By Shako Liu

WARREN – Renaissance Farm in Warren recently won an energy saving prize from Energize Connecticut, Connecticut Light & Power and The United Illuminating Company among the five winners announced last month. The fourth-annual Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge is a statewide design and build competition for single and multi-family homes, according to a press release. The farmhouse in Warren was among the 11 homes across the state built between June 1, 2012 and December 1, 2013, featured in this year’s competition.

Renaissance Farm was awarded $5,000 cash prize under the category of “Lowest Overall HERS Index.” The builder was J&P Building and Remodelling LLC. in Norfolk, and the architect is CK Architects in Guilford.

According to the release, participants were challenged to construct high-efficiency homes that consume little or no energy, and ZEC awarded the winners with cash prizes. It used RESNET Rating Standards to determine each home’s Home Energy Rating Score Index (HERS Index), a nationally-recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance. In the HERS Index, the lower the number is, the more energy efficient the home will be. A score of zero represents a net zero energy home.

In the video created by ZEC, the Russell Campaigne, the architect, said the design was to be a practical farmhouse. Campaigne designed the house into layers, used double hung windows, installed solar panels on the roof, and heated with electricity. Renaissance Farm’s HERS Index is minus 34, comparing to 100 of a standard home, the lowest of all the homes in ZEC.

“We also put a secondary system in the Energy Recovery Ventilator, ERV, is set up in a way that draws the air through the house as it exchanged air with the outside,” Campaigne said in the video.

Jamie Howland of Environment Northeast and chair of Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board said in the release that they saw the lowest HERS Index ever.

“This year’s participants demonstrated that designing and building super high-efficiency residences that reduce energy use and energy bills, as well as deliver the comfort that a typical home provides, is more achievable than ever,” Howland said.