Melpet Farm Residences, Affordable Net Zero Ready

Project Subtitle: 

Melpet Farm Residences

Project Description: 

The Residences at Melpet Farm consists of one, two, and three bedroom apartments and will be available to people makng 60-percent or less of the area's median income. Twenty-five percent of the apartments wil be set aside for applicants who are homeless, or in danger of being homeless. Residents wll have access to a community room, which will aso have a shared laundy room.  The $7 million prject, which was spearheaded by the Housing Assstance Corporation of Cape Cod (HAC) and Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), came together thanks to funding from numerous sources, including the town of Dennis Community Preservation Fund, and the state Department of Housing and Community Developement.  The property was designed to be near net zero ready and will utilize a 160,000 kWh photovoltaic system to offset the all-electric buildng systems.






Building Type Summary: 

Multi Family Affordable Housing


812 East West Rt 134
Dennis, MA 02660
United States



Lat. / Long.: 

POINT (-70.153523 41.7111058)

Location Type: 


Climate Region: 

Zone 5

Solar Insolation: 

4.25 kWh/m2/day

Annual HDD : 


Annual CDD: 


HDD Base Temp: 

64 deg F

CDD Base Temp: 

65 deg F

Occupancy Type and Details: 

Melpet Farm Apartments is a rental property with 27 units. The residents live in the units full time.

Number of stories: 


Conditioned Floor Area: 

26 000

Conditioned Building Volume: 

28 000

Semiconditioned Floor Area: 


Unconditioned Floor Area: 


Multiple buildings?: 

Total number of units in project (all buildings): 


Total floor area of project (all buildings): 

3 500


Completion date: 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Site description: 

The site was initially used for agricultural purposes and a portion of it continues to be used as a horse farm. Several buildings that existed on the site were used by the Dennis Housing Authority from 2002 until 2008 for affordable housing but ultimately demolished in 2014.

The adjacent town-owned barn and pasture lands were the site of Boomtown, a popular long-running children’s show starting Rex Trailer and his sidekicks Pablo, Cactus Pete, and Sergeant Billy, that aired on WBZ TV in Boston from 1956 – 1974.


The materials chosen by the design team were selected to match a vernacular of the cape. The interior finishes do not include any carpet and low to no VOC paint and sealants. The landscape utilizes all native plants and rain gardens to manage storm water.

HERS Index: 


Annual renewable energy generated: 

160 000

Power Rating: 


Electric Utility Company: 


Datasets and Utility Bills sources and reliability: 

The buildings are only recently occupied. The energy data from the VRF system is collected through a component of the system. There is a plan to monitor unit plug loads to collect and analyze the data and provide resident education if necessary.

Natural gas amount (purchased energy): 


Subslab assembly: 

2 layers of 1.5 inch type IX EPS Insulation

Slab edge assembly: 

.5 inch cement based filler over 2.5 inch type IX EPS Insulation

Foundation wall assembly: 

2 layers of 1.5 inch type IX EPS Insulation

Above grade wall assembly: 

Starting below the sill plate: continuous 1.5 inch sealant impregnated foam tape and 3.5 foam sill sealer, 2 x 6 wood stud walls insulated with dense packed cellulose, .5 inch zip wall taped covered by 1.5 inch foil face polyisocyanurate with taped joints, vertical 1 x 4 furring at 16" oc, and fiber cement siding.

Flat attic assembly: 

Loose fill cellulose insulation

Space heating - Manufacturer & Model: 


Space heating - capacity: 


Space cooling - Manufacturer & Model: 


Space cooling - capacity: 


Domestic hot water - Manufacturer & Model: 

State Hybrid Heat Pump Hot Water Heater

Domestic hot water - capacity: 


Domestic hot water - efficiency: 


Ventilation - Manufacturer & Model: 

475 Lunos E2
Panasonic Whisper Green


This was not a typical design process but one POAH occasionally encounters. We were asked to partner with a local entity who had secured the zoning permit and had the design to a level past the point of major changes. We were able to change the building orientation to maximize the solar PV production and modify the details for envelope and unit to unit air tightness. The debate to use an all electric heating cooling system was decided by a notice that National Grid was not going to be running any new gas service in the area. With that final design direction the process involved review by consultants, cost analysis and drawing modifications.

