DOE Tour of Zero: Green Acres #28 by Greenhill Contracting
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Greenhill Contracting built this 4,208-square-foot home in New Paltz, New York, to the performance criteria of the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program.
With a compact, energy-efficient design and insulated concrete form (ICF) continuous thermal blanket walls, the four-story home provides its homeowners with quiet comfort and close to $4,000 a year in energy savings.
The roof-mounted 10.08-kW solar electric system meets most of the electricity needs of this high-efficiency home, cutting homeowners’ electric bills to less than $300 per year.
The home’s range hood fan exhausts contaminants directly outside while high-efficiency bathroom fans are exhausted through the continuously operating balanced fresh air system. This system also provides fresh filtered air through the central air handler.
The builder covered the underside of the roof deck with 11.5 inches of open‐cell spray foam plus 2.25 inches of closed‐cell spray foam, creating a continuous thermal blanket that completely air seals the attic, provides an R-69 insulation value, and minimizes the risk of ice dams.
The ultra-efficient (COP 5.7) ground source heat pump uses a central air handler with modulating condensers and a variable-speed electrically commutated motor blower to distribute conditioned air. The balanced fresh air system uses an energy recovery ventilator connected to the air handler to provide filtered fresh air to the home. A desuperheater on the heat pump provides a portion of the domestic hot water.
The draft-free construction provided by the ICF walls and spray foam-insulated foundation and attic allow the builder to achieve extremely low airtightness levels, more than 90% lower than specified in the latest energy code.
“We embarked on a building project almost immediately.”
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“One Sunday afternoon after hiking nearby we stopped by one of Anthony's building sites on Cooper Street, when Anthony appeared and introduced himself. We talked about how a net zero home would make a lot of sense for people like us who wanted to get away from the city, but didn't want … the utility costs of … a second household. We embarked on a building project almost immediately. We now have a weekend home that is exactly what we wanted, but with the added benefits of being net zero – selling energy back to the grid while we're not there.”