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2011 MAINSTREAM GREEN WINNER
Future Proof 08
Hadley, Massachusetts


Good building science earned this contemporary net-zero home an outstanding HERS rating of -27.
PROJECT TEAM
Builder
Wright Builders, Inc. (WBI)
Northampton, MA


Architect
Bruce Coldham
Coldham and Hartman Architects
Amherst, MA


Traditional looking in almost every respect, this home’s building science is way ahead of the curve. The builder paid close attention to air infiltration, taping plywood seams and tweaking the envelope at regular intervals.


 


I “From the outset, we designed this house to maximize south facing roof space,” notes architect Bruce Coldham. “We modeled the site digitally, and look at trees and sun angles. From the get-go full on solar power was the first priority.”


Wright Builders of Northampton, Mass., framed the house with double 2” x 4” walls, a decision influenced by Building America’s years of research on wall efficiency. Coldham says most of the homes his firm designs now—even affordable ones—are framed this way, with either double 4” studs or with 2” x 6” studs that have a layer of rigid foam acting as a thermal break on the home’s exterior.


This house is exceptional by any standards, in part because the team conducted blower door tests at intervals during construction, using a theatrical smoke machine to help pinpoint unwanted air infiltration.


“Buildings are gonna last a long time,” notes Coldham. “But if you build like this you don’t have to try to predict when energy costs will rise. You’ve already sealed the envelope completely. That way when costs do rise—which is inevitable—these owners will be ready.” GB

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