Nestled in a Minneapolis neighborhood, this traditionally styled new construction home was designed to not only achieve modern performance goals but also qualify as a net-zero energy residence. “Our livelihoods center around sustainability, thinking about our carbon footprint, and how we’re impacting the environment,” say homeowners Scott and Jina. “[That’s] why we decided to go in the direction of net-zero.”
As with any new build, the structural components were important: foundation, framing, wiring, plumbing, and the like. But in this case, every decision became paramount. Each specific material choice (including its placement) would raise or lower the 3,176-square-foot abode’s carbon footprint score.
The homeowners worked with Kolbe Gallery Twin Cities and local builder Amaris Homes to develop the “deep green” energy efficiency they sought after. This custom green home builder incorporated a double-framing technique to stop energy transfer, a super-insulated basement, and high-performance Kolbe® windows and doors. The clients’ net-zero ambitions even dictated the house’s shape: long and narrow rather than square or wide—which allows for the maximum number of solar panels in the most efficient arrangement.
“Our objective was to generate as much electricity from the solar panel production as we used in the house during a typical year,” explains Scott. Jina adds, “And we wanted the house to look more traditional—like it fit in with the neighborhood and the surrounding houses originally built in the early 1900s.”
Selecting the right windows and doors was a crucial step in meeting the homeowners’ performance and aesthetic goals. With each opening added to the building envelope, energy loss was a risk, but bringing natural light into the home was important to Scott and Jina. Ultimately, they selected Kolbe’s Forgent Series All Glastra® windows and complementary sliding doors. Designed for strength and resilience, these high-performance, energy-efficient windows helped create comfortable spaces with backyard views. Triple-pane Solar Low-E glass with performance divided lites was used throughout the home and showcases numerous casement windows.
“We were glad to find the beautiful aesthetic of Kolbe windows, where they actually consider the way they look and how they perform. [That way,] we could have an old-looking house with modern performance, plus net-zero all at once, which was a lot to ask. But Kolbe came through, so it was really great,” Jina says.
She concludes, “I find a lot of joy in little spots, like the landing at the top of the stairs and the sunroom. You can look out at the backyard and the garden and be really indoor-outdoor all year round.”