Gaining independence with an eco-friendly home

Written by: Hilary Daninhirsch

Its not often that you’d use the term ‘energy-efficient’ to describe a 100-year-old home, but the house owned by Janet and Harris Ferris is a striking exception. In late 2011, they moved into their 2,300-square-foot, completely renovated East Liberty home and have nary an electric bill.

This net-zero design home was the brainchild of Michael Merck, president of West Penn Energy Solutions. Merck purchased the three-story colonial from East Liberty Development, Inc. (ELDI), an organization that is helping to revitalize the East Liberty neighborhood by buying rundown homes and encouraging people to fix them up.

Resources: Arhitect: Allen B. Mitchell & Associates; Contractors: Jerry Ritenour (main house); Jason Jones (garage and studio); Flooring: Masland; Kitchen cabinetry: Rutt, installed by Ida McConnell, Cuvee Kitchen Designs; Kitchen countertops: Soapstone; Kitchen lighting: Second Avenue Lighting; Library wallcovering: Brunshwig & Fils; Furniture upholstery: Pearson; Decorative painting and dog painting: Lynn Smith; Pool mural: Maria DeSimone Prasca

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