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This is What LEED Platinum Living Looks Like - ZeroEnergy Design Delivers a Healthy and Green Home in a Massachusetts Suburb

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Posted by: Rate It Green Team

When it comes to green building design, the sky really is the limit these days. Which also means that a green home can look as modern, as traditional, or whatever mix the client wants. We decided to highlight this ZeroEnergy Design project precisely because of how great it fit into its typical Massachusetts suburban neighborhood while also allowing the homeowners the flexibility to add some splash for themselves. You can also find ZeroEnergy Design in Rate It Green's Directory:


What makes this Wellesley, MA home so special?



The family wanted to be within walking distance of the high school and downtown area. An existing structure on the tight lot was removed to make way for the new home. 84% of the construction waste, from both the previous structure and the new home, was diverted from a landfill. ZED designed to preserve the existing mature trees on the perimeter of the property to minimize site impacts, and to maintain the character of the neighborhood as well as privacy on the site.



The street facade of the home fits in with the local New England character, while the rear has more modern elements. The house includes a roof deck, solar panels, outdoor living space, and a backyard swimming pool. Careful planning helped avoid the need to face the garage doors towards the street, a common syndrome of a narrow lot.



In this home, the everyday and formal entry areas are one and the same; the front and garage doors share the entry program of coat closets, mudroom storage with bench for removing your shoes, and a laundry room with generous closets for the children's sporting equipment. The entry area leads directly to the living space, encompassing the kitchen, dining and sitting area areas in an L-shaped open plan arrangement. The kitchen is placed at the south-west corner of the space to allow for a strong connection to the dining, sitting and outdoor living spaces.



The home is easy to clean and will provide a respite from seasonal allergies and common contaminants that are found in many indoor spaces. ZED selected easy to clean solid surface flooring throughout, provided ample space for cleaning supplies on each floor, and designed a mechanical system with ventilation that provides a constant supply of fresh outdoor air. ZED selected durable materials, finishes, cabinetry, and casework with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and no added urea formaldehyde.



The home is super insulated and air-tight, paired with high performance triple-paned windows, to ensure it is draft-free throughout the winter (even when in front of the large windows and doors). ZED designed a right-sized heating and cooling system to pair with the thermally improved building enclosure to ensure year-round comfort. The glazing on the home maximizes passive solar gains, and facilitates cross ventilation and daylighting.



This home highlights a practical solution for Massachusetts. First, the building enclosure reduces the largest energy requirement for typical houses (heating). Super-insulation, exceptional air sealing, a thermally broken wall assembly, triple pane windows, and passive solar gain combine for a sizable heating load reduction. Second, within the house only efficient systems consume energy. These include an air source heat pump for heating & cooling, a heat pump hot water heater, LED lighting, energy recovery ventilation, and high efficiency appliances. Lastly, photovoltaics provide renewable energy help offset energy consumption. The result is an 89% reduction in energy use compared to a similar brand new home built to code requirements.



During a possible winter power outage, heat loss will be very slow due to the super-insulated and airtight envelope– taking multiple days to drop to 60 degrees even with no heat source. An engineered drainage system, paired with careful the detailing of the foundation, will help to keep the finished basement dry. A generator will provide full operation of the all-electric house during a power outage.



This home is beautiful, healthy, comfortable, practical , all while respecting the planet. It's really an example of what we always want to have in mind and to aim for, even when our space and needs aren't the same. The home shows that green building has come of age, beautifully.

To learn more about this home:

About ZeroEnergy Design:

All images are borrowed from ZeroEnergy Design:



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