DER Grist Mill & Net Zero Home

Interiror of DER Grist Mill

Event Date: 

Friday, November 3, 2017


Plainfield, Massachusetts
Plainfield, MA

CEU Information: 

CEUs: 3.0 AIA LU/HSW; 2.0 BPI; certificates of attendance provided to all attendees

Cost: $25 for NESEA Members, $35 for Non-members

Attendees of this event were able to tour two very different projects: a newly constructed net-zero house and a former grist mill, built in 1850, that has been converted into a residence and offices through a phased deep-energy retrofit process.

Site 1 Details: Plainfield Net Zero Home

This single-family, net-zero home combines modern high-performance materials and the classic design of an old world European cottage. The result is an energy efficient home that fits into the New England landscape.  In the process of building this home, the team focused on decreasing the cost of high-performance building with particular focus on low VOC, low particulate matter, and low CO2. Attendees learned which materials were selected for efficiency, cost, and maintenance qualities.

  • 1,800 sq.ft.
  • 2-Point source Mitsubishi hyper heat mini-splits
  • Zehnder ERV
  • Photovoltaic array
  • Insulated with 8 inches of dense-packed cellulose
  • Scissor trusses used to create additional space
Site 2 Details: DER Grist Mill

The second stop on the tour was a former grist mill, built in 1850, which now encompasses the Kent Hicks Construction offices and residence. The team behind this building had a specific challenge: renovating the building to be an energy efficient office space and home while maintaining the character of the historic property that once acted as the center of the small community. Different approaches were applied to material selection: much of the original material has been salvaged for reuse, while the proximity of the building to the river meant that some new had to be selected with resiliency to high waters in mind.

Because the building was renovated as a phased energy retrofit, lessons learned in earlier phases were applied to later phases – and Pro Tour attendees saw the benefits of that experience first-hand. As Kent Hicks explains, “It's a bit of a time capsule in our thinking over the last ten years of what works in this application- as we've gone from pretty good to really good.”

  • 5,000 sq.ft.
  • Wood-framed construction
  • Original floors
  • Schuco tilt-turn windows
  • Envelope includes: dense-packed cellulose, exterior polyiso, mineral wood, & open cell spray foam



12:30 PM

Doors open, registration, coffee and networking

1:00 PM

Welcome by NESEA

1:10 PM

Overview of projects from host Kent Hicks

1:45 PM

Group Travels together by bus to site 1

2:00 PM

Tour of Site 1: Plainfield Net-Zero Home

2:45 PM

Group Travels together by bus to site 2

3:00 PM

Tour of Site 2: DER Grist Mill

4:00 PM

Group reconvenes to meeting point, reception with light refreshments

4:15 PM

Presentation / Q & A with project team, led by Kent Hicks

5:00 PM

Event concludes




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