3-Question Interview: No electricity bills? No heating bills? Living net-zero in Ogunquit

3-Question Interview: No electricity bills? No heating bills? Living net-zero in Ogunquit

by, Wells Energy Advisory Committee

Here’s another of our short interviews with Wells area residents who have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. If you know someone who has taken similar steps, we’d love to talk to them. Please contact WEAC Chair, Beth Widmayer.

Net-Zero Home with Ogunquit resident, Jennifer Walker

1. Tell us about your home and why you wanted to go net-zero?

I wanted to do something to help the environment, and since I needed a new home, this was a good fit. It was designed by Shelter Kit out of NH- I did a lot of research on net zero/low carbon homes, and they had a great product and very reasonable prices. I had a hard time finding a contractor. Most builders think it will cost too much or be too complicated- I went through a bunch of recommendations before I found someone to build my home. There was no problem getting a mortgage- the bank treated it as a conventional home- they didn’t even notice that there wasn’t a boiler. I’ve made a video about my home if you’d like to check it out.

→  View YouTube Video  ←

2. What about costs and savings?

It cost about $350K to build my home, including the solar panels and the landscaping. I pay $12/month to CMP to be attached to the grid- other than that, I just pay my mortgage/taxes and insurance- no energy bills! The costs were also kept down by tax rebates for my solar panels, hot water tank, mini-splits, and insulation. In terms of resale value, I think net-zero makes my home much more valuable- since there are no bills, it’s perfect for someone on a fixed income- no surprises. I’ve lived here for 2 years, and it has been great. The best part of living here is No bills, and knowing I’m doing something good.

3. Can you talk about specific energy saving features of your house?

Solar panels were my best decision- I have 22 solar panels on my roof which generate 10 Mwh/year. The payback has gotten much shorter, with the cost of oil/gas rising and solar installation costs coming down. Spray foam insulation is also a very cost-effective product- although harder to install in an older home. My house is super insulated- all of the exterior walls and roof have spray foam- no venting- called a hot roof- my house always stays in the low fifties in the winter, without any heating. For heating (and AC) I have 5 Mini Splits/Heat Pumps. Each room has its own zone. My only regret was that I ran out of funding before I could install radiant floor heating, as a backup. To bring in fresh air without losing heat (or coolness in summer) I have HRVs (air exchangers). All of my appliances are electric and Energy Star rated. My home is all electric- no fossil fuels anywhere!

The Wells Connector (constantcontact.com)

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