BSC Summit

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Finish Werks Builds a Zero Energy Home for a Very Happy Family

Harris Woodward, owner of Finish Werks in Savage, MD and one of the leading Passive style, energy efficient modular home builders in the US, had two of his houses showcased in a Parade of Homes last October.

This home was manufactured to his energy saving specs by Professional Building Systems in Middleburg, PA.


Instead of Harris explaining how this home came about being built, I have a first hand account of the process from the owner herself. This is probably the ultimate in a builder referral!

My Near Net Zero Home Built by Finish Werks


By Antonette Vasseur

When my husband, Clément, and I fi­rst started talking about building our forever home we were very intrigued by the Passive House (Passiv Haus) movement. Clément is from France, so the idea of building a home that required little energy for heating or cooling wasn’t so foreign to him. A dream home to us was more than just granite countertops, master bathrooms, or formal dining areas. Truly living in our home and not just working outside of our home to be able to live in it….to live a sustainable life. Not just throwing up some solar panels, but a home that was built to be three times more energy efficient than the average home so little energy was needed, and when it was needed it was offset by solar panel use. A Passive Solar Near Zero home...THAT was our dream.



Clement designed the entire house using the auto cad program Sketch Up. He created a 3D rendering of the house so we could time the sunlight and place windows in locations that would use the sun to heat in the winter, and extended roof overhang to keep cool in the summer. He used computer software to estimate how much energy the house would require, right down to the number of loads of laundry in a month to the number of lights we switch on — or forget to switch o. The idea was to try and gauge how much energy our family uses and how much solar energy would be needed to offset that.

Working with Finish Werks in Savage, MD, construction began on our home in early spring of 2015 in a modular factory in PA. We choose modular build because it’s higher quality, sustainable, innovative, efficient, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and shorter time to completion. Modular spoke to our little eco hearts, and our little budget.

At the time I am writing this, our Near Zero homestead is near complete, with a move in date at the end of August. From the outside it’s everything I had dreamed: red barn style board and batten siding, rustic Y style beams on a wrap around porch, and galvanized gooseneck lights to tie the entire “Eco Farmhouse Chic” style together. But on the inside of our home, within it’s very super insulated walls to the super low E double paned windows and doors, is what makes the dream of a sustainable energy ecient home a reality for us.


Our home exceeds the R values for homes to code:R10 slab insulation, R23 basement walls, R34 framed walls, R55 attic insulation. A modest 5kW Solar PV produces what little energy this family of ­ve (soon to be six) needs. Set to test 10-15 on the HERS scale.

I am excited to say that our near zero dream home became a reality.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the look of this home with the vertical siding and white trim mateline - very clean. But what really draws me in is the science that goes into designing other specs outside of looks - such as energy efficiency. Who doesn't want this? Harris, keep up the good work at Finish Werks!

Anthony Zarrilli said...

Great job as always Harris. Great looking home as well as extremely efficient. Looking forward to seeing you at the conference next week to discuss your work and other ideas to showcase the modular home industry. We need many more builders like yourself in our industry!

Vaughan Buckley said...

Very cool Harris! I remember talking about this house with you at the MHBA conference. Great work!

Anonymous said...

I think someone should thank the modular salesman for making this build possible.

Anonymous said...

Great work to Harris/team and the modular manufacturer/team for putting these homes out there to promote the industry!