Providence Carbon Challenge Home

An award winning, affordable, net-zero-possible, Habitat for Humanity home design concept.

Contest.  The national contest encouraged affordable home design that minimized fossil fuel use and carbon footprint while blending carefully into the existing neighborhood vernacular. With the support of lifecycle assessment software from the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, design teams focused on minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, cost effectiveness, and aesthetic appeal for a Habitat for Humanity vacant lot located in Providence, Rhode Island. Winners were awarded cash prizes with the Grand Prize presented to ZeroEnergy Design for their “Little Green Rhody” home design.

The Little Green Rhody is a 2000 square foot home with a traditional aesthetic. Adaptable to either three or four bedrooms, the home offers design versatility, while also providing two bathrooms. The super-insulated building envelope, high performance windows, efficient mechanical systems, and a 7.5 kW solar electric system collectively make the house net zero energy possible.

“This design is very buildable and beautifully represented,” noted one judge. “It fits the context of the neighborhood very well.”

Goals. Minimize fossil fuel use / minimize carbon footprint / integrate with neighborhood

Target. Habitat for Humanity available building lot, affordable & durable construction

Grand Prize Winner.  ZeroEnergy Design

National Hosts. U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Lab, and The Engineered Wood Association

Local Hosts.  Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island and AIA Rhode Island

Sponsors.   LP Building Products and Boise Cascade





Carbon Challenge Award


Square Footage: 2,000
Bedrooms: 3 or 4
Bathrooms: 2


EUI: 0kBtu/sf/yr
Better Than Code: 100%