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Green Advocate

A Wood-Centric Build

Cross-laminated timber and wood-fiber insulation combine for a super-tight envelope capped with an integrated-tile solar roof

Matt O’Malia and the team at Maine-based GO Logic have been on the leading edge of prefab Passive House design and construction since gaining a strong foothold with their GO Home in 2017. The model was designed to be an affordable high-performance building for a broad market; its popularity was immediate and continues today. Another of their ventures, GO Lab, was conceived to research, develop, and manufacture wood-fiber insulation products for the residential and light-commercial-construction markets; it is currently ramping up to begin production in spring 2021 (more on that later).

This past year, GO Logic’s architecture division was split off to form a new firm, OPAL, which O’Malia now heads. The move is part of an effort to take on larger and more diverse projects—including schools and multifamily homes—with an emphasis on zero-carbon construction and Passive House performance. That said, they do a few select residential projects such as the one featured here. The single-family house is a pivotal project for the OPAL team—it’s the first opportunity they’ve had to combine cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels with Gutex rigid wood-fiber insulation board (from 475 High Performance Building Supply), and a Tesla integrated-tile solar roof. The project is being built by Chris Pierzga of Country Home Construction; it has been in the works for over three years, and is a few months from done. 

Located in northwest Connecticut, wedged between a road and lakeshore, it replaced a heavily modified 1500-sq.-ft. seasonal cottage that was in rough condition. Working within the confines of the site’s nonconforming status meant that O’Malia had to stick with the original home’s strangely shaped footprint. The result is a single-level design that concentrates the kitchen, dining, and living space in the main part of the house. The master suite occupies the west…

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