ZED's Net Positive Farmhouse featured in Houzz Earth Day Tour

Popular online architecture and interior design website, Houzz’s tour of seven low-carbon, energy-efficient homes in celebration of Earth Day 2019 features ZeroEnergy Design’s Net Positive Farmhouse in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

With plenty of functional and flexible family-friendly spaces to live, work, play and entertain, a guest suite on the first floor for comfortable aging-in-place, planned rainwater catchment, high-efficiency appliances, root cellar, and edible plantings, this modern home proves that families do not have to compromise on style, space or comfort to live in a healthy, energy-efficient home.

A super-tight building envelope and a well-designed mechanical system ensure that this all-electric home uses 70% less energy than comparable code-built homes, while photovoltaic panels on the roof produce more energy than needed, making it net positive.

ZED and Thoughtforms Corporation designed and built this home in collaboration. The LEED Platinum project won a Sustainable Design Award from the Boston Society of Architects at the 8th annual BSA Design Awards Gala in January 2019. It previously won a Gold PRISM award for Best Net Zero/Passive House and Best Energy-Smart Home from Fine Homebuilding magazine.


New Case: Modern Oceanfront 'Forever Home'

ZeroEnergy Design is pleased to release a case study in exceptional green modern architecture and mechanical design: the Dartmouth Oceanfront Residence in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Nestling within a coastal New England setting, this modern home takes advantage of the site’s natural topography and stunning ocean views - providing the homeowners with the perfect home to entertain in style, showcase their love for art, and enjoy comfortable low-carbon living.

A super-tight building envelope, carefully-designed HVAC systems, and concealed exterior shades lower energy consumption and ensure year round thermal comfort, while a photovoltaic system on the roof generates almost enough energy to offset the home’s energy consumption. Covered outdoor spaces, charging ports for electric cars, and accessibility features add to this ‘forever home’ that will allow the owners to comfortably age in place.

The project won a PRISM Gold Award for Best Single Family Home at the 2018 Annual PRISM Awards Gala.


Treehugger Story on Chicago Passive House Performance During Polar Vortex

Top sustainability website, Treehugger, recently published a story on how the Ellis Passive House in Illinois, Chicago, performed flawlessly during the polar vortex event of 2019, maintaining consistent indoor temperatures of >71 F with minimal increase in kWh demand, thereby proving the inherent resilience of the Passive House standard. Mike Conners of Kenwood Construction Services, the builder on the project, had earlier published a detailed report on the resilience and efficiency exhibited by the Ellis Passive House in the face of the extreme weather conditions.

The Ellis Passive House was originally constructed in the 1890s. It underwent a thorough renovation for modern, green living with ZeroEnergy Design acting as the Certified Passive House Consultant and mechanical designer for the project. It is the first PHI Certified Passive House in Illinois and exemplifies the possibilities of passive house retrofits for older residential masonry buildings in urban settings.


Historic Multifamily Project Case Released

ZeroEnergy Design is proud to present a new case study for the firm’s mechanical design services, the Troy Historic Multifamily Project in the Central Troy Historic District of downtown Troy, NY.

While historic preservation and net zero performance might not seem like a natural fit, this project proves that it is possible to achieve high performance and energy efficiency in older masonry structures without sacrificing the architectural features.

The original Victorian-era structures consisted of two three-story walk-ups in vacant and heavily deteriorated condition. ZED’s responsibilities included specifying and designing efficient HVAC systems that would provide year-round thermal comfort along with a constant supply of fresh air, all with minimal impact on the building’s fabric and historic aesthetics.

Overall, the building achieved a 90% reduction in energy consumption compared to before the renovation.

The project was the result of collaboration between Second Arrow LLC, Neil Pelone Architecture, ZeroEnergy Design, RDH Building Science, LTRW Architecture & Preservation, Ethos Homes LLC, and Active Solar Development.



ZED is a Proud Sponsor of 2019 BuildingEnergy Boston Conference


ZeroEnergy Design is honored to be a sponsor of the 2019 BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). As the region’s premier event for professionals in the fields of high-performance building, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, the BuildingEnergy Boston conference brings together more than 1,500 attendees from dozens of professions and industries to share ideas and learn from each other. The interdisciplinary content and audience sets the BuildingEnergy Boston conference apart from other green building conferences and encourages broader discussions and a whole-systems approach to the challenges facing the built environment.


EVENT: BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Trade Show

LOCATION: The Westin Boston Waterfront,
425 Summer St, Boston, MA 02210

DATES: March 14-15, 2019

The theme for 2019 BuildingEnergy Boston is Know-How. The session line-up will focus on practical skills and immediately applicable knowledge, including ongoing innovations, recent lessons learned, and important skills. The trade show floor will showcase the products and services of over 100 industry leaders and offer attendees the chance to observe cutting-edge technology and grow their client base.

