case study high-performance building
s Inc. built the Farmhouse model
011, achieving a HERS Index of 3.
e for the Farmhouse model (on
lots) is $319,900. That includes a
At the Homes at Easthampton Meadows
in Massachusetts, market-rate
high-performance homes are
a developer’s edge.
solar electric systems on the roofs, enable them
to produce as much power as they consume.
In January of 2010, I received a phone call from
Pam Goodman, president of Beacon Communities Development LLC (beaconcommunitiesllc.
com). Beacon is a multi-family home developer/
manager that has developed more than 9,000
units of housing. It had permitted and built two
phases of a project in Easthampton, Mass. The
second was an innovative intergenerational rental
development for households committed to adopting children who had experienced foster care and
for people over 55 who wanted to be involved in
the lives of children. Pam was interested in doing
something “different” on the third and final phase,
which included 33 single-family homes. She had
heard about our cost-effective construction techniques for high-performance homes and wanted
to see what Transformations could do for her
company at this site.
text by R. CARTER SCOTT
photos By DAvID RyAN
40 November/December 2011 SOLAR TODA Y solartoday.org
r. carter Scott is president of Transformations Inc., a
Massachusetts company that develops and builds zero-energy residential communities, builds zero-energy
custom homes and installs solar electric systems for
homeowners, other builders and commercial clients.
See more information at transformations-inc.com.
y firm has been building renewable energy-powered houses
according to sustainable practices for years. In 2008, we
competed in the Massachusetts
investor-owned utilities’ Zero
Energy Challenge — an experience I detailed
in these pages (see “The Zero-Energy Home
Challenge,” november/December 2008 issue).
After the competition, my company focused on
bringing down the costs of these net-zero-energy
homes. We converted our existing project pipeline with 12-inch-thick walls that, with the help of
keeping the homes Affordable
The Homes at Easthampton Meadow is a
mixed-income development. The majority of the
market-rate homes were expected to be priced
at $300,000 to $330,000. nine homes selling in
the $125,000 to $150,000 range are set aside for
low-/moderate-income first-time homebuyers.
I needed to keep the costs in line to keep this
project financially feasible.
The project had been subdivided and the
homes designed, bid out and were ready to go
online when the housing collapse hit the local
market. The plan was to build to the Energy Star
standards, which at the time entailed a Home
Energy rating System (HErS) Index of no more
than 85. The project was put on hold for a couple
When Pam came to me, she wanted something to differentiate this project from those
in the surrounding area. My goal was to bring
that HErS Index down to 0 to help her sell the
homes. The budget I proposed was just over $102
per square foot for the hard costs for building the
model home. Overhead, general expenses and a