‘Ever-Green Cottage’ A DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Go on-site with Green Building Experts as they explain this MN Green Path Master Certified All Electric Home. Video presented at the 2023 Green Path Building Conference.

The ‘Ever-Green Cottage,’ a 2023 MN Green Path Master Certified All Electric Home, is now complete and ready to set new standards for environmentally conscious living. Designed by the architectural firm SALA and built by McDonald Construction, this home is a true testament to the potential of green technology and design. 

One of the most outstanding features of the ‘Ever-Green Cottage’ is its remarkable Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of -6! HERS is a nationally recognized system for measuring a home’s energy efficiency, with lower scores signifying better energy performance. Achieving a score of -6 is nothing short of extraordinary, and it clearly demonstrates the commitment to sustainability that went into every aspect of this project. With a blower door test result of 287 and an impressive 0.46 air changes per hour, the ‘Ever-Green Cottage’ demonstrates remarkable airtightness, which is crucial for maintaining a comfortable living environment and reducing energy waste. 

Let’s dive into some of the key features that make the ‘Ever-Green Cottage’ an epitome of green living: 

  1. All Electric Home: This home is completely electric-powered, meaning it doesn’t rely on fossil fuels for energy. It’s a significant step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.
  2. Energy Star New Home: The ‘Ever-Green Cottage’ meets the rigorous standards of the Energy Star program, ensuring high energy efficiency and reduced energy costs for its occupants.
  3. Pella Reserve Traditional Triple Pane Windows: These windows are a prime example of how design and technology can work together to maximize energy efficiency. Triple-pane windows offer superior insulation, keeping the cold Minnesota winters at bay.
  4. Fly Ash Concrete: Incorporating fly ash, a waste product from coal combustion, into the concrete mix reduces the carbon footprint and improves the overall strength and durability of the concrete.
  5. EPS 260 ECO Foam Under Concrete Slabs: A thick layer of EPS 260 ECO Foam beneath the concrete slabs provides superior insulation, ensuring that the home retains heat efficiently.
  6. Thermal Break between Foundation: Preventing thermal bridging between the foundation and the walls is vital in maintaining an even temperature throughout the home.
  7. Double Stud Framed Exterior Walls: The 11-1/4″ thick double stud framed exterior walls create an insulating envelope that minimizes heat loss and enhances energy efficiency.
  8. CertainTeed Smart Membrane for Vapor Barrier: This advanced membrane helps manage moisture within the home, improving indoor air quality and structural durability.
  9. Air Source Heat Pump: A highly efficient and eco-friendly heating and cooling system that uses the temperature differential in the air to provide year-round comfort.
  10. Hybrid Water Heater: This water heater combines a heat pump with a traditional electric element to heat water efficiently.
  11. Photovoltaic Panels by Cedar Creek Solar: Harnessing the power of the sun, these solar panels provide renewable energy and reduce reliance on the grid.
  12. Tesla Powerwall: An integrated energy storage system that ensures power is available even when the sun isn’t shining, further reducing reliance on traditional energy sources.
  13. SPAN Electric Panel: A modern electrical distribution system designed for efficiency and ease of use.
  14. EV Car Chargers: Encouraging the use of electric vehicles, the ‘Ever-Green Cottage’ features electric vehicle chargers for convenient, sustainable transportation.