The Performance House -- A Cold Climate Challenge Home

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Working with builder partners on a test homes allows for vetting of whole-house building strategies to eliminate any potential unintended consequences prior to implementing these solution packages on a production scale. To support this research, CARB partnered with Preferred Builders Inc. on a high-performance test home in Old Greenwich, CT. The philosophy and science behind the 2,700 ft2'Performance House' was based on the premise that homes should be safe, healthy, comfortable, durable, efficient, and adapt with the homeowners. The technologies and strategies used in the 'Performance House' were not cutting-edge, but simply 'best practices practiced'. The focus was on simplicity in construction, maintenance, and operation. When seeking a 30% source energy savings targets overa comparable 2009 IECC code-built home in the cold climate zone, nearly all components of a home must be optimized. Careful planning and design are critical. To help builders and architects seeking to match the performance of this home, a step-by-step guide through the building shell components of DOE's Challenge Home are provided in a pictorial story book. The end result was a DOE ChallengeHome that achieved a HERS Index Score of 20 (43 without PV, the minimum target was 55 for compliance). This home was also awarded the 2012 HOBI for Best Green Energy Efficient Home from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages55
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB), Norwalk, Connecticut

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-58715

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102013-3944


  • accessibility
  • best practices
  • Building America
  • challenge home
  • condensing boilers
  • EE
  • energy efficiency
  • green
  • hydro-coil heating
  • LED lighting
  • LEED for home
  • performance
  • PV
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • savings to investment ratio
  • sustainable
  • WaterSense Indoor airPLUS


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