When Janet and Renny would talk about retirement, their vision included living in the woods, close to nature, and reducing their energy footprint by building a high performance home. They also wanted a healthy home, because the first home in which they lived had mold that resulted in ill health effects on their family. When the time came to design their retirement home, they had two goals: to create a healthy living environment, and to produce as much energy as they consume.
As Janet researched options for constructing a healthy home, she learned that the conditions for mold in a finished home can be created when homes are stick-framed piece-by-piece on site, because the framing and other materials may be exposed to rain for extended periods. They explored options for having the components of the building shell built in a factory and assembled quickly on site, and ended up selecting Unity. As Janet said, “We looked into several modular and panelized home building companies, and were most impressed with the quality of Unity Homes, where tight building practices and safer building products were being used.“
Inspired by Sarah Susanka’s book The Not So Big House, the couple had originally wanted to work within a compact building footprint, but were challenged by their two sets of twin boys in their twenties, who had the potential to make a not-so-big home feel small. Janet opted for Unity’s semi-custom design path, which had the flexibility to meet the family’s needs.
The first floor of the home features an open layout with a modest living room and oversized kitchen. The island that anchors the kitchen has seating for six and allows for multiple cooks. The home includes one bedroom on the ground floor for aging in place, and two on the second floor, along with two “bunk rooms” – four bunks to a room – for visiting friends, and future grandchildren.
In siting the house, Janet worked with Revision Energy to accommodate the mountain views while maintaining efficient orientation for the solar panels. She’s planning to make the transition to driving electric cars, run on power generated by the home. The system will include two Tesla Powerwall batteries to provide power when the sun is not shining, and resiliency when the grid goes down.
Because healthy indoor air was a top priority for the new home, Janet had whole-house filtration incorporated into the fresh air ventilation system. She and her family are thrilled with the results: “Our entire family enjoys the healthy environment we have created, and we are proud to have this sustainably built and energy efficient home.”
Total Living Area: 3,572 SF
Porch/Balcony: 652 SF
Garage: 866 SF
Baths: 3 1/2
Foundation: Slab on grade
Two Car Garage with storage area and rec space
With a HERS rating of -18, this home was awarded first place in NH Saves’ 2018 Drive to Net Zero competition.
Wall Insulation: R-33 dense-packed cellulose
Roof Insulation: R-60 cellulose
Foundation Insulation: R-15 rigid foam
Windows: Triple-glazed European style tilt-turn
Air-tightness: 0.9 ACH50
HERS Rating: -18
Certifications/Awards: First place in NH Saves’ Drive to Net Zero competition
Heating/Cooling: Air source heat pumps
Ventilation: Heat recovery ventilator
Water Heater: Tankless
PV System: 19.1 kW grid-tied system
Energy Storage System: Tesla Powerall Batteries (future)
We were doing our best to become Net Zero and then we started searching for a builder who had the same values that we had. We were lucky to find Unity!