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Symbi Homes Presents

The Queen of Zero

A New High Performance Queen Anne Victorian Home in Historic Hyattsville, MD

Designed by architect Michael Romero in collaboration with homeowner Joseph Atkins, construction will soon begin on this brand new, ground-up net zero Queen Anne Victorian-style custom single-family home in Hyattsville, MD.  Queen of Zero’s aesthetic will pay homage to the ornate and stately Victorian era of the late 19th Century, while incorporating technologically advanced materials and building science techniques including Tesla solar shingles, energy-efficient heat pumps, and an exterior shell of structurally insulated panels (SIPS).  Pursuing Zero Energy Ready Homes certification with the US Department of Energy, this project will be a demonstration model for building high quality, resilient, and durable homes 85-95% more efficient than the typical new build. As Atkins describes it, “the bones and veins of the house will be modernized and built to last.”


About the Homeowner

Born in Philadelphia, Joseph Atkins is a long-time resident of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Atkins purchased a Victorian home in 2009, but tragically the home burned down in July 2020. Although none of the existing structure is salvageable, Atkins says it was “never a question” of whether he would rebuild on his premium lot in historic Hyattsville, designing a near exact replica of the burnt structure.  “I saw this new build as an opportunity,” explains Atkins, “the house I owned was built to last the previous 100 years. I want to build a house that will last the next 100 years.”

Atkins recently retired after three decades as a public defender. With this project, Atkins is on the defense again, and this time, he’s designing a defensive strategy against the climate and rising energy costs.  Explains Atkins, “I am preparing for years to come – more energy from the sun, more rain and more winds. There’s no way electricity is going to get less expensive. All energy costs will be going up. I don’t want my kids to be worried about that. I want to be ready for the climate of the future.”  


In his free time, Atkins leads a Louisiana-style party band playing guitar and saxophone. He plans to revive the band’s front porch Mardi Gras parties with the completion of Queen of Zero in 2024.


About Symbi Homes

Award-winning Symbi Homes designs and builds net zero homes. Past Symbi projects were featured as demonstration homes for Custom Builder in 2021 and ProRemodeler Magazine in 2022. As a leader in sustainable single-family home design and construction, Symbi Homes works to educate homeowners and building professionals on the key components and benefits of building high-performance homes. Check out our blog posts and Instagram videos.


For More Information

Contact Symbi Homes CEO Nicole Tysvaer (202) 450-8272,

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