Built Environment Plus awarded this home remodeling the Green Home of The Year.
Here is why:
The owners of this 1930 home reached out to the designers with a long list of frustrations. Their kitchen was cramped, dark and isolated. The half-bath was tiny and lacked privacy. Insufficient insulation and old, inefficient systems made for hot summers, cold winters, and high utility bills. While such frustrations are common for owners of older homes, the relationship these owners have with their house is anything but common. The husband’s grandfather was the home’s first owner, and his mother grew up there. He and his wife inherited the house and raised their children there. This family legacy imbued the project with special significance.
The design team reoriented the kitchen towards the back yard, adding a full glass door and three windows that beckon onto a generous deck. They widened the opening between the kitchen and dining room, eliminating a pinch point and visually connecting the front and back of the house. They addressed the comfort complaints, inefficient systems, and high operating costs with a comprehensive package of insulation, air sealing and HVAC measures. They insulated the basement walls with 2” of closed cell spray foam; dense packed the wall cavities with cellulose; insulated the underside of the roof with 3” of closed cell spray foam followed by 7” of cellulose; reduced air leakage by 58%; and replaced the gas heating and hot water and window air conditioning with ducted heat pumps and a heat pump water heater.
According to the judges, “The project demonstrates the value of preserving the embodied carbon of the home, which might have otherwise been demolished; yet accomplishes substantial energy savings and comfort improvements. The project preserved the original character of this home as well as its neighborhood and was done affordably. The judges were impressed with the practical approach that achieved such significant results.”
Have you thought about ditching gas and electrifying your home, but you aren't sure where to start or how to do it? There are Wellesley, State and Federal incentives and rebates to help.
You are invited to "Electrifying Your Home: how to ditch gas and electrify everything," co-hosted by U.S PIRG Education Fund and Rewiring America, on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT.
Electrifying your home not only can prevent air pollution, but also helps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Electric and induction stoves are efficient replacements for the dirty gas stoves that cause indoor air pollution in our homes, and along with electric space and water heaters, can lower our dependence on fossil fuels and help to power our lives with clean, renewable energy.
At this upcoming webinar, "Electrifying Your Home," they will discuss the benefits of electrification for cooking, home heating/cooling and water heating, and you can get your questions answered by experts and people who have recently made these changes in their own homes. They will also discuss some of the new incentives for consumers that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
RSVP for "Electrifying Your Home" today.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is seeking around 30 homes to participate in the first cohort of the Decarbonization Pathways Pilot.
This new pilot will offer technical support, generous financial incentives, and performance monitoring to implement high-efficiency decarbonization measures. This is a great opportunity to get the technical support and financial assistance to bring your home into the 21st century!
Please consider applying before the end of the month, and sharing with those who may be interested.
We realize it's the summer and ironically we are talking about ice dams. Many of us have unfortunately experienced them, including Teri and Jamie Ebersole here in Wellesley. Over the last several years, they did piecemeal projects to protect themselves from recurring ice dam damage. However the dams highlighted to them the increasing severe weather due to climate change. Thus, when they decided to renovate their kitchen, they took a hard look at the resiliency of their home. In the end, they spent a fair amount of their renovation budget on aspects of their home that will make their family home more resilient.
What does that mean? Climate resilient buildings are built, or retrofitted, to withstand severe storms and natural disasters. The Ebersoles wanted their 1940 colonial – gone farmhouse – home to withstand extreme weather. They interviewed a few architects and builders and went with Wellesley’s Kraus Associates. After much research, and discussions with Abode and other energy efficiency experts, the Ebersoles now have a beautiful renovated, healthy and resilient home they are proud of.
This all turned out to be a valuable investment as well. The last 2 months they have only paid $10 a month for all of their electric cooking, heating/cooling, driving, laundry needs!
How are they doing this? They moved to electrical, high efficient systems, and fully insulated and weatherized their home:
They still have their gas-fired tankless water heater, since it was newish at the time of renovation, but that is the only gas in their home. They will likely replace it with an electric air-source heat pump water heater at its end of life. Since they have a family member with lung challenges, they are very happy to minimize the amount of unhealthy natural gas in their home.
“We love our house and want to stay here a long time, so it made sense to make it healthy, resilient and sustainable for the long-term.”
Curious who they used? See below:
Reduce your Energy Use/Cost...Without Compromising Comfort!
Below are some tips on what you can do:
Get an Assist from Mother Nature
Reduce Heat and Humidity Sources in the House on Hot Days
Improve Air Conditioner Management
Unlock $ With Sustainable Energy Investments
• Replace out-dated air conditioners with air source heat pumps
• Install a full-house attic fan and use cool evening air instead of air conditioning
• Install a lighter colored roof and paint the house a lighter color that will reflect rather than absorb the warmth of the sun’s rays
• Plant deciduous shade trees to block summer sun and provide cooling
• Install awnings, shutters or trellises on the sunny side of the house
• Better insulate the attic
Olin College of Engineering and Sustainable Wellesley’s Tiny High Performing Home Wins Chairman's Award During Wellesley’s Annual Parade
Thanks to the design and construction skills of Olin College of Engineering students Suki Sacks and Daniel Jaramillo, Sustainable Wellesley’s tiny high performing house took home the Chairman’s Award at the Town of Wellesley’s 54th Annual Veterans Parade on Sunday, May 22, 2022.
