This article was originally featured on our sister site BUILDER.
5 Singer Village Drive, the latest home in Brookside Development’s Singer Village community in Derby, Connecticut, has been completed and is currently available for sale. Singer Village is Connecticut’s first zero-energy ready subdivision, which when complete will feature seven net zero energy ready homes arranged around the property’s existing Historic Singer Home.
Singer Village was conceived in 2011 by Woodbridge, Conn. Developer Mark Nuzzolo, who resolved to preserve and enhance the Singer estate while he transformed the land around the Singer Home into a zero-energy community.
“The Yudkin/Singer mansion is the focal point and inspiration for the subdivision,” Nuzzolo said in a release. “During its day, the estate home signified luxury and comfort, and featured modern home building technologies such as its stone façade. Those are attributes and design features we look to incorporate into our 21st century, green-certified, zero energy ready homes.”
The Historic Singer House was built in 1927 by the Singer Estate’s former owners – OliveVouletti Whitlock Randall, granddaughter of Singer Sewing Machine magnate Isaac Singer, and her husband Walter Randall. In the 1950s, attorney and developer Harold Yudkin purchased the estate, developed most of its 200 acres into homes and businesses, and lived with his family in the Historic Singer House until 2011. The home and its remaining six acres were donated to the Valley Community Foundation, from whom Brookside purchased the parcel.
Nuzzolo had been building ENERGY STAR certified homes since 2004, but after the recession he felt that he needed to make a greater change in his process. He made it his mission to build his homes according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program standards, and sought assistance on this front from the Energize Connecticut Residential New Construction program, which provides both technical guidance in energy efficient building and design and financial incentives to do so.
Nuzzolo designed and constructed the community’s first model home with the help of Sri Puttagunta, a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater and Steven Winter Associates sustainability consultant. The model home, which won in the “Most Affordable” home category in Energize Connecticut's Zero Energy challenge in 2013, saves its occupant over $20,000 in energy bills over the course of 10 years, compared to a home only built to code. Over a 15-year period the savings exceed $34,000, and compared to a home ten years older they exceed $58,000 in the same period.
Most if not all of these costs are saved by the home’s solar roof. The home lots are also specifically configured to minimize soil disturbance and maximize solar energy collections, and the community’s “rain gardens” are designed to retain storm water and defend against drought.
The Singer Village community is also a recent recipient of the “2016 Best Green Energy-Efficient Single Family Community” award, as well as the “2016 Best Green Energy-Efficient Home” award for 5 Singer Village Drive, from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut, among many other awards. It is working toward being the first multi-star certified Connecticut development under the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building program.
Four out of the five zero energy ready homes built so far in Singer Village are occupied. 5 Singer Village Drive and the Historic Singer House are currently available for sale, and two as-yet vacant lots remain.