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Going Green: 5 Stunning Sustainable Homes

The Valle Group, Passive House Construction, Sandwich MA

Making the commitment to go green on the homestead is a smart move. These projects are stunning examples of comfortable yet highly efficient and sustainable living spaces. Whether you’re aiming for a Passive, Net-Zero, Net-Positive or just a higher-performance, energy efficient construction approach, allow these projects to inspire you.

1. Sandwich Passive House: The Valle Group

While aesthetically distinctive with dark cementitious panels, sustainably sourced wood accents and expansive banks of glass, many elements of this ultra energy-efficient Sandwich home reflect the environmentally-conscious approach of Passive House Construction.

The Valle Group, Passive House Construction, Sandwich MAAt its core, Passive Building aims to optimize every facet of a building's energy efficiency through five specific building-science principles: envelope airtightness, super-insulation and thermal bridge-free construction, optimized windows, balanced ventilation, and minimal use of space conditioning.

The Valle Group, Passive House Construction, Sandwich MAThe builders at The Valle Group, who built the first ever certified Passive House on Cape Cod more than a decade ago, recently completed this Passive, Net Zero certified house in Sandwich. It generates its own solar power, and was created with sustainably sourced, low embedded carbon and low VOC materials.

(Photography: Dan Cutrona, Architect: Kaplan Thompson Architects, Builder: The Valle Group)

2. Energy Efficient Truro Home: Cape Associates Inc.

The custom built home nestled deep in the heart of oceanside Truro, MA is a modern yet purposeful home, complete with clean lines, contemporary details, and aesthetic beauty.

Cape Associates, Energy Efficient Home, Truro MAInsulation was optimized using Zip-R panels and triple glazed windows, which were installed throughout the entire build. The home’s cedar lined open layout featuring these large windows adds a touch of natural harmony with sweeping views of the woods and sea that surround the home. Cape Associates, Energy Efficient Home, Truro MAAmple natural light limits the need for power-generated lighting during the daytime. The solar array on the sleek Carriage House of this property processes solar energy into electricity throughout the home, powering the all-electrically driven cooking, heating, ventilation, and cooling systems.

Cape Associates, Energy Efficient Home, Truro MAStepping outside, the landscape stays true to native plantings and greenery in the home’s surrounding outdoor space. The decision to preserve the natural beauty of the land limits maintenance and energy required for landscaping upkeep.

(Builder: Cape Associates Inc.)

3. Net-Positive Farmhouse: Thoughtforms

This all-electric home generates 60-70% surplus energy compared to its consumption, granting it a ‘net-positive’ status. Without compromising exceptional comfort, quality, and aesthetics, it boasts an impressive HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index score of -9.

thoughtforms, sustainable homes, lincoln farmhouseAttention to detail and meticulous construction made all the difference in achieving this energy surplus. Carefully selected materials complemented by an advanced ventilation system, provide a healthy indoor atmosphere, and thoughtful design elements reduce maintenance requirements.

thoughtforms, sustainable homes, lincoln farmhouse(Photography: Chuck Choi, Architect: ZeroEnergy Design, Builder: Thoughtforms Corp., Landscape Architect: Soren Deniord)

4. In-Progress Passive House Retrofit: NEDC

For those striving for the highest degree of energy efficiency, there is no higher standard than Passive House Construction.

NEDC, Passive HouseThis project is a dream in the making for a future Passive House construction project designed by New England Design & Construction (NEDC). These photos are photorealistic architectural renderings of the in-progress Passive House retrofit in Somerville, MA.     

NEDC, Passive House(Builder: NEDC)

5. Net-Zero Energy Accessory Dwelling Unit: STARCO - Star Contracting Co.

Positioned over a new three car garage, this Net-Zero Energy certified addition and accessory dwelling unit (ADU) contain more than meets the eye. The project features a high-performance building envelope, 3-car garage, a two-stop elevator for accessibility, 1 bedroom apartment, separate guest suite, and mudroom that leads into the original home. starco, net zero home, sustainable homesDesigned to fit within Newton’s ADU zoning by-law, the project gives the owners a separate unit for their parents to age in place alongside them while maintaining a sense of independence.

starco, net zero home, sustainable homes

An 11kw PV solar array offsets the utility bills for the new construction, which is all-electric. Landscaping improvements on the site allowed the creation of distinct and private patios connected by a stone staircase which facilitate both togetherness and privacy as needed. 

(Photography: Born Imagery, Architect: Ulterior Mode, General Contractor: Star Contracting Co. - STARCO)



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