Finances Description: 

The financing plan includes the award of a 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) allocation of $6,440,773 and approximately $2,000,000 in state capital subsidy (AHT, HOME and HIF). Additionally, a $470,000 CPA award has already been granted to the project.

Total Cost of Project: 

10 000 000

Construction hard cost: 

7 000 000

Gross Cost of Renewable Energy System: 

511 902

Value of Tax Credits for renewable energy systems: 

153 570

Net Cost of renewable energy systems: 

358 331

Cost breakdown info.: 

Utility incentives: 

Massachusetts Residential New Construction Program: $28,000

Annual Electric Savings: 

30 000

Annual Revenue from SRECs or other renewable energy credits: 

25 000

Special architectural measures: 

The original site plan was adjusted to create more south facing roof surface to improve the PV system performance.

Energy Strategies: 

The challenge of building energy efficient affordable rental housing involves per unit cost limits, motivating sub-contractors and effecting occupant behavior. The architectural details were reviewed by consultants for not only improved performance but for constructability and knowing the utility payment structure (the Owner pays all utilities in this case). All these factors defined the energy strategy.

Energy Use and Production Documentation: 

Subslab R-value: 


Slab edge R-value: 


Foundation wall R-value: 


Above grade wall R-value: 


Flat attic R-value: 


Average window U-factor: 


Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: 


Visible Light Transmittance: 


Cost per square foot of Conditioned Space: 


Air Changes per hour, ACH50: 


Number of Bathrooms: 


Site conditions: 

previously developed land

Renewable Energy Sources: 

Renewable energy is generated within the building footprint (e.g. solar PV on the roof)

Summary of enclosure strategy/description: 

Our approach was to balance the building envelope performance with PV production, program and cost. Understanding the PV capacity of the roof surfaces facing south, the occupants and the budget constraints provided the parameters for our design.

Roof Assembly: 

Asphalt shingles over 5/8" zip sheathing with taped joints.

Window Description: 

Paradigm 8381 Vinyl Triple Pane

Mechanical Equipment Installation Details and Comments: 

Daily review by Owners Construction Representative, selected because he has knowledge of energy efficiency construction. Site visits made by Clear Result to perform quality control and blower door testing to evaluate airtightness.

Number of Bedrooms: 


Project Team: 

Team Member: 

Julie Klump
Energy Consultant

Team Member: 

Marc Rosenbaum
Energy Consultant

Team Member: 

Taza Vercruysse

Team Members: 

Kate Ferreira, Housing Development, Housing Assistance Corporation
Julie Creamer, VP of New Construction and Special Projects, Preservation of Affordable Housing
Kathryn Giardi, Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber Architects Inc., Architect
Tom Howes, Delphi Construction Inc., Senior Project Manager
Brian Walsh, Consulting Structural Engineer, Inc.
Brian Kuchar, Horsley Witten Group, Inc., Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect
Wayne Mattson, PE, Griffith & Vary, Inc., Mechanical Engineer, Principal
Robert Bravo, PE, Griffith & Vary, Inc., Electrical Engineer
Jim Ziobro, Griffith & Vary, Inc., Principal, Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineer
Brendan O'Hara, Clerk of the Works



Zero Net Energy Definition Used: 

Site Energy Use

Basis of Performance Claim: 


Type of Construction: 


Renewable Energy System Type(s): 


Renewable Energy System Description & Details: 

Because of the location in a historic district or an area controlled by the Old Kings Highway commission we were required to use an all black panel. Our first choice was the Sun Power 350 watt panel which would have generated more power but we ended up with the LG 300 watt panel. Our consultant managed to minimize the lower performance. Once the residences are occupied for a year we plan to evaluate the actual load versus the PV system performance and potentially add ground mounted arrays to fill any gap.

Annual Renewable Energy Generated Data Type: 


Source of Annual Production Data: 

The PV system will be installed in March so to date our production data is estimated. We are expecting to export during the summer.

Space Heating - Efficiency (e.g., 92 AFUE): 

4.39 COP

Space Cooling - Efficiency (e.g., 16 SEER): 

4.1 EER

Days per year Building is fully occupied: 


Submitter Contact Email: 

Submitter Contact Phone Number: 

(617) 449-1017

Project Type: 

Zero Energy Ready / Near Zero Energy

Indoor Environment Description: 

Kitchen and bath exhaust vent to the exterior. An individual HRV is installed in each unit to provide continuous ventilation.