DOE Tour of Zero: Candlewood Hills Rebuild by BPC Green Builders
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BPC Green Builders built this certified U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Home overlooking Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield, Connecticut.
This 3,052-square-foot lakeside home is expected to save its homeowners nearly $3,000 a year in utility costs compared to a home built to code.
The water-saving landscaping design uses native, drought-tolerant plants that are irrigated using rainwater stored in the home’s 1,000- and 750-gallon outdoor cisterns.
Under the home’s fiber cement siding is a combination of house wrap, furring strips, and plywood sheathing that work to direct water away from the home to achieve a complete dry-by-design construction.
Certified low-/no-VOC paints and finishes help the home meet the requirements of the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS program and provide a healthier indoor environment.
High-efficiency appliances in the kitchen include an ENERGY STAR-rated dishwasher and refrigerator.
Dilution of contaminants is provided with an exhaust fan over the induction cooktop and a professionally installed balanced fresh air system that provides enhanced efficiency and comfort by exchanging heat and moisture between incoming and outgoing air.
The home’s lighting plan incorporates natural daylight and advanced solid-state lighting technology, which is operated by controls to mimic the changes in intensity and color of natural daylight.
The home’s ultra-efficient comfort equipment includes a radiant floor heating system for the first floor and an ultra-efficient heat pump for the second floor.
Sunlight pours into every room of the natural daylight home.
The double-wall thermal blanket construction and ultra-efficient triple-pane windows help maintain comfortable temperatures year-round and block outdoor noise.
All but one fixture uses advanced lighting technology.
Certified low-/no-VOC paints and finishes help maintain good indoor air quality in the tightly constructed home.
Water-saving EPA WaterSense-certified plumbing fixtures are provided in the handicapped-accessible bathrooms.
Balanced fresh air systems were installed in each of the bathrooms to pull stale air out while fresh air is brought in through a high-capture filter.
BPC Green worked with the homeowners to repurpose materials from an already-existing bungalow on the site, including cabinets, sinks, flooring, door handles and hardware, and a cast iron whirlpool bathtub.
In this natural daylight home, every room and hallway has a window or solar tube installed for access to sunlight.
Light tubes are installed in hallways and closets to bring natural daylight into areas that may or may not have windows.
Energy-saving advanced solid-state lighting technology was incorporated into the home’s complex lighting scheme designed by the homeowner, who is also a professional lighting designer. The lighting design includes 35 different lighting zones; however, all of the dimmers and switches are consolidated into a handful of controllers to reduce the number of switchplates that line the walls.
A high-efficiency propane boiler with a 40-gallon tank provides hot water for the radiant floor heat as well as domestic hot water.
On-demand hot water plumbing with a compact plumbing design saves water and energy by keeping all of the hot water uses near the boiler, located in a main floor utility room.
An ultra-efficient heat pump (9.2 HSPF/18.8 SEER) provides heating and cooling to the second floor. The heat pump’s air handler interior comfort delivery system also distributes clean air from the balanced fresh air system, which incorporates high-capture filtration technology.
Just in case the homeowners find themselves low on water during the dry summer months, they can tap into their 400-gallon water storage tank, which is filled with clean drinking water.
The double-wall thermal blanket is 9.5-inch-thick and filled with blown-in cellulose wall insulation for an ultra-efficient wall that also enhances comfort and quiet.
Because the home was built on an old existing foundation, 4 inches of rigid foam insulation was placed over the existing slab and then covered with radiant floor tubing buried in an additional 2 inches of gypcrete to form a complete enhanced comfort foundation insulation system.
The home has high-efficiency foundation insulation including 4 inches of rigid foam insulation placed between the old existing slab and the new gypcrete floor. In addition, 3 inches of rigid foam were placed along the exterior edge of the slab to prevent significant heat losses that can occur there.
Professionally installed windows are properly air-sealed and insulated to minimize drafts throughout the home.
“We don’t hear anyone’s weed wackers on weekend mornings.”
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"This will be our retirement home. Our goals were to have the tightest envelope and most energy-efficient systems for the long run. This house is also very comfortable; that is the greatest thing about it. It’s silent. We have triple glazing. We don’t hear anyone’s weed wackers on weekend mornings."
– BPC Green Builder homeowner