Steven Winter Associates’ Projects Win Big in CT Zero Energy Challenge

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Low-cost efficiency dominates at 2016 CT Zero Energy Challenge.


The sixth annual CT Zero Energy Challenge featured nine new homes from across the state that exemplified efficient design. Participants competed to construct residences that best utilized innovative building techniques and new technology intended to lower energy use to near or net-zero. Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) provided sustainability consulting services for two of the three winners.

The Torcellini Residence, a three-bedroom 1920’s bungalow style home in Eastford, won the Lowest Construction Cost category ($83/sf), and was involved in a three-way tie for CT Zero Energy Challenge Overall Winner. The home’s design emphasizes sustainable architecture and indoor air quality (IAQ), with careful attention paid to healthy material selection and a tightly constructed building envelope. Relying heavily on passive design, the home’s orientation maximizes solar gain during cold months while generous overhangs provide summer shading. Solar panels are clip mounted on a 30 degree metal roof system providing 9.4kW of renewable energy, and reduced the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index from 35 to 2. In addition to acting as the HERS rater, SWA rated the Torcellini Residence in ENERGY STAR® v3.1, Indoor airPLUS™, and the DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes programs. Learn more about the Torcellini Residence.

Continuing the theme of low-cost performance, the three-bedroom Katzin Residence in Litchfield was honored in the Lowest Net Operational Cost category and also tied for the CT Zero Energy Challenge Overall Winner. The home was designed by architectural firm Responsive Designs and constructed by contractor Revival Homes, LLC, with SWA providing compliance consulting following DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes, ENERGY STAR v3.1, EPA Water Sense, and Indoor airPlus programs. One of the goals set by the project team was to construct a home which would demonstrate that high-performance is attainable at low cost per square foot ($122/sf). In an effort to minimize total cost of ownership, the Katzin Residence met ambitious budget goals by eliminating complex building systems and finishes, relying instead on passive sustainability and resiliency features. Most notably, there is no conventional basement but rather slab on grade with enhanced insulation, concrete panel walls which require no additional siding, and a Structurally Insulated Panel (SIPS) roof, resulting in a low maintenance, high durability home. This resilient construction system provides enhanced thermal comfort while reducing risk to storm, moisture, and fire damage, with the goal of building to last for +100 years. Learn more about the Katzin Residence.

The award ceremony for the CT Zero Energy Challenge took place on April 7, in South Windsor, CT. SWA has provided consulting and certification services for several of the homes participating in each of the past six competitions, and is already consulting with project teams for the 2016 challenge!

About the CT Zero Energy Challenge
The 2015 Zero Energy Challenge was a design and build competition for single and multi-family homes built in Connecticut between June 2014 and December 1, 2015. Participants competed for cash prizes, while gaining exposure to media and various forms of technical assistance provided by the Challenge sponsors and partners.

Completed homes were assigned a performance score based on the presence of energy-efficient features that curb overall energy use. Specifically, the Challenge used RESNET Rating Standards to determine each completed home's HERS Index. The home's HERS Index, coupled with other factors including the cost effectiveness of the project and the home's total estimated energy use were utilized to determine the winners.

About Steven Winter Associates
Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) provides research, consulting and advisory services to improve commercial, residential and multifamily built environments for private and public sector clients. The firm specializes in energy, sustainability and accessibility consulting as well as certification, research & development and compliance services. SWA’s engineers and architects have led the way since 1972 in the development of best practices to achieve high performance buildings. For more information, visit

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Heather Breslin
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