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Near Net Zero Energy House

November/December 2008
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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November 06, 2008
Results are in for a full year of energy generation and use at the Near Net Zero Energy house, in Colrain, Massachusetts, developed and built by Rural Development, Incorporated, (RDI) of Turners Falls, Massachusetts (see “Toward an Affordable Zero-Energy Home,” HE Sept/Oct ’08, p. 16). Steven Winter Associates of Norwalk, Connecticut, has been monitoring the home since its completion, with funding from DOE’s Building America program. The 3.4 kW Northeast Solar Design Associates PV system installed at the home produced 96% of the electricity that was used during the 12-month period from June 2007 through May 2008—including a winter with lots of  snow. Fifty-seven square feet of evacuated-tube solar collectors donated by American Solar Works provided 34% of the heat and hot water used for the radiant floor heat and the domestic hot water (DHW). The three-bedroom, 1,350 ft2 home was built for a total cost of $255,872, including photovoltaics, land acquisition, and all development costs. Subsidies and donations from organizations, such as the Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) brought the purchase price down to $199,000. Energy efficiency measures included:

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