Bright-Minded Home – January 2015

by Melissa Coleman


Q+A with Susan DuPlessis about her Bensonwood home near Sunday River 



After living in seven different homes around Sunday River, realtor Susan DuPlessis and her partner Mike DiPhilippo decided to buy a Bensonwood spec house in the Colony. The 2,500-square-foot custom timber-frame home has one-foot-thick walls filled with Bensonwood’s recycled cellulose insulation, heat recovery ventilation (HRV), and radiant floor heating with a Maine Energy Systems fully automatic wood pellet boiler. 


A: Once the foundation was in, the home was erected and dry to the weather in seven days, with windows and doors in place. It took another 60 days to finish inside and out. This was overseen by Maine Energy Systems/ Bensonwood rep B.J. Otten.    Q:WHAT FEATURES OF THE HOME HAVE YOU ENJOYED THE MOST?
A: We love the aesthetic of the house because it fits well into the mountain landscape and because it’s energy efficient. I’ve lived in the Sunday River region for 14 years, and I can honestly say last winter was the warmest and coziest, despite the fact that the average temperature was 28.6 degrees and there were many mornings at –15 or so. Even with the thermostat set at 66 degrees we returned to a warm home because of the building’s ability to hold heat.    Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE WOOD PELLET BOILER? A: Sometimes there’s a lovely, fresh wood scent from the heating system. It heats very evenly, and the wood pellets are delivered just like an oil or propane delivery.    Q:WHAT ARE YOUR AVERAGE UTILITY BILLS? A: About $220 a month. Our electric is $70 to $80 per month after installing LED bulbs inside and out. We burned 7.5 tons of wood pellets for heat and hot water in 12 months, which totaled $1,792.50. This is the equivalent of using about 900 gallons of oil, but with 11.25 tons of carbon dioxide emissions prevented and approximately $1,600 saved a year.  

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