Passive-House Pioneer

Maine passive house

Building Maine passive houses you can heat by baking cookies.

[dropcap letter=”W”]hen he first heard about Passivhaus, Germany’s rigorous energy-efficiency building standard, architect Matthew O’Malia thought, “That’s crazy: a foot-thick wall, all this insulation in the foundation, and triple-glazed windows? That seems like overkill.” At the time, O’Malia was designing high-end houses that incorporated advanced (for the U.S.) energy-saving technologies — things like passive solar and high-performance furnaces and appliances. But O’Malia and his friend and collaborator, builder Alan Gibson, couldn’t just dismiss Passivhaus, or passive house, which uses 10 percent of the heating energy of a conventionally built home: the science behind it is sound.

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