Torcellini Residence: A Focus on Sustainable Architecture and Indoor Air Quality

Market: Residential
Type: Single-Family Home
Location: Eastford, CT
Developer/Owner: Paul & Julia Torcellini
Building Size: 3,597sf
Certifications: ENERGY STAR® for Homes, Indoor airPLUS, DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Project Background:

The Torcellini Residence, a three-bedroom 1920’s bungalow style home, is designed to emphasize durability, reduce consumption, and improve the indoor air quality (IAQ). Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (SWA) acted as the HERS rater and provided ENERGY STAR® v3.1, Indoor airPLUS™, and the DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes certification support. Entered into the 2016 CT Zero Energy Challenge, the Torcellini Residence won the Lowest Construction Cost category ($83/sf), and was involved in a tie for Overall Winner.


Project Services:

SWA provided Sustainability Consulting and HERS Rating to the project.



  • 2016 CT Zero Energy Challenge Winner


Primary Energy Conservation and Sustainability Measures:

Relying on passive design, the home’s orientation maximizes solar gain during cold months, while generous overhangs provide summer shading. Using CO2 as refrigerant, a Sanden SanCO2 air-to-water heat pump provides heat for the radiant floors and the domestic hot water. As an alternative to typical refrigerants, CO2 has no ozone layer depletion and minimal global warming impact. Cooling and supplemental heat are provided by a ductless mini-split heat pump. Double stud walls with 12” of blown in batts (BIBS) are R50 and the cathedral ceilings with strapping on rafters are R55 BIBS while the attic area is over R80. Solar panels are clip mounted on a 30 degree metal roof system providing 9.4kW of renewable energy and reducing the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index from 35 to 2. Energy efficiency is further enhanced by LED lighting throughout the home. Lighting fixtures, electrical plates, and kitchen cabinets were painstakingly reclaimed to meet the aesthetic and limit the amount of new material produced for finishes.

To promote energy independence and resiliency, the home has a root cellar and will be outfitted with a battery storage system for times when the grid is down. Furthering their commitment to low impact living, the Torcellini’s produce much of what they consume by planting vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and raising farm animals such as turkeys, chickens, and pigs. They also have a zero VOC approach to everything that’s brought into the home from the mineral paint on the walls and plant based floor finish to the cleaning products used daily.