A typical triple Decker building in the greater Boston area. Picture Courtesy of MassCEC

Zero wins Triple Decker Challenge Prize

Zero won both the Student Prize and People's Choice Award at the Triple Decker Challenge, a competition hosted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to find innovative, scalable solutions to electrifying and decarbonizing one of the most predominant building types in Massachusetts. With the state having tens of thousands of three-story apartment buildings, it is critical that a cost-effective and scalable pathway be found to decarbonize them. Triple Deckers, as they are lovingly called, were built at the turn of the 20th century to house newly-arrived immigrants working in the region’s factories as an inexpensive alternative to brick row housing. They are fantastic homes, but often woefully inefficient from an energy perspective. The Triple Decker Challenge set out to identify and award scalable solutions to making these thousands of apartment buildings more energy efficient, electric, and net zero.

“Our design approach was to maximize value for the owner,” said Zero Founder & CEO, Grant Gunnison. “We see the biggest barrier to scaling retrofits being the value proposition to the building owner, thus we focused our energy on making sure the net zero renovation package was competitive with a business as usual retrofit. We delicately balanced the project cost, the operational energy performance, and embodied carbon. Ultimately, we were able to provide a low carbon intensity, energy positive design that is modestly more expensive than a business as usual retrofit.”

Zero was awarded a $15,000 prize for winning the People’s Choice and Student Prizes.

“Approximately 80% of Massachusetts’ built environment in 2050 will consist of buildings that exist today,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike in the Challenge’s press release. “Solutions like those outlined in the Triple Decker Design Challenge will be an important step to electrifying and decarbonizing Massachusetts’ building stock.”

You can read more about the Triple Decker Challenge here, and Zero’s submissions below:

About MassCEC

MassCEC is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits, and secure long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. MassCEC works to increase the adoption of clean energy while driving down costs and delivering financial, environmental, and economic development benefits to energy users and utility customers across the state.