Jonathan is a building company executive, who traces his roots back 42 years to interest in sustainability. Beginning in 1976, he was involved in early passive solar projects, including Jonathan’s development of Massachusetts’s first active solar industrial building for Wright Architectural Millwork, in 1977.
As the founder of Wright Builders Inc., Jonathan and his team continue their dogged pursuit of a sustainable methods and approaches, which include two Living Building Challenge projects in planning and construction, which his company sees as the path to a plausible and peaceful future. As a graduate of the pioneer class at Hampshire College, he learned much about how to derive meaning and success from work. As a leader in innovation and design, Wright Builders partners with architects and designers to produce signature residences, affordable housing, institutional renovations, and business locations. Jonathan and his co-owner Mark Ledwell have provided leadership for the development of Village Hill Northampton, where Wright Builders is 30% complete in its 4th LEED certified and ENERGY STAR project of 28 homes. Jonathan is the author of After the Rain, a book of Poetry published in 2014.
Other Team Members
Architects: designLAB Architects (Sam Batchelor and Kelley Ard Haigh)
Builder: Wright Builders (Mark Ledwell, Jonathan Writh, Jim Small)
MEP Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering (Kaye Palomo and John Swift)
Civile Engineer: Berkshire Design Group (Christopher Chamberland)
Water System Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering (Ronald Furbish)
Structural Engineer: Structures Workshop (Erik A. Nelson)
Sustainability Consultant: Linnean Solutions (Jim Newman)
Materials Vetting (Red List): Integrated EcoStrategy (Charley Stevenson)
Lighting Designer: Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting
Landscape Designer: Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects (Greg Tuzzolo)
Solar Installer: PV Squared (John Child and Chris Krezmien)
Commissioning Agent: Collier's International (Robert Lee)
Owner's Project Manager: Chris Riddle (retired, Kuhn Riddle Architects)
Hitchcock Center Staff: Julie Johnson, Executive Director and Jessica Schultz, Communication and Living Building Coordinator
The Hitchcock Center for the Environment (HCE) is a nonprofit environmental education center in Amherst, MA that has served Western Massachusetts for over 50 years. The Center serves over 9,000 visitors annually through educational programing and events that are open to the public. (www.hitchcockcenter.org) In 2016, HCE completed a new 8,900 square foot net zero energy and water environmental center. In planning for its new facility, HCE needed additional educational space for programing and a building that amplified its environmental education mission as a leader in sustainable design and operation. HCE built to the highest standard of sustainable development in the built environment by taking the Living Building Challenge (LBC). This required HCE to meet over 20 rigorous performance standards that include zero net energy and water and the use of locally sourced, non-toxic materials. The Hitchcock Center is excited to begin the 12-month audit period toward achieving LBC, estimated to begin in early 2017.
Basis of Performance Claim
Modeled, Zero Energy Program
Conditioned Floor Area
7,442 sq ft
Total Cost of Project
Energy Data Type
Modeled, Zero Energy Program
Renewable Energy System Type(s)
Living Building Challenge 2.1
Energy Star Score
Annual renewable energy generated
Envelope and Mechanicals
4-inches of expanded polystyrene, continuous under slab, and around foundation wall
Foundation wall assembly
Conventional poured in place concrete foundation wall wrapped with 4 inches of expanded polystyrene insulation.
Above grade wall assembly
siding over plywood sheathing, over 6 inches polyisocyanurate insulation (2 layers of 3 inch, joints staggered), over air and vapor barrier, over 3/8 inch plywood sheathing, over 1.25 inches tongue and groove sheathing
Hollow metal door with polyurethane core. Ceco Door, Assa Abloy 1-3/4" Trio-E Door.