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Case Study: The Thomaston Net Zero Project

We’re helping renovate this 170-year-old farmhouse to meet the latest in Net Zero building standards without losing its historic character.

The Eversource New Construction Energy Efficiency team is helping homeowners Steve and Ann Dunsky renovate their old family home, a 1850s farmhouse in Thomaston, Connecticut, with the latest in energy-efficient technology. 

The beautiful house was an example of historic New England architecture, but the lack of insulation and outdated heating, lighting and mechanical systems left much to be desired in terms of comfort and efficiency.  More importantly, the Dunskys wanted to do whatever they could to “de-carbonize” their life, given the urgency of the climate crisis.  

“We will all have to make the transition from fossil fuels at some point in the coming decades,” says Steve Dunsky, “We hope our project will inspire others to take action before the effects of global warming become even more catastrophic.”

The goal is a Net Zero home – a home that uses no more energy than it produces on site. This is accomplished with high efficiency building techniques and mechanical systems and remaining energy needs are met with onsite generation, such as solar panels.

The Dunskys contacted Eversource early on in the design process to maximize energy-savings and maintain as much of the historic character of the home as possible, making their dream of a Net Zero home with historic charm a reality.

The project incorporates an addition and a total renovation of the original interior. The team will:

  • Make the house air-tight and highly insulated
  • Install double-pane Low-E3 windows and thermally-insulated doors
  • Use only ENERGY STAR® appliances and LED lighting
  • Install a geothermal heat pump system to replace the oil-fired furnace
  • Build a masonry heater to be supplied with wood from the property
  • Use high efficiency domestic water heaters
  • Design a ground-mounted solar array with battery storage to produce 100 percent of the electricity needs for the house and outbuildings
  • Install EV chargers in the garage for their electric vehicles
  • Implement water conservation measures including a 2000 gallon cistern for capturing rain water runoff from the roof and drains

September 15: After months of planning, the team broke ground on the project. Wonderful old timbers from a portion of the house that was deconstructed have been sorted, de-nailed and prepared for reuse in the new addition.

November 30: The team has been hard at work on the basement of the new addition, including digging out the ground, laying the foundation and building the walls. The team took special care to build around the farm’s original well, which was hand built and is still full of water after more than 150 years.

December 14: The basement of the addition has been completed and the team set to work laying flooring and building up the walls. The goal is to have the addition completely framed by the end of the year.

The renovation project is underway.  We will be updating this page regularly to give you a behind-the-scenes view as this project progresses. Be sure to check back for updates!

King Energy, Geothermal

EcoHome Comfort Systems, HVAC

Marc LeMieux, Plumbing Contractor

Larry Low, Electrical Contractor

Andrzej Grzadziel, Masonry Heater

Wayne Tobin, Builder

Larry Whalen, Jr., Site Preparation

Paul Hinkel and Susan Gaile of Hinkel Design Group, Architects

Jared Mongitore, R&M Insulation

Tim Poole of Home Energy Technologies, HERS Rater 

The Eversource New Construction Energy Efficiency team provides expertise and incentives to help make new construction and major renovation projects of all types more efficient.

From just energy efficient to Net Zero and Passive House, the team can help you lower your carbon footprint from the ground up. Engage with us early on to maximize savings and incentives. 

As a sponsor of the Energize Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge and the NHSaves Drive to Net Zero Home Competition, and through our support of Passive House construction in Massachusetts and Connecticut, Eversource is helping make low-carbon, sustainable construction the norm in the Northeast.

For more information about how we can help you with your new construction or major renovation project, you can visit our New Construction page.

Have a commercial or industrial project? We offer solutions for those too.