Founded in 1974, the NESEA is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment. ZED is a longtime NESEA Business Member and a BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines Member.


PassivHaus Maine Aims to Spread Awareness about Historic Retrofits


In an article published in MaineBiz last week, Naomi Beal, executive director of PassivHaus Maine, a non-profit organization that works to support the passive house industry and community in Maine, said that Passive House retrofits of historic buildings could be the new frontier.

Passive House retrofits of historic buildings present several challenges like exterior appearance, interior logistics concerning installation of ventilation and delivery systems, the complexity of insulating brick exteriors, and so on. PassivHaus Maine hopes that their winter lecture “Historical Retrofits: A Path to Passive House” will spread awareness about how historical retrofits are being completed in other cities like Philadelphia and Boston. While Passive House construction is gradually gaining traction in Maine, there hasn’t yet been a passive house retrofit of a historic building.

The conference is tonight, Feb 25, 5-6.30 p.m. at Mechanics Hall, Portland. Three experts, including ZeroEnergy Design’s John Mucciarone, will speak about their experiences in historical passive house retrofits and answer the audience’s questions. John will discuss a Victoria-era Boston rowhome that was retrofitted by ZED for modern living and energy efficiency while preserving the original architectural details.



ZED’s John Mucciarone to present case study at PassivHaus Maine Lecture

John Mucciarone, Senior Project Manager, ZeroEnergy Design

John Mucciarone, Senior Project Manager, ZeroEnergy Design, will share his experience in historic retrofits at an upcoming lecture organized by Passivhaus Maine. The event will also include architects Oliver Klein of 475 and Jeremy Avellino of Bright Common.

EVENT: The Historic Retrofits: A Path to Passive House

LOCATION: Mechanics Hall, Portland, ME

TIME: 5PM February 25, 2019

The lecture will address major challenges such as exterior appearance, preservation of original features, the complexity of insulating brick exteriors, ventilation, installation of delivery systems, and sourcing of materials that affect the renovations of historic buildings in Maine and other communities.

John will present his case study of a Victorian-era row house in Boston’s South End neighborhood. The historic brownstone was redesigned by ZeroEnergy Design’s experts for modern living and energy efficiency while preserving its original architectural details.


The event will also have a Q & A session for the audience to interact with the speakers.

John has over 19 years of experience as an architect and has worked on the design and construction of single-family residences, multi-family housing, small institutional buildings, and academic buildings. He is a Certified Passive House Consultant and a LEED Accredited Professional. 

Passivhaus Maine is a non-profit organization committed to decreasing carbon emissions, dependency on fossil fuels, and the costs for winter heating in Maine. It works to support the passive house industry and community in Maine, North America and internationally.



ZED Projects Selected as Case Studies for Green Building Principles


As the City of Newton puts together a bold Climate Action Plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Green Newton, a non-profit organization with over 28 years of local environment action, education and advocacy expertise, is calling for the City, and all governments, to adopt green principles to evaluate and guide building projects. ZeroEnergy Design is proud to have our Parker Positive, Linnaean Apartments, and Newton Net Zero projects included in Green Newton’s case studies for green building practices.

The Parker Positive design includes three net positive energy buildings to house eight families. Targeting USGBC LEED Platinum certification, the buildings have green features such as photovoltaic systems to charge the homeowners’ electric cars, on-site composting, and rainwater catchment and reuse.

Linnaean Apartments contain 20 units of elderly/disabled efficiency dwelling units in a low-rise building originally constructed in 1962. The project goal is a full envelope and systems update to achieve a deep energy retrofit with improved occupant comfort, low operating costs, healthier indoor air quality, long-term durability with low maintenance, and zero on-site fossil fuel use.

The Newton Net Zero project in Newton is a high-performance single family home with exceptional air sealing to reduce heat loss, high-efficiency appliances, and a solar photovoltaic system that produces more than enough energy to offset the annual consumption.

Green Newton’s programs and advocacy are aimed at building awareness, providing opportunities for public dialogue, and educating and empowering citizens to take personal and civic action to protect the environment. Its members and volunteers work towards creating sustainable solutions to environmental problems facing the city of Newton and the world, often in collaboration with the local government and schools, and with other non-profits across Massachusetts.


Awarded Best of Houzz 2019 for Design

ZeroEnergy Design has been awarded Best of Houzz 2019 for Design by Houzz, the leading online platform for home remodeling and design. The annual Best of Houzz Awards recognize home remodeling and design professionals with the highest ratings and the most popular home designs from around the world.

"Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, remodeling and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favorites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app."

The Best of Houzz Awards are considered an indication of quality within the home industry and are given in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. The Design awards honor professionals whose work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. 

For ZeroEnergy Design, the Best of Houzz Award for Design is a thrilling acknowledgment of the growing popularity of high-performance homes that blend energy efficiency with modern aesthetics. This is the seventh consecutive year that ZED has been awarded a Best of Houzz Award. We are honored to be recognized by the Houzz community and our clients.