In March, Suki and Daniel met with us to scope out the building project. The first year Electrical Engineering major and first year Mechanical Engineering major went on to plan and build the home at Olin’s campus with tools on loan from the library and school machine shop with funds donated to support Sustainable Wellesley's efforts. Once the house was built, the Sustainable Wellesley team added some home-like touches and signage.
Since 63% of Wellesley's emissions come from buildings, this project aimed to educate and encourage residents to take actions that will make their homes more comfortable, less expensive to heat and cool, while helping the Town of Wellesley meet its goal to become Net Zero by 2050.
Although Suki had returned home to visit family before beginning her internship at VEIR, Daniel was in town for his internship at BAE Systems and decided to join in the parade.
“Helping Wellesley’s citizens understand the urgency of climate action within their own homes seemed even more pressing with temperatures in the high 90s during the parade,” said Daniel Jaramillo. “The worsening climate affects everyone’s health, resulting in dehydration, heat stroke, asthma, heart disease, Lyme disease, longer allergy seasons, eco anxiety, and much more,” Jaramillo said.
“We took on this project for the design challenge but also the concern for significant extreme weather impacts that communities face, including wildfires, droughts, floods and more intense hurricane seasons. Creating this house to educate the local community was one way we felt like we could ‘do something’, and we had a lot of fun working on it together!” said Sacks.
The Olin students generously volunteered their time during finals, amid COVID challenges and during dorm move out. This successful student/community collaboration earned the float the “Chairman's Award” during the Veterans Parade that honored Wellesley residents who are recipients of the Purple Heart.
Photo credits: Eric Roth Photography
Learn the Benefits of Healthy, High Performing Homes
Watch recording here
Are you considering renovating or building a new home? Here is the recording from our event where local design experts discussed healthy, high performing homes that offer value, comfort, and a way to reduce your emissions.
Topics covered in the webinar include:
Retaining the Character of Existing Homes
Rachel White, CEO of Byggmeister, a design/build firm, shared 2-3 renovation/retrofit case studies and how they offered significant opportunities to reduce a home’s carbon footprint while improving comfort.
Architect Says: “Designing Net Zero Homes Is A No Brainer”
Stephanie Horowitz, Managing Director of ZeroEnergy Design, showed a variety of homes, both new construction and major renovations, that offer exceptional energy performance.
Building New High Performing Homes
Nick Falkoff, Owner and General Manager of Auburndale Builders, spoke about adjacent cities/towns that are working toward better building practices town-wide, and about effective citizen advocacy.
This virtual event supports the Town of Wellesley’s newly launched Climate Action Plan (CAP) which maps out goals and actions residents can take to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our community. As the CAP outlines, in 2020 63.6% of Wellesley’s emissions came from our buildings. By considering and implementing healthy home building practices, residents can help the Town achieve our goals of transitioning away from fossil fuels and achieving net-zero emissions by the year 2050.
CREATING A MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME:
PERSONAL STORIES from Weston, Wayland and Lincoln residents
November 16, 7:00 p.m. via Zoom
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than half of a home’s energy
bill is spent on heating and cooling. A well-insulated home is a surefire way to
help keep your power bill manageable in both winter and summer (if you have
air conditioning). Once a home is insulated, the benefits of other energy-saving
investments, like new heating and cooling systems, grow. And an energy efficient home is not only better for your pocketbook, it’s better for the
Three local residents will tell us about their own efforts to drive down fossil fuel
consumption and decarbonize their homes and properties. In each case they
took a systems approach by making several improvements to their houses such
that both their overall CO2 production and energy costs went down.
Register here to hear personal stories from:
Bill Churchill, Lincoln
Sarah Maas Scheuplein, Weston
Roger Wiegand, Wayland
This event is brought to us by MetroWest Climate Solutions. This is a growing partnership between First Parish in Wayland, First Parish Church in Weston, First Parish in Lincoln, the Congregational Church of Weston, Sustainable Weston Action Group, and other communities and individuals. Their mission is to share strategies for moving towards a low- and no-carbon-based society and economy and to suggest activities that enable individuals to help bring about solutions. For more information, visit: www.metrowestclimatesolutions.org.
Opportunities to Reduce Your Home's Fossil Fuels useage - Listen In FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S SAKE Tomorrow 7-8pm
Tomorrow from 7-8pm you are invited to be part of a six-part series on Home Electrification where homeowners can take steps to get their homes off of fossil fuels through electrification.
This is important as 56% of Wellesley's greenhouse gas comes from buildings and of that 58% of that is residential.
Kate Stephenson, HELM Construction Solutions and Aaron Gunderson, Passive House Massachusetts will lead us through how to assess opportunities for electrification, and calculate your home’s annual energy use.
This event is free and open to the public via Zoom. Register here.
There are many ways to reduce the impact of your events this season. Thank you Wellesley Green Schools for this helpful Smart Event Guide!