First net zero, embodied carbon neutral house opens on Long Island

March 23, 2010
What may be the nation’s first net zero energy, embodied carbon neutral home, has emerged from the ashes of a tragic fire that destroyed it last year.

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. —What may be the nation’s first net zero energy, embodied carbon neutral home, has emerged from the ashes of a tragic fire that destroyed it last year. The 4,500-sq.ft., four bedroom, six bathroom house in Southampton has been renovated utilizing both cutting edge “green” building technologies as well as proven energy-efficient techniques.

A consortium of contractors who are members of the Hamptons Green Alliance ( came together to create a house that seeks LEED platinum status with the one of the highest LEED point total for residential construction in the US ever achieved and that is expected to represent a future blueprint for advanced green building throughout the U.S.

The owners of the house, the Dubin family, were expected to take possession of the house and move in the week of March 29. Video on the renovation is accessible at

Using what has been termed IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), the planning and design phase of the HGA House (as it was known during the one year project) project was extensive and included more stakeholders than is typically involved in a traditional building project. In addition to the owner, architect and contractor, this team included other trades that would be involved in the renovation — heating and cooling, plumbing, insulation, painting, lighting, smart home technology experts — all coming together to serve as active participants in the planning and design phase of the project. This enabled the project to run smoothly, stay on budget and be completed ahead of schedule.

Furthermore, the group determined at the outset that LEED Platinum certification for its design would be sought. The team believed that as a result of the overall energy saving and promoting characteristics incorporated into the house, it should achieve the one of the highest point total for LEED platinum status.

One of the key goals of this project was to reach embedded carbon neutrality. While many projects claim carbon neutrality of the operation of the building by being energy free or independent of purchasing energy produced from fossil fuels, this house accounts for the embodied carbon footprint of the components of the home, the carbon footprints of the subcontractors who built the home as well as the embodied carbon footprint of the materials used by this home. It has been the intent of the Hamptons Green Alliance to deliver to the Dubins a true carbon neutral home through the purchasing of carbon offsets from the Chicago Climate Exchange equal to the embodied carbon footprint.

“The Hamptons Green Alliance’s initial goal in agreeing to take on such an ambitious project on a not-for-profit basis was largely educational,” said Frank Dalene, a founding member of the HGA and president of Telemark Inc., which served as general contractor for the project.
“As the project team came together it became clear the owner, architects and HGA members jointly aspired to raise their level of expectation for each of the major objectives of the project,” Dalene said. “To build sustainability and to use as little energy as possible changed to achieving net zero energy, rather than simply a well-built ‘green’ house. Reducing the carbon footprint for the new structure evolved to the home becoming carbon neutral. Following LEED guidelines and being certified turned into become LEED Platinum and attempting to achieve the highest LEED point total for residential construction in the country.”

This particular home incorporates new technologies that have been designed specifically to achieve net zero energy though an imbedded carbon neutral footprint. Since this is a renovation of a building that was destroyed by a fire, the team had available past energy records. This enabled them to have a benchmark for comparison for future energy savings. And those savings are expected to be substantial: more than $250,000 over the next 30 years.

Some of the major attributes that help attain the goals of the HGA House:
• Super insulation design and installation.
• Geothermal heating and cooling.
• Evacuated tube solar thermal hot water for the domestic hot water supply.
• Thin film photovoltaic solar power and conventional solar power panels.
• Rainwater harvesting.
• LED lighting.
• Smart home technology.

The key participants in the work of the project included architects: Ric Stott, Flynn & Stott Architects and Craig Lee, Lee Architects PC; and building contractor: Telemark, Inc. Telemark Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hamptons Luxury Homes.

Participants in the project included (*denotes founding member of the Hamptons Green Alliance): 84 Lumber; Benjamin Moore Paints; Connected Hearth*; Delfino Insulation Co. Inc.*; Excelsior Plumbing & Heating*; Flanders Heating and Air Conditioning*; Home Automation Inc.; ProBuild; Speonk Lumber; SunstreamUSA*; Treewise*; and Tri Solar Power.

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