ZED’s Ocean Retreat in South Dartmouth Wins PRISM Award

ZeroEnergy Design’s modern oceanfront home in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, was recognized with a PRISM Gold Award for Best Single Family Home: 3000-6000sf at the 2018 Annual Prism Awards Gala. The PRISM Awards, organized by the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston (BRAGB), recognize the finest projects and outstanding achievements of architects, builders and other professionals in the home building industry.

The winning project was commissioned by a couple drawn to the coastal New England site for its breathtaking ocean views and proximity to Boston. While ZED’s design embraces the land’s natural topography, maximizes the ocean views from the living spaces, and offers seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces to entertain in style, it also ensures the owners have a comfortable ‘forever home’ with accessibility features that will allow them to age in place.

Minimized HVAC systems and artfully concealed exterior shades provide optimal thermal comfort year round in New England weather even as the carefully designed mechanical systems and the super-insulated enclosure maintain energy efficiency. The charging ports in the garage for electric cars and the photovoltaic system that generates enough energy to offset the home’s annual consumption actualize the owners’ desire to lead a low-carbon lifestyle.

The Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston is one of the leading trade associations in New England since its inception in 1944. It is affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts (HBRAMA), and promotes professionalism and high ethical standards for the industry, influences public policy and encourages civic and environmental responsibility within the building industry. The PRISM Awards gala is the BRAGB’s flagship event of the year.


ZED’s Boston Row House Featured in HOUZZ

ZeroEnergy Design’s ‘modern meets traditional’ project in Boston’s historic South End neighborhood was recently featured in HOUZZ magazine. This Victorian-era row house is home to a family who fell in love with the neighborhood and wanted to renovate the historic architecture of the building to accommodate their modern lifestyle and aesthetic tastes while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.

The updated design features a new everyday entrance with a mudroom and a powder room, an expanded eat-in kitchen with extra counter space and storage, a separate kid’s zone, and a second-floor master suite. High performance triple-pane windows, a new all-electric heating and cooling system, LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, charging stations for electric cars, and groundwork for future photovoltaic roof panels round out the home’s green features.


ZeroEnergy Design’s Farmhouse Wins a BSA Sustainable Design Award

NetPositive with BSA-1500.jpg

ZeroEnergy Design’s Lincoln Net Positive Farmhouse project was the recipient of a Sustainable Design Award from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) presented at the 8th annual BSA Design Awards Gala on January 17, 2019. The BSA Design Awards Gala is the design community’s highest celebration of great design and is attended by architects, designers, developers, builders, and industry professionals.

The BSA jury stated that the “Lincoln Net Positive Farmhouse is an excellent example of what a new single family dwelling could – and should – look like, addressing food production and resiliency while delivering great metrics.

Designed to produce 67% more energy annually than it uses, the Lincoln Farmhouse in Lincoln, Massachusetts, demonstrates ZeroEnergy Design’s continued commitment to healthy and energy-efficient design practices. The 2,900 sq ft green home was built as a collaboration between ZED and custom homebuilder, Thoughtforms, and is designed to suit the client’s lifestyle with open concept living and family areas, an optional first floor guest suite, a separate craft area, and a root cellar for storing food.

The home consumes far less energy than a code-built house and has a 13.1 kW array of solar panels that produces more energy than needed to offset consumption annually, making it ‘net positive’. A super-insulated building envelope, high performance windows, an air source heat pump, an energy recovery ventilator, high-efficiency water fixtures, and ENERGY STAR appliances are some of the home’s other notable features.

The project is USGBC LEED Platinum certified and has received Zero Energy Certification and a REVEAL label from the International Living Future Institute. It previously won the 2017 Fine Homebuilding HOUSES Award for Best Energy-Smart Home and was also featured in HOUZZ magazine.


Boston Design Guide Blog

Boston Design Guide covered the news about the recent BRICC award for ZED’s Wellfleet Modern Home. ZeroEnergy Design and A.F. Hultin & Co. won a BRICC Award for "Excellence in New Single-Family Home Design and Construction". The recognition was for a three-bedroom, two and a half bath new green, energy efficient home in Wellfleet, MA created for a West Coast couple with Cape Cod family.


Chatham Magazine features energy efficient home by ZeroEnergy Design

ZeroEnergy Design’s award winning ’Chatham Mashview House’ is featured in the fall/winter edition of Chatham Magazine. The article includes an interview with both Stephanie Horowitz of ZED and the homeowners, Jeff Berg and Debra Paget.

Berg and Paget knew they wanted an energy efficient home and they knew of ZED from their time at Cornell University. The energy efficient features include a continuous air barrier, super-insulated building enclosure, air source heat pump, energy recovery ventilator, and triple glazed, tilt-turn windows. Constructed by Eastward Homes, the home is a single-story design that will allow the homeowners to age in place. The Cape Cod home was also honored with the Prism Award for Best Energy Efficient Project last year.

