On the market: Newly built Fairfield home an energy-efficient star
FAIRFIELD — The home of the future is here now — a cutting-edge, newly constructed house with a wealth of features that can be celebrated any time of year, but particularly Friday’s observance of Earth Day.
The Colonial at 161 Butternut Lane in the Southport section of Fairfield — north of Post Road (or Route 1) — was built in 2015 and has earned an Energy Star certification. Builder Chris O’Dell of O-Living Experience LLC gave the house extra insulation, a heat-recovery unit, LED light bulbs throughout and tankless hot water.
O’Dell made sure the spray foam insulation continues down the entire foundation walls, wrapping under the basement slab to enclose the entire house, creating an energy-efficient thermal envelope. "There’s no air leakage anywhere," he said.
He also designed exterior walls that are 9 inches thick, double the standard, "so this house is super tight," O’Dell said. But when houses are so well sealed the indoor air quality can suffer. O’Dell addresses that through an energy recovery ventilator, which constantly circulates fresh air throughout the house. It pulls fresh air from outside and pumps it into the house. "It’s like keeping your windows open year round," he said.
The outside air is tempered through the HVAC system so that no energy is expended
Additionally, this is a passive solar house. O’Dell gave it more windows on the south side and created cross ventilation when windows are open during warm weather months. He also installed a Savant Home Control system that allows the homeowner a way to manage the house the way they manage their lifestyle — through use of their cellphone. With the system a homeowner can monitor the property from afar and turn on and off the heat, air conditioning and lights.
The system can be customized to do anything remotely "from running your toaster to how much electricity you use on an hourly basis," he said.
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Best yet, all the energy conservation features will have a favorable impact on monthly energy bills. O’Dell estimates there can be an overall savings of just under $1,000 monthly, although that figure depends on a family’s lifestyle choices.
Safety was also taken into consideration. No VOC paint or chalk was used in the construction.
The house sits on a 1.34-acre level and sloping property at the end of a long cul-de-sac. A bluestone path lined in Belgium block leads to the covered front entrance. There is 4,319 square feet of living space on the main two floors, with an additional 1,281 square feet in the finished walk-out basement.
There is an open floor plan with generously scaled rooms flowing one into the other. The main level includes a two-story foyer, living room/library, formal dining room, chef’s kitchen, family room, a home office and mud room, all equipped with detailed moldings and wainscoting. The family room, which is open to the kitchen, has a stone fireplace.
House of the Week
TYPE: Colonial, new construction
ADDRESS: 161 Butternut Lane
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 11
FEATURES: new construction, Energy Star-certified house, located on a cul-de-sac, extra insulation, heat-recovery unit, tankless hot water, 1.34-acre level and sloping property, smart house technology, Trex deck, balcony, zoned propane hot air gas heat, full finished walk-out basement, five bedrooms; three full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: Dwight Elementary, Tomlinson Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
ASSESSMENT: not set
TAX RATE: 24.79 mills
TAXES: not set
Sets of French sliding doors in the family and dining rooms provide access to the spacious Trex deck that looks over the park-like property. Kitchen features include a large center island topped in granite, white elongated ceramic tile backsplash and GE Monogram stainless appliances, including a five-burner range.
On the second floor are four bedrooms plus a large bonus room that could serve as a fifth bedroom or guest or playroom with its own bath. The master and a second bedroom are en suite, while the remaining two bedrooms share a bath.
The lower level is a perfect recreational retreat for a media room, billiard room or gym.
The backyard is a mix of open and wooded spaces, and bridle trails pass behind the property.