Over 130 building & real estate professionals — builders, realtors, lenders, architects and others — signed up for Green Needham’s January 31 webinar, “High Performance Building Design – Do It Smart, Do It Right.”  Attendees heard how net zero ready and net zero homes can be built today — at competitive cost and without requiring a radically different type of design

Our panel of experts discussed how to make these new homes carbon neutral through the applications of thermally efficient envelopes, heat pump technology and solar PV systems.

We believe a new generation of buyers will increasingly ask for and come to expect these homes, and we want to help building professionals respond today.  With new homes expected to last 50 to 100 years, this type of construction is critical to meeting our climate goals

Watch the webinar here.

The webinar included presentations from the following Speakers:

Craig Foley: with LAER Realty Partners, discussed how the real estate market is changing in response to the climate crisis.  He discussed how new home valuations are affected by climate-friendly technology.

Stephanie Horowitz: Principal with ZeroEnergy Design Architects, provided numerous examples of construction techniques and details that are important for the successful design and construction of NZE homes.

Jonathan Kantar: Principal with Sage Builders, a NZE housing contractor, walked us through the construction details of a NZE house recently completed in the Metro Boston area.

Joel Boucher: Sales Manager at Boucher Energy Systems, explained how heat pump technology makes it possible to eliminate fossil fuels from new home construction.

Ed Quinlan: a member of Green Needham and a retired energy engineer, presented the results of an energy analysis, comparing a standard stretch-code-constructed house with fossil fuels to an all-electric heat pump NZE house.

You can watch the webinar here and on The Needham Channel. The webinar slides are here.

Here’s a summary of key points presented in the webinar.


  • If you are building a new home, build with a cold-climate electric heat pump system for your heating/cooling. It is built for our climate.
  • The construction cost is less than or equal to a conventional fossil fuel house.
  • In many cases, this will also reduce your monthly utility bills.
  • You will improve the comfort and indoor air quality of your home.
  • Work with your architect and HERS rater to explore options for increasing the efficiency of your new home with enhanced insulation levels.
  • Add solar to your roof if you have a good exposure and “clean” roof lines.
  • With electric heat pumps and solar, you can make your new house a “Net Zero Energy” (NZE) home without radically changing the look of the house.
  • Even if your house doesn’t lend itself to a solar PV system, with heat pumps you will be building for the future of a clean carbon-free electric grid.
  • An all-electric home (especially a NZE home) has a higher sale value.
  • If you are replacing your existing heating/cooling system, now is the time to convert to heat pumps (and solar). With incentives, you may pay very little.
  • Check for Federal, State, and utility company credits and incentives to lower the cost of your clean energy investments.
  • When you build a home, you are building something that will be around for 50-100 years.
  • Do it Smart, Do it Right….now is the opportunity. Your children will thank you.
Do It Smart, Do It Right – Building Net Zero Homes Today
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