You can read more about the house and how the couple realized which features were perfect for aging in place by picking up a copy of the magazine, which is available at local bookstores and other retailers, or reading the article online.


BRICC Award for New Cape Cod Green Home

BRICC Award 600.jpg

ZeroEnergy Design and A.F. Hultin & Co. Won a BRICC Award for Excellence in New Single-Family Home Design and Construction. The award winning Boston architect and Cape Cod contractor were recognized for a green, energy efficient, Cape Cod home.

The recognition was for a three-bedroom, two and a half bath new green home in Wellfleet, MA created for a West Coast couple that wanted a vacation home for themselves, their family and as rental property.

Our clients are academic professionals and their focus is sustainability,” said Stephanie Horowitz of ZeroEnergy Design. “When they couldn’t find a green home for sale on Cape Cod, they purchased a piece of property near their family and commissioned our firm to design one.”

Several green attributes function in unison to create the energy efficient 1,800 square-foot home. Continuous super-insulation and exceptional air sealing reduce the annual heating requirements. Triple-pane windows to capture views and passive solar gain. An air source heat pump keeps the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. High efficiency appliances and LED lighting keep energy consumption low. On the rooftop, a solar electric system produces enough energy to offset most of the annual energy consumption. Overall, the home uses 89% less energy than similar new homes.

The home layout is also efficient with an L-shaped open living, dining and kitchen space to allow ample space for entertaining. The master suite with a built-in study is located at the western end on the entry level, while on the lower level are two guest bedrooms, a full bathroom and the laundry area.

The home is built on a sloping site optimized for outdoor entertaining through the use of a dining patio on grade and a platform deck without the need for railings. Beautiful views of the surrounding forest are captured while still attracting natural light throughout the home.

The entire team worked hard to create this green home that meets all the client’s wishes and our collective commitment to ecologically sensible design,” Horowitz said. “We also have to credit the contractor, A.F. Hultin, who executed the design exceptionally well.


About the architect, ZeroEnergy Design:

ZeroEnergy Design provides full service modern green architecture and mechanical design. The firm designs green homes and buildings pursuing exceptional energy performance. The unique collaboration in-house between architecture, mechanical design, and financial analysis drives a competitive advantage and enables the firm to deliver fully integrated design services.  https://ZeroEnergy.com

About the contractor, A.F. Hultin & Co:

A.F. Hultin builds architecturally-designed, custom homes in the towns of Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet and Eastham. With over 35 years of experience, they understand the unique requirements of building on the Outer Cape, including all aspects of home building and remodeling. Their long-standing relationships with experienced local tradesmen and staff of licensed carpenters allows them to manage all aspects of each project.  http://ArtHultin.com

ZeroEnergy Design continues to lead AIA 2030 climate initiative

ZeroEnergy Design is one of only ten architectural firm nationwide that achieved a predicted energy use intensity (pEUI) savings of 70% across their entire design portfolio, according to the recently released summary of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment. Of the 480 firms participating in the initiative, 212 reported and only ten of those achieved the 70% goal. ZeroEnergy Design exceed the goal with an 88.7% total design portfolio reduction.

The goal of the 2030 Challenge, which began in 2010, is for all new buildings and major renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030.  One of the main targets for architecture firms is an energy consumption performance standard of 70% below average for all major renovations, developments and buildings. The other goals are reducing the fossil fuel standard by 80% in 2020, 90% in 225 and eliminating fossil fuel GHG emitting energy for all new buildings and major renovations by 2030.

Architectural firms continued efforts to reach their environmental goals. According to the report, 17.8 million metric tons of carbon savings were reported in 2017, a 6.7% increase from 2016. The carbon savings are equivalent to the entire state of Maine. In dollars and cents, this is a savings of $3.2 billion in annual operating costs.

Other notable statistics from the 2017 report:

  • The report examined 16,856 total projects, an increase of 21% from 2016. The projects came from 90 different countries.

  • Progress continues. Zero Energy and nine other firms exceeded the 70% of the pEUI savings goal and the majority of the firms are between 40% and 60%.

  • The statistics show the 2030 Commitment goals can be reached in any region or climate.

Designing and building homes that use 50% less energy than the building code requires is an absolute minimum standard at ZeroEnergy Design. We believe the 2030 commitment goals are attainable now/today and we are doing our part to make sure they are met.


Fine Homebuilding - Environment for Retirement

Fine Homebuilding magazine’s latest issue includes the HOUSES by DESIGN section with a ZED project article called Environment for Retirement. As long term fans of the publication and winners of the 2017 Fine Homebuilding HOUSES award, ZED is thrilled to receive this continuing coverage.