Net-Zero Modular Homes Head for Peaks Island, Maine
An affordable-housing initiative on a Maine island serves as a showcase for a new line of energy-efficient modular homes
The principal islands in Maine’s Casco Bay have long attracted plenty of summertime visitors. Unfortunately for some of the islands’ year-round residents, however, the islands’ fair-weather popularity has driven up housing prices and squeezed many of folks out of the market.
Concerns over housing affordability on Peaks Island, one of the most populous islands in the bay, prompted the formation of a community group called Home Start, which has launched an initiative aimed at addressing the affordability issue while also introducing energy-efficient modular homes to the community.
Formed in 2004, Home Start bought its first property in 2007 – a house whose relatively spacious, 16,000-sq.-ft. lot inspired the group to ask the city of Portland, which has jurisdiction over Peaks Island, to rezone the parcel for three lots. That request has been honored. Once funding has been lined up, Home Start will proceed with a plan that includes the renovation or replacement of the existing home, which will be operated as a rental, and the construction of two new homes that will be offered as rent-to-own properties.
A different type of island home
The new houses were designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects of Portland, with an eye for the architectural vernacular of Peaks Island’s colonial-style housing stock, but also with the intention of raising its standards for energy performance. Most homes on Peaks Island are seriously deficient in the latter, notes a recent story in The Working Waterfront, which covers coastal Maine.
The houses will be built by Keiser Homes, based in Oxford, Maine, and shipped and assembled by ModSource, another Oxford-based company. Kaplan Thompson has designed all three models – Peaks, Chebeague, and Great Diamond – for modular construction and named the homes after Casco Bay islands. The homes are being marketed on Keiser’s website as the Modular Zero Homes line.
Prices for the Peaks model, a 1,200-sq.-ft. three-bedroom, start at $205,000. Like all three homes in the lineup, Peaks has 12-inch-thick cellulose-insulated double-stud walls (R-40), an R-60 roof, and triple-glazed windows. Solar hot water systems and photovoltaic arrays are among the available options.
[Ed's Note: Phil Kaplan, principal of Kaplan Thompson Architects, along with his co-host Chris Briley, podcast regularly for Green Building Advisor in the Green Architects' Lounge. Phil's partner, Jesse Thompson, makes semi-regular appearances.]
- Kaplan Thompson Architects and Keiser Homes
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