Best Energy-Smart Home 2017: Net-Positive in New England
This new home blends the nostalgia of a traditional Massachusetts farmhouse with the needs of a 21st-century family.
Our 2017 Best Energy-Smart Home Award goes to Mark Doughty of Thoughtforms and Stephanie Horowitz and the team at ZeroEnergy Designs for an update on the farmhouse style that meets the needs of a modern family and produces enough energy to warrant a monthly check from the electric company or to power an electric car.
When their family outgrew the cozy 1850s home they had meticulously renovated, Mark and Pilar Doughty were faced with the choice of buying and renovating a roomier historic house or building a new home. They felt that energy efficiency, comfort, and environmental responsibility were essential requirements, and after a few years of house hunting and number crunching it became clear that building a new custom home would be the smartest way to get everything their family needed and wanted.
Renovating and living in an old New England farmhouse prepared the Doughtys for planning their ideal home, but it was still a daunting task. Fortunately, as president of Thoughtforms, a cutting-edge custom home builder in the Boston area, Mark had experience managing the construction of many energy-efficient homes—but he had never been involved with a build this modest, nor one this personal. To make their dream home a reality, the Doughtys enlisted the help of like-minded architecture firm ZeroEnergy Design (ZED). Mark had met the design team at ZED years ago, but hadn’t found an opportunity to work with them until now. “We were impressed with their passion, their integrated architecture and engineering, and their commitment to sustainable design,” Mark remembers. ZED managing director Stephanie Horowitz felt that Mark and Pilar were ideal clients because they brought with them an extensive knowledge of houses, but were honest about the limits of their own expertise.
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