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News Apr 1, 2014 - 11:12:50 AM

Winners of Fourth Annual CT Zero Energy Challenge Announced

By Energize Connecticut

Winning homes from Danbury, Derby, Farmington, Killingly and Warren

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NEW BRITAIN, CT - Energize Connecticut with its utility partners, Connecticut Light & Power and The United Illuminating Company, have named five winners of the fourth annual Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge (ZEC), a statewide design/build competition for single and multi-family homes. This year’s competition featured 11 homes from across the state built between June 1, 2012 and December 1, 2013.

The ZEC challenges participants to construct high-efficiency homes that consume little to no energy and awards the winners with cash prizes. RESNET Rating Standards are used to determine each home's HERS Index (Home Energy Rating Score), a nationally-recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance (the lower the number, the more energy efficient the home; a score of zero represents a net zero energy home).

“From organic farms to a multi-family housing authority, this year’s challenge saw the largest number and most diverse range of participants in the history of the challenge,” said Jamie Howland of ENE (Environment Northeast) and Chairperson, Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board. “We also saw the lowest HERS Index ever. This year’s participants demonstrated that designing and building super high-efficiency residences that reduce energy use and energy bills, as well as deliver the comfort that a typical home provides, is more achievable than ever.”
Competing builders and architects implement energy-saving features into the home’s design to increase energy performance and lower its HERS Index. The project’s cost effectiveness and the home's total estimated operating costs are also used to determine the winners in each category.

This year’s Zero Energy Challenge winners include:

Overall winner (tie), each to receive $10,000 prize
Project: Griffiths Residence, Killingly; Builder: Lehto Design/Build, Killingly
Project: Randich/Spalla Residence, Farmington; Builder: Wolfworks, Inc., Avon

Lowest overall HERS Index, $5,000 prize
Project: Renaissance Farm, Warren; Builder: J&P Building and Remodeling, LLC, Norfolk
Architect: CK Architects, Guilford

Lowest HERS Index without the use of renewable technologies, $5,000 prize
Project: Trolle Residence, Danbury; Builder: BPC Builders, Wilton

Most affordable project (cost/square foot), $5,000 prize
Project: Singer Estate, Derby; Builder: Brookside Development, Woodbridge

Lowest projected annual net operating cost, $5,000 prize
Project: Renaissance Farm, Warren; Builder: J&P Building and Remodeling, LLC, Norfolk
Architect: CK Architects, Guilford

Winners were recognized during a special ceremony on March 27 at The Inn at Middletown.

“When my husband and I first thought about building an energy efficient home, I was skeptical,” said winner Susan Griffiths. “I didn’t think it would be possible to build a home that was efficient, had character, and felt comfortable. Now that I have, I wouldn’t do anything differently—it’s a beautiful home that utilizes energy-saving and renewable technologies and design features. I don’t think anyone would realize our home is net zero.”

“I’ve followed the Zero Energy Challenge from its inception,” said winner Mike Randich. “It sparked my interest in ‘passive homes’ and allowed me to get smarter on building a home that uses little to no energy. It also helped me connect with a builder that was able to bring this idea to life for me.”

Videos featuring this year’s winners and specific project information for all entries can be found by visiting

The Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge is now seeking participants for its 2014 challenge. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2014. If interested in applying, please visit

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