Near Net-Zero Residence
Truro MA

Near Net-Zero Residence, Truro, Mass.

Near Net-Zero Residence

The owners of this Truro, Mass., home on Cape Cod wanted comfort, breathtaking views and extreme energy-efficiency. By incorporating energy-efficient building concepts, including geothermal and an Uponor radiant floor heating system, the home uses two-thirds less energy than a standard code-built home, offsetting its minimal energy consumption with a south-facing rooftop photovoltaic system.

“Extreme fluctuation in occupancy was the starting point for our entire design,” says Stephanie Horowitz of ZeroEnergy Design. “The house serves as a year-round weekend home for the two owners and a summer retreat for their entire family.”

To accommodate the homeowners’ requests, the house was essentially split into two sections. The “living bar” side contains common living space, a master suite, and a kitchen — everything a couple would need for a weekend getaway. The “sleeping bar” on the other side is essentially an expansion module with five additional bedrooms on the lower level, a second master suite and a study above that can be completely decommissioned when not in use.

Extreme Energy Efficiency

Glass with a low heat gain coefficient and a well-insulated envelope that thermally and mechanically offsets the gains helps keep the house as energy-efficient as possible. The sun’s rays provide most of the energy to keep the house cool through a central-air system. And where 11.7 kW of solar panels leave off, a geothermal HVAC unit picks up. An energy-management appliance integrates those renewable resources into the grid and maximizes energy efficiency.

To promote healthy indoor air quality, flooring was limited to slate, bamboo and polished concrete, while omitting any carpeting that might capture dust, mites, mold or moisture. The insulation in interior walls and floor, used for sound insulation and to improve the performance of the radiant floor heating system, is formaldehyde-free. An air exchange and energy recovery system will provide clean, fresh air throughout the year.

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Project Highlights

• Near net-zero energy home
• Uponor radiant floor heating
• Photovoltaic system
• Geothermal heating and cooling

Project Data

• Architect: ZeroEnergy Design, Boston
• Builder: Silvia and Silvia, Osterville, Mass.
• Square Feet: 6,200 square feet
• HERS Rating: 33
• Completed: August 2008

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