Connecticut Passive House wins Net Zero award
A Farmington, Conn., home won the CT Zero Energy Challenge Grand Prize. The award, sponsored by Energize Connecticut, shines a spotlight on "Net Zero" homes, which produce as much energy as they use on an annual basis.
For the second consecutive year Wolfworks, a design/build company in Avon, has been named recipient of the award.
Net zero homes are not only possible but can be affordably built, said Wolfworks' designer, Jamie Wolf of Farmington.
Wolfworks won Grand Prize last year for a home designed and built in Harwinton that was the first in Connecticut to be officially certified by the International Passive House Association, based in Germany, for its level of energy efficiency. Wolf, a Certified Passive House Consultant, is the first person in Connecticut to provide this service.
"This year's winner is a bright and open Farmington home we built for Mike Randich and Lisa Spalla with single level living to accommodate life as they approach their retirement years," Wolf said.
"Our goal was to build a very energy efficient house that was easy to maintain and comfortable to live in," Randich said. "The more we learned we realized that not only was Net Zero attainable, but it also made economic sense for us."
The homeowners and Wolfworks will both be recognized at an awards ceremony this spring.
"I have followed the CT Zero Energy Challenge since its inception and it helped educate us and we may not have ended up with Wolfworks without it," Randich said. "Just being part of the competition was satisfying, but to be honored with an award makes us feel we did things the right way."
Randich said they feel fortunate to have worked with Wolfworks.
"Jamie was able to take the design work we had done to that point and produce a Passive House design that basically fixed the design issues we were experiencing," he said.
The process of building a Net Zero house is different than conventional design and construction, Wolf said, crediting his construction coordinator, Janet Downey.
"It takes knowledge, care, and real diligence to achieve these results, and when it comes to that, she's got game," he said.
Downey, a Canton resident, said that learning to build Net Zero homes has been a real education, and she can't imagine building homes any other way now.
"Once you understand the principles and what we need to pay attention to when we build, it makes total sense," Downey said. "It's not anything the subs can't do or understand, but it does require them to pay attention to details they really weren't thinking about before, especially related to insulation and air tightness."
In addition to being energy efficient, Net Zero homes are healthier, more comfortable, durable and secure, she said. They also run quietly, and the air is fresh and clean.
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