2017 NHSaves Drive to Net Zero Home Competition Participant

Steve’s Custom Homes

Applicant: Cheryl Kenney
Project Address: 64 Pine Street Portsmouth, NH
Builder Website: http://stevescustomhomes.com/

Project Overview

General Project Overview:

  • This new Modular residence accommodates the owners’ desire for a comfortable, bright inviting interior space with the design in keeping with the well-established Seacoast neighborhood.
  • The addition of an insulated two-car garage with recharging station provides a spot for an anticipated electric vehicle.
  • This Home is a 2,220-square foot.

Special Features:

  • First floor nine-foot ceilings, open concept design and no upper kitchen cabinets all contribute to the sense of bringing the outside in via energy efficient windows.
  • A functional butler’s pantry adjoining the kitchen with deep sink, double drainboard and ENERGY STAR dishwasher separates the meal clean-up space from social gathering space at the peninsula.
  • The first-floor guest suite can readily accommodate the owners or guests with mobility issues.
  • The second-floor features two spacious side-by-side offices, each with its own Mitsubishi mini-split to accommodate the individual comfort temperature of both occupants.

Orientation and Envelope:

  • Building lot and house design accommodated a southwest roof orientation with adequate exposure for solar array.
  • Home energy Rating Scored (HERS) score of __
  • Blower door result of ___ NH code is 7 ACH50
  • Two-inch rigid foam insulation was installed under the poured concrete slab and outside the foundation walls.
  • The home was insulated at the factory in Pennsylvania, then-once in place- was wrapped with two-inch rigid foam insulation.
  • R-60 Cellulose was blown into the attic.
  • Exterior and interior walls were built with off-set studs for improved sound isolation from outside noise and room to room noise.
  • A perimeter drain provides effective drainage to keep basement dry and free of water or snow-melt.

Heating Cooling and Hot Water:

  • Mitsubishi ductless mini-splits provide heating and cooling throughout the living space, including the basement.
  • AO Smith hybrid hot water heater functions effectively with “smart grid” hybrid feature to reduce energy usage.
  • Schluter floor-heating mat was placed under the bathroom tiles on first and second floor in the walking zone to reduce the need for higher room temperature settings.


  • Ventilation is achieved with an ERV system. The programmable control allows the owners to select the level of air exchange desired for comfort.
  • The house also utilizes energy efficient casement windows which will provide cross ventilation to reduce cooling costs.


  • 100% of the house is outfitted with LED bulbs or fixtures.
  • Basement is designed with “lighting zones” in separate work spaces so small-area lighting can be used rather than “one switch lights all”.
  • Charging station for tools was installed in basement to turn on and off with one switch and reduce the amount of “phantom” loss.
  • Samsung refrigerator with door-in door feature to preserve interior temperature for commonly accessed items.
  • Sears induction stove with efficient convection oven.
  • Maytag Bravos clothes washer with sensing feature to effectively set water level for maximum cleaning with minimal energy use.
  • Maytag Bravos dryer also with sensing feature to adjust time and heat for efficient drying.


  • Solar array has been designed by Solar City
  • Solar array has been designed and calculated to offset electrical costs.
  • Owners will continue to take full advantage of their wind-and solar- wooden dryer racks on the back deck

Resources sustainability features:

  • High Efficient HVAC, Hot Water, Appliances and Lights.
  • Building Integrated Solar Photovoltaic System.

Project Team

Designer: Steve Melbourne, Gilford, NH, & Steve’s Custom Homes Inc., Turner, ME

Original design work by Steve Melbourne was provided to Steve Adamczyk of Steve’s Custom homes, Inc. to be reworked for this modular build. Steve served as liaison between the owners and Professional Building Systems.

Builder: Steve’s Custom Homes, Inc., Turner ME & Professional Building Systems, Middleburg, PA

Steve’s Custom Homes, Inc. is a custom home builder that specialized in building high-quality energy efficient, personalized residences that maximize the client’s investment value while delivering exactly what the client desires.

Professional Building Systems, Inc. (PBS) founded in 2000 has grown to become one of the largest modular manufacturers on the East Coast. Producing over 1,000 living units per year.

Heating & Air Conditioning: D&D Mechanical, Turner, ME

Insulation Contractor: Professional Building Systems, Middleburg, PA

Renewables: Solar City/Tesla

HERS Rater: GDS Associates, Inc. Engineers & Consultants, Manchester, NH

GDS provides commercial and residential energy consulting, HERS rating and other certification services throughout New Hampshire. Clients include designers, builders, and homeowners of single- and multifamily homes who want to build healthy, durable and energy-efficient homes that provide unsurpassed comfort for their occupants.  GDS has worked with the NH Utilities for well over a decade certifying thousands of ENERGY STAR Homes.

Project Photos

Project Specifications