Building a Sustainable Future: How Tedd Benson and Unity Homes are Revolutionizing Eco-Friendly Living

In today’s world, many homeowners are looking for ways to live more sustainably and reduce their carbon footprints. For Richard and Ellen, a couple from Connecticut, this meant downsizing their living space and embracing a more eco-conscious lifestyle. By building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on their property, they not only reduced their environmental impact but also created a space that perfectly aligns with their values of comfort and energy efficiency.

Meet Tedd Benson: A Pioneer in Sustainable Building

Before diving into Richard and Ellen’s journey, it’s essential to introduce the visionary behind their ADU’s design. Tedd Benson, the founder and CEO of Bensonwood & Unity Homes, has dedicated his life to developing innovative building techniques that prioritize energy efficiency and sustainability. Since his youth, Tedd has been a crucial figure in reviving traditional timber framing in America. He was one of the founders of the Timber Framers Guild of North America in 1984 and has authored four books on the subject.

A Real-Life Example: Richard and Ellen’s ADU Journey

Richard and Ellen’s story is an inspiring example of how sustainable living can be achieved through thoughtful design and collaboration. The couple decided to downsize and build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their Mystic property, intending to live in it full-time while renting out their main house for additional income.

Their search for a builder led them to Unity Homes, where they fell in love with the Zum design, known for its net-zero energy efficiency. However, the Zum was larger than the 800-square-foot size limitation for ADUs. Unity Homes’ designers worked closely with Richard and Ellen to customize the plan to meet their zoning and personal requirements, resulting in the creation of the Zumette.

Unity Homes used this project as an opportunity to explore new materials and methods, partnering with CertainTeed to incorporate products like blown Fiberglas insulation. The collaboration ensured that the ADU met all design and efficiency requirements, providing exceptional comfort and energy use.

Richard and Ellen chose a package from Unity Homes that included a high-performance shell and a selection of finishes and fixtures. By utilizing Unity’s standard offerings and opting for a slab-on-grade foundation, they kept costs down while achieving their dream of a sustainable, comfortable home.

PLACE and Unity Homes: Aligning Missions for a Sustainable Future

PLACE’s mission aligns seamlessly with the development of Unity Homes regarding carbon footprint reduction and energy efficiency. As Tedd Benson asserted, “Every building that goes up should be fossil-fuel free; there’s just no reason not to electrify and move toward renewable energy sources.” This resonates with PLACE’s commitment to promoting environmental sustainability and protecting the planet for future generations.

PLACE has created the Village marketplace to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste. This platform enables factories to share their production capacity, fostering collaboration and economic growth within communities while benefiting the environment. By optimizing the use of manufacturing facilities, PLACE minimizes the need for additional production, ultimately decreasing carbon footprints. PLACE’s mission encourages eco-friendly practices within the manufacturing industry, leading to reduced waste generation and a positive environmental impact.


Tedd Benson and Unity Homes have shown us the incredible potential of integrating sustainability into modern construction. From pioneering timber framing techniques to advocating for clean electricity, their efforts inspire eco-conscious homeowners, tiny home enthusiasts, and sustainable living advocates.

Richard and Ellen’s journey to downsize and build a sustainable ADU exemplifies how eco-conscious homeowners can make a significant difference in reducing their carbon footprint and living more sustainably. With the help of Unity Homes, they created a comfortable, energy-efficient living space that aligns with their values.

As we look to the future, it’s clear that adopting sustainable building practices and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is crucial. Visionaries like Tedd Benson and platforms like PLACE are leading the way, proving that it’s possible to build a greener, more sustainable world.At PLACE, we are dedicated to supporting these initiatives through our comprehensive housing marketplace. We publish articles daily, providing valuable insights into sustainable living and building practices.Sign up for our newsletter weekly digest to stay up-to-date with the latest developments, or join our community to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations dedicated to creating a greener world.