Best of Boston Home 2017

Our 10th annual guide to the finest local designers and resources in the region. We sourced the best of the best, from Newburyport to the Cape.
best of boston home 2017 17 zeroenergy design

Eleven Interiors/ZeroEnergy Design. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Sustainable

Starting right now, we can change how we consume the earth’s precious resources. These engineers and designers will reduce your energy bills while helping you do right.

Boston

Best architect
zeroEnergy design

Stormwater-capturing cisterns, triple-paned glass windows, and renewable bamboo flooring are just three of many devices this full-service architecture firm employs to produce ultramodern homes that are as beautiful as they are eco-friendly.

156 Milk St., Ste. 3, Boston, 617-720-5002, zeroenergy.com.

Best geothermal design
atlantic heating & air conditioning

Jump on the fossil-fuel-free bandwagon with the HVAC buffs at this family-operated Brookline company, which manages system installation and is available 24/7 for emergencies and repairs.

116 Cypress St., Brookline, 617-313-3969, atlantic-heat.com.

Best solar design
great sky solar

This employee-owned company takes the guesswork out of going green: Not only will they install your entire solar array, they’ll also come over for a free assessment to help you determine exactly what your home needs.

2161 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 888-966-0726, greatskysolar.com.

North

Best architect
charles rose architects

Rose and his team take what the AIA called “a poetic approach to design” to projects that are truly green (and not just “green”), from a family farmhouse on Martha’s Vineyard that made elegant use of photovoltaic panels and a green roof, to the physically expansive yet aesthetically intimate 24,000-square-foot, energy-efficient, limestone-and-glass admissions center at Brandeis University.

115 Willow Ave., Somerville, 617-628-5033, charlesrosearchitects.com.

best of boston home 2017 18 howell custom building group

Howell Custom Building Group. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Best contractor
howell custom building group

Certified Green Professionals with the National Association of Homebuilders, husband-and-wife team Steve and Susan Howell put sustainability within reach for all budgets, calling on green and recycled materials for everything from basic eco-friendliness to high-tech water conservation techniques, air sealing, and on-site power generation.

360 Merrimack St., Lawrence, 978-989-9440, howellcustombuild.com.

Best geothermal design
sak environmental

The environmental engineers at SAK apply the same hydrogeologic expertise and turnkey design to their residential geothermal work as they do for such commercial clients as Salem State University and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

231 Sutton St., North Andover, 978-688-7804, sakenvironmental.com.

Best solar design
SolarCity

SolarCity offers the entire solar package, from design and installation of pleasantly unobtrusive rooftop panels to battery backup and a no-cost performance guarantee, plus handy energy monitoring with their MySolarCity app.

800 Research Dr., Wilmington, 888-765-2489, solarcity.com.

West

Best contractor
kenneth vona construction

Ken Vona is not just one of the most respected home builders in the region, he’s also deeply committed to sustainable construction. That starts with constructing a tight envelope, and extends to air-handling systems and water management.

11 Fox Rd., Waltham, 781-890-5599, kenvona.com.

Best geothermal design
keyes north atlantic

This top woman-led design-build firm provides the engineering and construction expertise to help you tap into the earth’s steady temps to keep your home comfortable all year round, without burning fossil fuels.

459 Watertown St., Newton, 617-964-6180, keyesweb.com.

Best solar design
Sunpower by Bluesel Home Solar

Solar is here. It’s simple, cheap, and efficient. SunPower makes it so easy to go with clean energy, you’ve got no excuses for staying chained to the old, dirty power grid.

600 West Cummings Pk., Ste. 4200, Woburn, 781-618-4029.

South

Best architect
saltonstall architects

The LEED-accredited team at Saltonstall Architects takes a sensible approach to sustainability, mixing cutting-edge techniques with what second-generation principal Will Saltonstall dubs “Yankee frugality.”

380 Wareham St., Marion, 508-748-1043, saltonstallarchitects.com.

Best contractor
aedi construction

Boston’s most respected sustainable architects turn to principals Matt Ayers and Marc Beaulieu of Aedi Construction to build sleek, eco-friendly houses overseen by LEED-accredited project managers.

26 Summer St., Hingham, 617-326-8255, aediconstruction.com.

Best geothermal design
new england solar hot water

With its in-house engineers, pipe fitters, pipe insulator, roofer, and other specialists focused exclusively on designing and installing the systems, New England Solar Hot Water has been equipping homes to convert sunlight into renewable energy since 2000.

54 Corporate Park Dr., Ste. 510, Pembroke, 781-536-8633, neshw.com.

Best solar design
solarflair energy, inc.

SolarFlair founder Matt Arner was one of Massachusetts’ first homeowners to power his house with solar energy. His team knows the ins and outs of local town regulations, as well as state and federal credits, ensuring a smooth (and eventually profitable) transition.

190 Pleasant St., Ashland, 508-293-4293, solarflair.com.

best of boston home 2017 20 jill neubauer architects

Jill Neubauer Architects. / Photograph by Dan Cutrona

Cape & Islands

Best architect
jill neubauer architects

Jill Neubauer has been practicing eco-friendly architecture since the 1990s, long before the concept was mainstream. Environmental sustainability is a fundamental of her practice, and she aims for LEED certification on new builds and renovations by incorporating energy-efficient technologies, sustainable and non-toxic products, and natural materials.

15 Depot Ave., Falmouth, 508-548-0909, jnarchitects.com.

best of boston home 2017 19 cape associates

Cape Associates. / Photograph by Jane Messinger

Best contractor
cape associates

With offices in Eastham, Chatham, and Yarmouthport, this lauded firm has been building green since the 1970s. Whether you’re interested in a full-scale LEED-certified new home or simply implementing a few sustainable practices into the construction, this well-run operation will get it done right.

345 Massasoit Rd., Eastham, 508-255-1770; 782 Main St., Chatham, 508-945-1010; 203 Willow St., Ste. B, Yarmouthport, 508-362-9770; capeassociates.com.

Best geothermal design
atlantic well drilling

Whatever the job—new heating or cooling system? Routine maintenance? Emergency repair?—the level of service offered by this business never wavers. The staff is eager, efficient, and knowledgeable about new technologies and incentives.

255 Weir Rd., Eastham, 508-255-1211, atlanticwelldrilling.com.

Best solar design
clean energy design

Founder Tom Wineman has decades of experience as an engineer specializing in analysis of optimal use of renewable resources. He’ll carefully consider your site and tailor a solar-powered system suited to your needs, while his team handles installation, monitoring, and maintenance of the project.

11 Oak Ln., Osterville. 508-563-6990, cleanenergydesign.com.


Yiqing Shao Yiqing Shao, Digital Editor at Boston Magazine bmagdigital+yshao@gmail.com