2016 Challenge Participant:

Celebration Green Design & Build - Heinrich Residence

Applicants: Russell Heinrich, Deb Heinrich

Project Address: 51 Wimler Lane, Guilford, CT 06437

Bdrms./Sq. Footage: TBD

Builder Website: www.www.celebrationgreen.com

Project Overview Project Specifications Project Team Project Photos
The Celebration Green Design & Build - Heinrich Residence project in Guilford, CT.

General project overview:

After spending time at an environmentally conscious community in Costa Rica, Deb & Russell Heinrich decided to create a self-sustaining lifestyle for themselves in Connecticut.  Because of this interest, they attended an open house for a completed Zero Energy Passive House built by Celebration Green Design & Build on the CT shoreline to learn how the principles of Passive House design and construction, considered to be the most rigorous standard for energy efficiency, might be employed to enable them to achieve their dream. 

Once the Heinrichs had conceptual plans for a barn-inspired home and an 8-acre parcel in Guilford they christened with the name ‘Waystone Farm’, they contacted Bill Freeman, of Celebration Green Design & Build, to continue the work of transforming their design for a high performance home into the reality of a zero energy home that would leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. To achieve these goals but also provide other quality of life benefits such as year-round comfort, superior indoor air quality, and the ability to shelter-in-place, Celebration incorporated a total system approach, with an eye on the passive house building standard, to every design and construction detail of Waystone Farm.

The result is a home built according to the hallmarks of the passive house standard --  thermal bridge-free double-wall construction, advanced air sealing, high-efficiency insulation, high performance tilt-n-turn triple pane windows, and a mechanical ERV ventilation system that provides a continuous supply of filtered, healthy air to primary living spaces. To maximize energy savings, an induction cooktop, Energy Star appliances, and LED lighting are installed throughout the entire home.  To achieve net zero energy potential, renewal energy sources include a geothermal heating & cooling system and a 12.6Kwh rooftop solar array.

Clad in barn-red fiber cement siding and highlighted by a cupola, Waystone Farm is a handsome two-story, 3400 sq. ft. home that complements its bucolic setting in North Guilford. Inside, the main floor is spacious, comfortable and open.  The heart of the home -- kitchen, dining and living room are accentuated by a stunning vaulted ceiling with sweeping views up to the 2nd floor balcony and the cupola, also open to views from below.  While the cupola floods the home with pleasing natural daylight, wireless multi-color LED ribbon lights, activated by a smartphone, provide mood lighting in a rainbow of hues to be enjoyed from inside or outside the home.

Passive House quality doors and triple-pane windows, custom designed with a farmhouse pattern, afford views of the edible landscaping, the beehive, occupants to come – goats and chickens, and the greenhouse to be built with excess materials from the construction of the home.

A final blower door test of 0.4 ACH@50 pascals indicated that the home surpasses the robust air-tightness criteria of 0.6 ACH50 for passive house.  Further performance metrics were run and revealed that the home also meets the annual heating and cooling demand for passive house.

With a final HERS score of -8, the Heinrich’s dream of realizing a self-sustaining, or zero net positive lifestyle at Waystone Farm, seems readily attainable.

Special Features:

  • New 3400 sq. ft. zero net positive home with an eye on the Passive House building standard.

  • Barn-inspired design elements include a cupola, board and batten siding, and PH approved tilt-n-turn windows that were custom designed in a farmhouse pattern with grids between the glass.

  • Root cellar in the basement to serve as the primary cold storage for food organically grown and/or raised.

  • LOBA, a low VOC ultra-matte finish was applied to all the hardwood floors for a more natural finish that will never need sanding.

Orientation and Envelope: (windows, insulation, framing)

  • Through consultation with the surveyor and the solar engineer, we re-oriented the house to solar south to achieve the highest efficiency of the PV array.

  • Also, the garage was originally set on the right side of the house but after test holes were dug for the chosen house location and ledge was discovered, we recommended that we mirror image the setting of the house to avoid having to blast rock.  In addition to a considerable cost savings for our client, the advantage of flipping the house to its mirror image was a shorter lay-out for the relatively long driveway leading up to their home.

  • Envelope: 

    • R-44 Floor: 10” Floor joist filled with 3” closed cell foam and R 23 mineral wool insulation

    • R-49 Walls: 10.5” Double-stud walls filled 2” closed cell foam and dense pack cellulose

    • R-51 Roof: 10” rafter filled with 3” closed cell foam & high density fiberglass batt insulation

    • Cupola: R-49 Roof filled with 7” closed cell foam and R35 Walls filled with 3” closed cell foam.

    • Windows: Klearwall R-7.14 Klearwall triple glazed Passive House approved tilt-n-turn windows and doors

    • Air-sealing included taping the plywood to the foundation, taping all seams and around the windows & doors.

    • House performed 60% better than goal with a final blower door test result of 0.4 ACH@50 pascals.

Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water:

  • The heating and cooling for the home is provided via a 3-ton Water Furnace Series 7 Geothermal heat pump

  • Water heating is provided via a Steibel Eletron 300E DHW 80 gallon water heater


  • Ventilation is achieved with a Zehnder ERV

  • The only penetration to the outside that isn’t mechanically controlled is the dryer and that is magnetically controlled.


  •  LED lighting technologies throughout the entire home


  • In order to meet their long-term goal of being zero net positive as energy storage becomes practical, a geothermal heating & cooling system and PV array were integrated into the design of the home.  The energy rater provided load calculations based on the materials that were going to be used in the home and the HVAC contractor provided input to ensure the geothermal system was right-sized for the home.

  • 3 Ton Waterfurnace geothermal heat pump

  • 12.6 KwH PV array

Resources Sustainability Features:

  • The Heinrichs’ goals to live as self-sustainably as they can at Waystone Farm will be achieved by the synergy created by the design, construction & performance of their home and their intended use of their 8 acres of land:
    • To grow most of their own food organically and compost waste
    • To raise goats & chickens and keep bees
    • To include edible landscaping
    • To use their basement root cellar as their primary cold storage
    • To build a greenhouse with salvage and excess materials generated throughout construction of their home (kept on site to be repurposed).
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