Zero Energy Design

Zero-Carbon Connecticut Home Stays Comfortable—Through Frigid Winters or Wildfire Smoke

On the banks of the Housatonic River, this home is sustainable as it uses net-zero design principles to save and recover energy and provide consistent indoor temperatures.

According to Mansion Global, the home was designed by Bensonwood, a sustainable home design company founded by Tedd Benson in 1974 and based in Walpole, New Hampshire, and built by Kent, Connecticut-based Hudson Valley Preservation. It was completed in 2022 and is being sold fully furnished.

The home was meant to be a temporary respite while the owners’ child enrolled in a nearby school and they completed a larger new home in nearby Salisbury, Connecticut, Morris said. “They have only been in the home part time since last August.”

The air-filtration systems in the home are particularly relevant in the wake of the recent smoke from Canadian forest fires that blanketed the Northeast for several days, Vigeant said. “The point of Bensonwood design is to build homes that are healthy.”

The home has a constant flow of fresh filtered air, she said. “Even on a good air quality day, the air inside the home is cleaner than the air outside.”

“It’s great for people with allergies or people who are sensitive to mold or moisture,” Morris said. 

“The placement of this house is brilliant,” she added. It is sited to get maximum heat and solar power from the sun and also to take advantage of cooling river breezes.

Everything in the house, including the heat pumps and kitchen appliances, is powered by electricity. A bank of solar panels helps to power the house.

There is an underground propane tank used to heat the pool, but there are no fossil fuels used inside the house, Vigeant said.

Other design details include white oak flooring, vaulted ceilings, built-in shelving and multiple sets of sliding doors that open to the patio and pool.

The main level has an open floor plan with the kitchen open to the living room and dining area. A screened porch offers a wood-burning fireplace.

The owners have been able to use that porch year-round because of the way it’s sited, Morris said.

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