Marty Treadway is betting the future is already here when it comes to carbon-free living.

By day, as CORE’s Program Director, he’s a Certified Energy Manager and an evangelist for net-zero buildings, the kind that generate as much energy as they use. By night, as a family man (husband to Trina Ortega and father to two boys), he is co-creating a life in Carbondale that is steering away from fossil fuels and toward fun. To flip the switch, he and Trina recently sold their residence across the highway and purchased an old, leaky cold house in town. Good-bye commute, hello energy project!

As they embarked on a four-month energy remodel of the 1968 house, starting with a home energy assessment, Marty found out first-hand what retrofitting a residence to net-zero energy really entails — and almost got more than he bargained for. Now, after restoring his family’s home, he’s renewed his family’s life.

In this photo story, we break-down the steps that Marty took to get net zero done and show how you can do it too.

PC: Daniel Bayer Photography

CORE’s zero-energy guru Marty Treadway at the all-electric induction cooktop that was a key to his family’s switch to renewable electricity. Why the big grin? Super-fast coffee in the morning and carbon-free efficiency all day long.

The Path to Zero:

Step 1: Assess + Easy Action
Step 2: Tighten Building Envelope
Step 3: Electrify Mechanicals
Step 4: Power Renewably
Step 5: Drive Change



This Cold House

Following his home energy assessment, Marty inspects the attic of his family’s newly purchased, 1968-built home from a hole cut through the original roof. “For 50 years, there was more insulation R-value in the walls than in the ceiling. The attic was poorly insulated and the crawl space had zero. Their utility bills showed it: last December it was more than $500 for gas and electric.” 

Asbestos Blessed Us, Kinda

“We intended to just remodel the kitchen and open up the living space when we were doing our energy upgrades. But when the asbestos test came back, we had to gut the entire ceiling and most of the interior walls. Mitigation blew the budget, but once you’ve pulled the sheetrock, you notice faulty wiring and lighting layouts that don’t make sense. Now we have a healthy house and lights where we want them, all LED with the color temperatures we like.”




Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Marty gets cozy in the crawl space with tight air-sealing of cold spots. “The rim of the floor framing is a constant suck of heat from your house. It’s your connection to the outside and heat always wants to leave there. Spray foam increases the R-value, putting serious heat resistance where it’s needed most, and adds the benefit of air sealing”