Thousand Home Challenge

I was reading The Right Target, a post on Marc Rosenbaum’s blog a few weeks ago and realized that we too might be able to qualify for the Thousand Home Challenge.

The goal of the Thousand Home Challenge is to reduce the energy usage of 1,000 homes by 70 to 90%. It outlines two paths to meet the challenge. Option A is a specific reduction from current usage. We’re going to ignore that since we’re building a new house.

Option B seems to blend aspects of both passivhaus and net-zero. It is based on a low energy target and verified using actual energy usage data over a year. Renewables like our solar PV array, count as credits toward meeting our target. (I think the net-zero house movement would benefit from having a low energy target to avoid the ‘6,000 sf house with a 20 kW array’ problem.)

The target is based on a combination of climate, size, number of occupants, heat source and whether it is attached or detached. They have a handy spreadsheet you can download at the thousand home challenge website. Just punch in your numbers and it will tell you your target.

Here’s the run down on our inputs.

  • Climate – The closest weather station data was determined to be North Adams, Massachusetts, but I chose Glen Falls, New York, since this is what we used in the original energy calculations.
  • The home’s finished floor area is 1,200 sf.
  • Two occupants, not counting critters.
  • Detached single home.

Based on that scant information, the threshold calculator produced a target value of 5,619 kWh/year (site energy) if using electricity for heating. This works out to roughly 19.2 million BTUs/year.

If you remember back to our earlier energy posts, our energy consultants estimated our yearly energy use at 5,995 kWh/year, or 20.4 million BTUs/year.

So if we ignore the solar PV array, we would be roughly 376 kWh short of meeting the Thousand Home Challenge.

I like a challenge, so I’ve signed us up for more information and to start the application process. I’ll post more info as we progress through the process.

2 Responses to “Thousand Home Challenge”


  1. 1 e 14-July-2011 at 3:58 pm

    It’s for existing homes, not new construction. Or am I wrong?

    • 2 Larry 15-July-2011 at 8:49 pm

      That was my question too. I emailed Linda Wigington at 1k challenge and she said that it’s considered ‘existing’ at the one year monitoring period.


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