Project Team

Other Team Members

Owners: Paul & Joanne Coons
Architect: Bart Trudeau, Trudeau Architects, PLLC
Engineer: Dan Hampson, PlumbExcel Engineering
Green Consultant: Karen Totino, Green Conscience

Ratings, Awards and Recognition


NYS Energy Star
LEED Platinum Certification 2011

NESEA Awards:

NESEA Zero Net Energy Building Award 2013 Runner-up

Other Awards:

NAHB Certified Green Building Emerald award

HERS Index::

Conducting an energy retrofit of our first home, a neglected 1852 Greek Revival, provided us with hands on experience and knowledge. We were looking for a new project and were alerted to a vacant historic 1830 farmhouse.  The front of the home faces south and a bike path that leads to our town center is located on the north side of the property. After walking through the dilapidated building we could see the hidden value of the structure. We envisioned it powered 100% by the sun.

We set three goals for the project, to maintain the historic character, make the renovation sustainable and green and provide an energy efficient building.

We started demolition only to find substantial insect, water damage and other structural issues that greatly increased the scope of work.  Our architect incorporated the newly found damage as well as other ideas from the Building Science Corporation book “Builders Guide to Cold Climates” by Lstiburek and ideas from the book “Prescriptions for a Healthy House” by Baker-Laporte, Elliott and Banta.

We built new partitions inside the existing exterior walls using offset studs, allowing us to increase the insulation, as well as provide a thermal break. The new wall cavities were filled with approximately 8” of closed cell foam.  After replacing the second story roof structure (inadequate for the expected snow loads) we filled the rafter spaces with closed cell spray foam, covered the decking with a recycled rubber roof underlayment, 4 inches of Styrofoam insulation, and finally a standing seam metal roof.

The design required us to preserve the existing room layout and south facing facade of the building. We renovated the facade by reinstalling wood siding, rebuilding the porches, existing double hung windows and wooden storms. In addition, we installed magnetic interior storm windows over the existing windows to increase their energy efficiency.

Care was taken in choosing systems and products for energy reduction as well as local sourcing to reduce our construction and operating carbon footprint.

Quick Facts


Location Clifton Park, New York
Building Type single-family residence
Project Type Zero Energy Ready / Near Zero Energy
Basis of Performance Claim Verified
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2.5
Total Cost of Project $288,000

Energy Summary

Energy Data Type Verified
Renewable Energy System Type(s) Photovoltaics, Geothermal, Other

NYS Energy Star
LEED Platinum Certification 2011

HERS Index 7
Net electricity usage (purchased) 14 kWh/year
Annual renewable energy generated 9,983 kWh/year

Envelope and Mechanicals

Subslab assembly

Sub slab: dirt crawl spaces with two inches of Styrofoam under a plastic liner conditioned mechanical space basement with Anvantech flooring over two inches of Styrofoam and Patton polyethylene sheets

Foundation wall assembly

Existing, R-40 (rater indicates R-15) 8“ of closed cell foam over plastic wall liner with offset steel studs and covered with paperless drywall
Addition, R-20 (rater indicates R-23) 8“ of sprayed closed cell foam over continuous plastic wall

Above grade wall assembly

Existing, R-56 (rater indicates-47) offset wall studs with 8“ sprayed closed cell foam
Addition, R-52 off set wall studs with 8” of closed cell foam

8” double offset stud wall new addition and all existing exterior walls to offset thermal bridging and increase depth of foam insulation
American Clay over existing plaster or new wall board throughout

Door Assembly

The new doors are made by Thermo-Tru and are Energy star rated with a U value of 0.26 and a SHGC of 0.17

Air Changes per hour, ACH50 2.54 ACH50