Zero Energy

Zero Energy, LLC is a green construction contractor that understands what it takes to build a home that is specifically designed to be energy independent. As an affiliate of Schell Brothers, LLC, we can take advantage of our supplier and contractor relationships to offer the homeowner a sustainable product at an affordable price.

Lance Manlove

Lance is a native of Sussex County, growing up in Seaford and now residing in Lewes. He is married to wife Heather and has two wonderful daughters Lily and Shelby. Lance attended the University of Delaware and earned a degree in mechanical engineering. He is certified green engineering professional and recently was certified to design and install solar. 

Chris Schell

Zero Energy was founded by Chris Schell, a California native with strong family roots in Sussex County, Delaware. After graduating at the top of his class from MIT in Mechanical Engineering, Chris went on to become a successful hedge fund manager. Shortly after attending Harvard Business School, Chris decided to make a drastic career change and pursue his lifelong passion for building homes.

Mike Criswell

Mike Criswell joined the Zero Energy team in 2007 after working for the engineering department of a manufacturing company in Virginia Beach for 10 years. Before moving to Virginia Beach he lived in the Rehoboth area for 8 years. Mike is married to his beautiful wife Holly and has two energetic children Evelyn and Andrew. Throughout the year Mike enjoys fishing, surfing and camping from NJ to Outer Banks.

Matt Adler

Matt Adler was born and raised outside Providence, Rhode Island. He did his undergraduate studies at Florida State University where he majored in Studio Art with emphasis in Graphic Design and Painting. Upon graduation he moved to Providence and did his post graduate studies at Rhode Island School of Design in Interior Architecture and Design.

Ivana Biela

Ivana hails from behind the Iron Curtain — Slovakia, former Czechoslovakia. She holds a Master’s degree in Industrial Design of Furniture along with extensive education in textile design. Her love for traveling brought her to the U.S. for the first time in 2003. Ivana has been part of the design team since late 2007.

Zero Energy is a residential / light commercial green building company located in coastal Delaware.


We build all of our structures to the “National Green Building Standard” released in the Spring of 2009 and are continually striving to be the leader in quality and customer satisfaction.

Also, each structure is third party green certified to ensure it meets the standard. We have assembled a team of CAD designers, interior designers, project managers, and project superintendents that make the building process a stress free and fulfilling process. We understand that this is probably one of the biggest investments you will ever make and at Zero Energy we will work with you to find the perfect lot for solar orientation all the way through to choosing the low VOC paint colors.

The goal of every Zero Energy home is to build a home that is functional, environmentally friendly, and most of all energy efficient. We focus heavily on the building envelope of the home as this is the major component energy consumption. Various techniques that we will use are ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms), SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panels), and traditional framing with spray foam insulation. Each of these methods will yield a home that is energy smart depending on budget confines of the project.

With the implementation of renewable energy resources such as solar PV, solar hot water, wind, and geothermal we can reduce and/or in most cases eliminate a monthly utility bill. Can you imagine living in a beautiful eco home at the beach with NO electric bill?

We can bring your green home dreams to reality at Zero Energy.



Check out what our customers have to say about their experience with us.

Working with Zero Energy was an excellent experience. They are very knowledgeable in green and energy efficient construction methods. Their employees keep abreast with new advancements in a very fast developing field. I was awed by their workmanship and problem solving skills and professionalism. It was easy to exchange ideas and discuss selections. Even my architecture committee was impressed by the dedication of their employees and contractors to keep the site clean and recycle as much as possible. When the job was finished they provided documentation concerning the maintenance of the different components of my Zero Energy home, important contact phones and other services available that has made my move to Delaware a pleasure. I get a lot of satisfaction sitting in my new home knowing that I am contributing to a better energy efficient and green world. Zero Energy helped me realized my dream. I would definitely would call them for any other additional construction.

Sandra Casanova

Working with Lance, Matty and the entire Zero Energy and Echelon team has been an outstanding experience. Their professionalism, organization, insight and genuine care has made this building process effortless and seamless. Their attention to detail and customer service has made our building experience such a joy. So often you hear stories of builders who do not care but we can tell you this team treats us and our new home as if it was their own. We will recommend them to as many people as we can. Their knowledge and craftsmanship are building us a dream come true and best of all it's eco and environmentally friendly.

Missy Orlando & Patty Violini

My husband and I bought a small lot in the town of Lewes in 2009.  We thought it was important to build a house with low impact on the environment both in its construction, but also in its sustainability. After researching the market, we met Lance Manlove from Zero Energy Group and never looked back! We met with the architect Matthew Peterson with some architectural design ideas, which were then neatly expanded to create a vision of the perfect house with a small footprint. The financial plan was managed in an efficient manner, and soon the building began. We live away from Lewes, so were glad to have a responsible and open team with which to work. Selections were made ahead of time with Matty Adler to minimize surprises in cost. Matty was a saint in helping to choose everything from exterior brick to towel racks, paint color to appliances.  We received regular updates from the team by email and by website with photos. Every time we visited, we were impressed by the professionalism and energy of everyone involved. The team at Echelon made it truly a delightful experience to build a house in Lewes, Delaware.

Rebecca Shepard

The main goal with a Zero Energy Home is to become energy independent, producing all that you will consume and consuming only what you need.

The initial cost is typically more compared to conventional construction but your investment will pay off in the long run. Also, many state and federal rebates and grants are available to homeowners who want to build a Zero Energy Home – the time to act is now