Efficiency Vermont, a nonprofit agency that provides financial incentives for energy-efficiency improvements by homeowners, builders, and businesses in Vermont, has developed a certification program for new homes called the High Performance Certification. The aim of the certification program is to encourage the construction of new homes that are “ready … for net-zero energy use, should you decide to add on-site renewable energy in the future.” Builders who enroll in the program are eligible for cash incentives of up to $2,000 per home.
Here is Efficiency Vermont’s list of minimum specifications for homes seeking their High Performance Certification:
For cold-climate builders, hitting these targets should result in a comfortable house with very low energy bills.
At least one Vermont architect has jumped on the bandwagon
One architect who has eagerly embraced the specifications of Efficiency Vermont’s High Performance Certification program is Jean Terwilliger from Vermont Integrated Architecture in Middlebury, Vermont. According to Terwilliger, “Peter Schneider, who helped develop the specifications, said that if you stick to to this envelope package, it’s safe to just use minisplits for heating without a backup heating system.”
At the recent Better Buildings by Design conference in Burlington, Terwilliger gave a detail-packed presentation on some of her recent residential projects. Her presentation on February 1, 2017, was called “Three High-Performance Homes, Three Approaches.” (Terwilliger will be giving a reprise of her presentation at the NESEA conference in Boston on March 9, 2017.)
Terwilliger’s co-presenters were two builders she’s worked with: Alex Carver of Northern Timbers Construction and Tom LeBoeuf of Northeast Craftsman Group. (Jared Moats, the builder of the third house in Terwilliger’s presentation, was unable to attend.)
All three homes mentioned in the title of her presentation are single-family detached homes: