Massachusetts / New England / Passivhaus / Passive House / Net-Zero-Energy / Superinsulated homes


This is a page devoted to people who are building passive houses in New England. I also include here a list of people building (Net) Zero Energy Homes and Superinsulated homes and “Very Solar” homes as well since they (in my opinion) share 99% of the same principles. [*see Footnote 1]

(1) Passivhaus / Zero/Near-Zero Energy Homes / Superinsulated homes — Houses of Interest in New England
These are “superinsulated” homes — lots insulation and careful attention to air sealing. A realistic goal for a *new* house in New England is one that uses 5x less energy than a typical new house being built. 20%. Maybe 10x less (10%). *Retrofits* at this low level are much more difficult to do cost-effectively, so it starts being worth switching over to solar features after doing all the easy to do insulating and sealing one can.

  1. Passive House – VT Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, Charlotte VT, 2010
  2. David Pill – Hillary Maharam ResidenceCharlotte, VT, 2007
  3. Clarke, Montague MA, 2009
  4. Haugsjaa House, Stow MA, 2010
  5. Livermore House more links: John Livermore Deep Energy Retrofit, Gloucester, MA, 2008 (Link 2)
  6. BrightBuilt Barn, Rockport, ME
  7. Cleveland Farm, Martha’s Vineyard MA, 2009
  8. Landau houseNorwich VT, 2010
  9. Moomaw House, Williamstown MA, 2007
  10. “JP Green House”, Zaleska and Ward, Boston MA, 2009
  11. “Pratt House”, Hare, Boston MA, 2009
  12. Passivhaus-inspired home, designed and built by G*O Logic, Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, Belfast ME, 2010
  13. Rice Residence, Colrain MA, 2011
  14. Up Hill House, Cambridge NY 2011
  15. Green Acres Development, New Paltz NY, 2009
  16. Hudson Passive ProjectClaverack NY, 2011
  17. Ross ResidenceAmherst MA, 2010
  18. Beaton Passive House, Shrewsbury MA, 2010
  19. Cape Cod/Falmouth Passive House, East Falmouth MA, 2010
  20. 4D HomeBoston MA, 2011 (Passivhaus)
  21. Redfern HousePortland ME, 2009
  22. Max Horn, Hull MA, 2009
  23. Homes at Easthampton MeadowEasthampton MA, 2011
  24. Unity College Passivhaus — Terrahaus Unity, ME, 2011
  25. EcoCor Passivhaus, Knox ME, 2011

A few other houses from other cold climates which you might not have heard of…
Schoolhouse Deep-Energy Retrofit Ontario, Canada, 2008

(2) Builders of Interest
Any experienced builder could build a passivhaus / superinsulated house / zero energy home (ZEH) but it just means a commitment to the goal and learning some new things along the way. It’s not rocket-science. It just requires an open mind. Here are some who are already doing it.
Transformations, Townsend MA
– Byggmeister, Newton MA – certified passivehaus consultant
– Bick Corsa Carpentry,
Placetailor – certified passivehaus consultant
– Tom Boynton, Shutesbury MA

(3) Architects/Designers of Interest
– Kraus-Fitch, Amherst, MA
– Coldman & Hartman, Amherst, MA
Jon Michael Wyman, Shelburne Falls, MA
Christopher Briley, Yarmouth ME
Kaplan Thompson
John Connell, 2morrow Studio

And other clueful people of interest — Passive House Certified Consultants, etc.
Marc Rosenbaum
– Building Science Corporation
DEAP Energy Group

(4) Solar Heating
A forth list should be solar heated homes, since solar can be another way to reduce heating needs and with the right site with good solar access, should be considered as well., for affordable approaches to solar heating and solar hot water. Useful for DIYers but also as an amazin resource for your builder/solar team.
SolarHeat discussion group. An amazing resource of people. Free subscription required.
– read up on the homes of Norman Saunders documented by William Shurcliff. The basic idea of having a thermally isolated, low-mass sunspace which heats up (and then you use a fan to transfer the heat to the house) is a good one. An extension of this is “solar siding” or “themosiphon air panels” which essentially makes than sunspace 8 inches deep instead of 8 feet. The folks at the SolarHeat group will point you in the right direction.

Other Energy-efficient house blogs

1. There is only some disagreement about how far to go with insulation vs transitioning to PVs, but it is at some level, a trivial disagreement article and discussion: PVs vs insulation / Passive House vs Zero Energy Homes. In the end, it is about being very very energy efficient.