I practice architecture in mid-coast Maine, a cold area that can experience some of the country’s most beautiful and most brutal weather. This undoubtedly has had an impact on my approach to design. As an architect, I believe I’m composing a long-term picture of resource consumption, durability, and comfort in the homes I help to create. As a result, I feel it’s my responsibility to be as mindful about the implications of my designs as possible. With this idea at the core of my practice, I use the Passive House performance standard when I can to help achieve what we at my firm believe to be a healthy, comfortable, and highly sustainable home throughout its life span. Over the years, more and more people across the country have found value in the very same logic.
It was not a complete surprise when my good friend Michael Klinger—a certified Passive House consultant, a builder, and the owner of Energy Wise Homes in Michigan—called me to pitch a low-energy project in the rural town of Holly. He had already been working with clients Maura and Kurt, who were passionate about building a certified Passive House on their rolling property.
While Michigan and Maine are a considerable distance apart, both are located in the northern tier of the country, and their climates are very similar. I felt that the designs we’d been working on over the years here in Maine would be ideally suited to the home Maura and Kurt hoped to build.
Early on, we established a goal to work within the local farmhouse style. Our early design meetings led to a plan that would strike a balance between design objectives and budget, while ensuring the construction of a home…