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Denise Gannalo's Blog

By Denise Gannalo | Broker in 06840

New Canaan's Celebrated "Green Home" now completed




This is the third article in an ongoing series tracking the building and construction of this  remarkable sustainable house in New Canaan, Ct.



Written by Denise Gannalo 




I have followed and tracked the progress of this remarkable sustainable home in New Canaan for over a year now and recently had the pleasure of visiting Nate and Etta Kantor now currently residing in their new home on Trinity Pass Road in New Canaan.   I have written a few articles as the building progressed but I am so happy to report the end result is truly a winner.  This eco friendly home will receive LEEDS Platinum rating when the exterior landscaping is completed this spring or summer.  It also has received the Emerald rating from the National Association of Home Builders.  A one of a kind in New Canaan, this home is solar powered receiving its heat and cooling from the sun.  There is a backup wood pellet furnace that also contributes to the heating of the home and water but mostly the sun takes care of the job.


Hot water is stored in a 1,000 gallon tank in the basement which heats the home through heat exchangers. The home is connected to the grid but when electricity is produced by the photovoltaics and not needed in the house it is then sold back to the electric company. Currently the home is producing more electricity than it is purchasing. The overall savings in electric run into the thousands of dollars for this 3500 sq ft home with 4 bedrooms, 4 ½ bathrooms and an additional 1500 sq ft in the finished lower lever.  Add in the savings in fuel oil and the cumulative effect is $10,000-$12,000 yearly, a very significant savings.  On the day I visited the home, March 11, 2010, the outdoor temperature was 45 degrees, the thermostats were set at 60 degrees, but the temperature inside the house remained at 69 degrees. It was maintaining this temperature as a result of the super energy features used in the construction, such as the dense insulation, tight envelope and triple pane windows.



The Kantors broke ground in May 2008 and moved into their finished home on December 14, 2009.  While they still have some exterior landscaping to be finished when the weather permits, the home is a remarkable balance between the latest energy saving materials and systems and the warm and cozy Adirondack style and design.  With its handsome reclaimed oak wood floors to the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood detailing in the moldings, beams and trim, every aspect of the home has been thoughtfully designed to lower the impact on the environment.


The home has come to the attention of The People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) which together with the Clean Energy Fund and The Connecticut Green Building Council, plan to host a day of events and tour for 180 people on May 15, 2010. Information regarding the tour is available from PACE.  The home has also received a rating of 14 from the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). The 14 number is very significant as the average home in the United States has a rating of over 100. The lower rating representing more energy efficiency.  


It also has an in ground swimming pool and spa that is solar heated and the gardens are designed and integrated with a natural water collection system and buried cisterns. There will also be a rain garden with hundreds of plants which will receive its hydration from the natural flow of water through the property. In addition to this rain garden, there will be a large organic vegetable garden 130’ x 30’ which will produce healthy crops. The concept is still in the works but Mrs. Kantor envisions some of the produce going to local shelters and soup kitchens.



While the Kantors have lived in many homes throughout their marriage, this is the first house they have built.  It was designed for the Kantors to downsize to a smaller house. Mrs. Kantor feels “smaller is more sustainable, there is not wasted space” She went on to say “most homes have wasted space which relates to wasted energy. In this house, many of the rooms have two functions”.  In their former more traditional home, they had a formal living room and dining room which was hardly ever used. Now their living space is contained into a comfortable and inviting kitchen with wooden center island adjoining a great room which is comprised of a dining area, sitting area, stone fireplace area and entrance to a screened porch. This space is comfortable, lived in and where the family hangs out.  It also accommodates the Kantor’s extended family because when their 3 children, spouses and 5 grandchildren come to visit, there is ample space for the entire family to enjoy.  



The Kantors are extremely satisfied with the outcome of the project and would have done nothing differently because they put so much time and thought into the design process.  Mrs. Kantor said “I am so happy here. The house is environmentally friendly, in harmony with nature and completely sustainable.  It is rustic, natural and beautiful”.  It was quite evident to me that the Kantors truly love their new home.



Denise Gannalo is a sales vice president at William Raveis Real Estate, located at 4 Elm Street. She has more than 28 years experience in the New Canaan real estate market. For more information, call Denise at 966-3555 or visit denisegannalo.raveis.com.


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