How one homeowner pays nothing for electricity: Go inside the home of the future

Could a Massachusetts home be on the frontier of a new way of building and powering homes?


There is a growing push at the state and local level to shake off our reliance on fossil fuels and power our homes with electricity.

Could a Massachusetts home be on the frontier of a new way of building and powering homes?

"This house runs entirely on electricity as its power source," resident Eric Peterson said.

Peterson said he doesn’t pay a utility bill.

"I have a credit of almost $400 with the electric company," Peterson said.

Solar panels send power back to the grid. The home, completed in 2015, was designed to use as little energy as possible and no fossil fuels.

Most windows face south.

"The windows themselves are triple glazed," Peterson said.

The walls are 14 inches thick.

"It’s twice as thick, it’s twice as resistant to heat loss," Peterson said.

"The future is now we really do have to seriously consider moving in this direction of electrification," Rep. Kay Khan said.

A bill on Beacon Hill dubbed the Spark Act would require that wiring and hook ups are in place in new construction and major renovations so in the years ahead, homes and other buildings can more easily make the switch to run on electricity.

"We are more aware, I think, of what we need to be doing in terms of climate change," Khan said.

Peterson acknowledges that the cost of building his home was 5% to 10% higher than it would have been to build a traditional house.

Two $5,000 mini-split heat pumps cool and warm the home.

"If you drive your heat loss low enough, suddenly instead of a $50,000 to $60,000 heating and cooling system, now this works," Peterson said. "All I pay for here is my mortgage. I don’t pay to heat it, cool it, run lights."

He hopes more homeowners will consider building homes that help combat climate change.

"It doesn’t seem like the average person has much ability to affect these big issues. At least in this case, this was something tangible I could do," Peterson said.