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:

We initially met our clients, Deb & Russell Heinrich, during an open house for a custom Passive House we were building on the CT shoreline.   They came to the tour because they were inspired by their experience at a community in Costa Rica to create a self-sustainable lifestyle for themselves in CT and they were interested in learning about the principles of Passive House design.  In addition to energy efficiency, they were also impressed with the overall comfort, the ambient temperature throughout the home, and the possibility to shelter in place; especially since a Nor’easter happened to be raging during the tour.

Once they had conceptual plans for a barn-inspired home and an 8-acre parcel in North Guilford they christened with the name ‘Waystone Farm’, they contacted us to continue the work of transforming their design into the reality of a Passive House-inspired zero energy home that would be self-sustaining and leave as small a footprint as possible.

The result was a home design that included thermal bridge-free double-wall construction, advanced air sealing, superior insulation, high performance tilt-n-turn triple pane windows, mechanical ventilation, and LED lighting throughout the entire home.  Additionally, achieving a minimum target of 1 ACH@50 pascals or less was also incorporated into the performance goals for the home. 

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.

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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