Challenge is funded by a charge on customers’ utility bills and administered by the state’s electric and gas utilities.