I’m told this is the first net-zero energy home in Connecticut. Yes, this LEED Platinum project in Killingworth produces more energy than it uses. It does that with a design to minimize energy consumption, solar panels, and a geothermal HVAC system – no energy for this home comes from fossil fuel-based sources. It has no boiler or furnace.

The NZE home was designed by Whitney Huber with energy engineer Consulting Engineering Services, Inc. (CES) for owners Mary O’Neill Keithan and George Keithan.

With 3,600 square feet, the design and construction had to done right. It was oriented to maximize solar gain, and precut framing was used to minimize waste. All joints, plates, and connections were sealed to control infiltration.

Walls were placed with advanced framing techniques, 10″ thick double offset studs, above grade spray foam (R42), and an exterior foam board cover to minimize thermal bridging. The roof has 14″ of spray foam and 2″ of XPS foam board (R62).

The energy-efficient windows are a Marvin tri-pane version with a 0.25 U-value. Above some of the windows, exterior sunshades help minimize harsh solar heat gain during the middle of the day. Inside, the home is lit with LEDs and a whole-house lighting control system. You won’t find incandescent lights here.

The main house has 10 solar hot water panels from Alternate Energy Technologies that cover about 20,000 kWh per year of electricity, according to CES. A 940 gallon, insulated water storage tank in the basement holds hot water that’s harvested throughout the day. The barn is covered with 65 photovoltaic panels from Schüco.

Excess electricity is fed into the grid and there’s even some additional capacity to power an electric car sometime in the future.

This home achieved a HERS rating of -7, which, you might notice, would never show up on the recent label introduced by KB Home. That’s how high performance this home is.

And for all of the above, according to CES’s case study, the project team and owners received several awards and recognition. Indeed, for feeding renewable energy into the grid and paying back some of what was incurred in construction, as William McDonough might say, the world is “better because you’re here.”

Credits: Marvin Windows and Doors; CES (solar barn).