The 2016 Challenge had 5 winners bringing home a total of $30,000 in cash prizes! Click below to learn more about each winning home and their super energy efficient features.
View Winners »
2016 Challenge Recap »

View the 2015 ZEC Winners »

View the 2014 ZEC Winners »

The Latest CT ZEC Events:

PACE to Showcase BPC Green Builders New Canaan Home
May 15th, 2010 - 9 am., 12 pm. & 3 pm.
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Keithan Home Tour for Members of the Killingworth Chamber...
Nov. 14th, 2009 - 9 am.
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CT ZEC News Article:

Winners of Seventh Annual Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge Announced

Posted: Apr 25, 2017

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (April 25, 2017 ) – Energize Connecticut, in partnership with Eversource and AVANGRID, Inc. subsidiaries United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas, have selected five winners for the seventh annual Energize Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge (ZEC), a statewide design and build competition for single and multi-family homes. This year’s competition featured 17 homes from across the state built between June 1, 2016 and January 31, 2017.

In this nationally recognized initiative, participants are challenged to construct high efficiency homes that consume little to no energy by using sustainable building practices..

“With new renewable energy technologies and energy-efficient building requirements, new residential construction continues to evolve, and the Zero Energy Challenge exemplifies this shift in the industry,” said Taren O’Connor, the Energy Efficiency Board Chair. “Participants in the Challenge are dedicated to the net zero energy movement and are building environmentally-friendly, resilient, comfortable homes. I applaud this year’s participants and winners for their hard work and devotion to transforming the residential new construction market in Connecticut.”

RESNET Rating Standards are used to determine each home's HERS Index (Home Energy Rating Score), a nationally standardized scoring system that measures 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). A low HERS index, the home’s cost effectiveness and total estimated operating costs are used to determine the winners in each category.

The 2016 Zero Energy Challenge winners include:

Overall Winner:
Project: Deb and Russell Heinrich Residence, Guilford, Conn.
Builder: Bill Freeman and Alicia Dolce – Celebration Green Design & Build, Madison, Conn..

“After spending time at an environmentally conscious community in Costa Rica, we decided to create a self-sustaining lifestyle for ourselves. Because of this interest, we attended an open house for a completed Zero Energy Passive Home built by Celebration Green Design & Build to learn how the principles of a passive home would enable us to achieve our dream,” said Russell Heinrich, homeowner. “Once we had conceptual plans, we began transforming our design for a high performance home into the reality of a zero energy home that would leave as small a carbon footprint as possible.”  

Learn more about the Heinrich Residence in Guilford by clicking here.

Best Overall Envelope (tied)
Project: Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon, Conn.
Builder: Greg Ariflian – Silver Lake Conference Center, Sharon, Conn.

The Silver Lake Conference Center features efficient Passive House design yet maintains the feel of a lodge with features such as a gorgeous soapstone wood stove.

Learn more about the Silver Lake Conference Center in Sharon by clicking here.

Best Overall Envelope (tied)
Project: Deb and Russell Heinrich Residence, Guilford, Conn..
Builder:Bill Freeman and Alicia Dolce – Celebration Green Design & Build, Madison, Conn.

The Heinrichs, this year's Zero Energy Challenge Overall Winner, also tied in best overall envelope category with R-values ranging from 44 to 51, Klearwall R-7.14 triple glazed windows and a final blower door test result of 0.4 ACH@50 pascals

See the Overall Winner above for more about the Heinrich Residence in Guilford .

Lowest HERS Index Without Renewables
Winner Project: Sandy and Jeff Alexander Residence, Stonington, Conn.
Builder: Nick Lehto – Lehto Design/Build, Killingly, Conn.

This category is perhaps the most telling when it comes to quality construction practices, as it ensures that the home is well insulated, air tight, and extremely efficient, prior to the incorporation of renewable energy technologies. The Alexanders' main goal when building was to create a resilient, efficient home that is respectful and complimentary to the home’s surroundings while keeping a close eye on the budget.

Learn more about the Alexander Residence in Stonington by clicking here.

Lowest Overall HERS Index
Winner Project: Janis and Steve Moser Residence, Ellington, Conn..
Builder: Steve Moser, Ellington, Conn.

Having a sustainable home with minimal long term costs was the main objective for the Mosers, and after five years of research and planning, their home is now a reality.

Learn more about the Moser Residence in Ellington by clicking here.

Lowest Cost/Square Foot
Winner Project: Derby Residence, Derby, Conn
Builder: Mark Nuzzolo and D.J. Collins – Brookside Development, Woodbridge, Conn.

One of five zero energy ready homes in Singer Estates, the builder designed this home for the competitive Connecticut Real Estate Market with the intent of bringing zero energy home building to the masses.

Learn more about the Derby Residence in Derby by clicking here.

The Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge is now seeking participants for its 2017 challenge. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2017. Homes must be completed by January 31, 2018. If interested in applying, please visit for more details.

About Energize Connecticut
Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Green Bank, Eversource, UI, SCG and CNG, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at or by calling 877.WISE.USE.

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