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Energy Consultant Recommendations

jadziedzic | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

How does one find a “good” energy consultant?  My wife and I are considering a new construction home with a builder who is very willing to work with us to achieve a house that minimizes energy usage, but doesn’t have any practical experience in going beyond code minimums.  I’d hate to play “Google roulette” and am not all that sure I know all the right questions to ask to winnow out good/bad via an interview.

We live in Nashua, NH, and the new home site is Merrimack, NH, which is approaching the northern edge of Zone 5.  We’re planning roof-mounted solar PV, and are looking to achieve near “pretty good house” R levels, with no fossil fuels, finished space in the mid-2000 square foot range.  The lot has very good southern exposure for solar PV.  We’ve not decided on a 1- or 2-story design, thinking a first-floor master suite makes sense as we’re in our mid-sixties.

We’d appreciate any guidance (or suggestions with specific individuals).

Thanks in advance!


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  1. brp_nh | | #1


    I live north of you in the White Mountains. My wife and I general contracted our own "pretty good house", we've been living in it going on 7 years now. The main contractor we used for the shell had experience building net zero and PGH type houses, which was very helpful. The build was a challenging experience, but it mostly worked out well in the end.

    I would proceed cautiously as the lack of practical experience with your willing builder is a concern. You'll definitely want to get some outside consultation and remain focused on your PGH goals, as potential pushback from contractors used to "normal" construction can eat away at your goals.

    You should look into companies that offer designs/plans and pre-fab, which can be done in conjunction with your local builder: (

    You should also reach out to RH Irving about consultation:

    I think Unity and RH Irving would be the best to start with. Since you and your builder are going into this somewhat blind, the investment of working with a company/person with PGH or net zero experience would be invaluable. Let me know if you have any questions,


  2. brp_nh | | #2

    Some other resources: (the custom company behind Unity) (I don't know if they consult, might just do their own design/build)

  3. charlie_sullivan | | #3

    All of Brian's recommendations are great. I'll add Peter Yost who is a top building science expert and is in or near Brattleboro VT.

  4. jadziedzic | | #4

    Thank you, Brian and Charlie, really appreciate the input and links. I'm admittedly concerned about being "the place where this guy learns the ropes", hence my desire to have the right people involved in the planning. I was originally hoping to go with Bob Irving or a Unity solution, but my wife *really* loves that neighborhood and the lot, and given the dearth of buildable lots in the area we're targetting I'm hoping we can achieve good results with the builder who is developing the subdivision. Thanks again!

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