Princeton, MA Residence

The clients came to visit our Coppersmith Way Development in Townsend on the National Solar Tour in October.  They were interested in building an energy efficient historic looking home.  They had built their existing home some 20 years previously and wanted to upgrade to today's standards.


  • Square Footage: 2500
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2


  • Saltbox with First Floor Master, Open Floor Plan, Vaulted Great Room Ceiling, and 2 Car Garage under


  • 14.4 kW Grid-tied Solar Electric System, 12" Double Studded R-62High/ Low Density Foam Walls, R- 63  Cellulose Attic Insulation, R-20 Closed Cell Foam Basement Walls, R-5 Windows, and R-10 Rigid Under the Basement Slab, ENERGY STAR Certified Rating of-9


  • Whole House Ventilation, Low or No VOC Materials/Sealants/Paints, Hard Floor Surfaces


  • Water Conserving Fixtures, Rapidly Renewable Materials, Low Maintenance Materials

With the husbands engineering background, he was very interested in the details that were evolving on how to super-insulate a home and then power it with renewable energy.  Several times he visited the Coppersmith Way project to see what was the latest and greatest.  During this time, Transformations entered the utility sponsored Zero Energy Challenge in Massachusetts.  We ended up winning the $15,000 prize with our -4 HERS Needham model project.

Krauss Fitch architects worked with the Clients to create a beautiful layout that included a first floor master, two additional bedrooms, an open floor plan with vaulted ceilings and a sun room towards the rear.  Frank incorporated a "barrel roll" in clapboards on the front of the home.  We used Hardy Plank siding on the other three sides.  The first floor windows had 12 over 12 panes of glass.  The front door had bulls eye glass over it.  A large chimney facade stands proudly in the center of the main roofline.

With the front of the saltbox facing north, we were able to get 14.4 kW of SunPower panels on the rear roof facing south.  This helped our Energy Star rating to come in at a -9.  The home is an all electric home and has consistently produced more energy than it has consumed. 

The home has a heat recovery ventilation system and three mini-splits (two on the first floor and one on the second floor) which supply quiet heating and cooling to the home.  An air source heat pump water heater in the basement supplies ample hot water for the home.

The walls are 12" double studded 2x4's with a 5" gap between the two walls.  A 1.5 inch layer of foil faced rigid was added to the outside.  On the inside layer of the sheathing we sprayed a 3" layer of closed cell foam.  The remaining wall was filled with low density foam.  The cavity insulation value of this assembly was R-62.  The R-20 basement walls have 3.5" of closed cell foam and a fire protection coat of paint.  The slab has 2" of rigid for a R-Value of 10.  The R-5 windows are triple glazed and filled with krypton gas.

The home received an Energy Star Tier 3 certification in Massachusetts and construction was completed in the fall of 2011.