Architects and Passive House affiliates from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine gathered at the Friends School of Portland for the annual meeting in April. PDT Architects has joined Passivehaus Maine to help expand sustainable building practices and work towards net-zero buildings in New England. Architect Keegan Carmichael attended the meeting.
Since the Friends School has moved to their new building, enrollment has drastically increased. The wall assembly is composed of a 2x6 dense-packed cellulose wood stud with 4” of exterior rigid insulation on strapping and a metal siding. Due to the restriction of passive house air sealing needs, the school does not have a commercial kitchen. The school wanted the most energy efficient building possible, and small tweaks in the building systems allowed for significantly reduced energy bills. Heat pumps run almost 24 hours a day to help regulate the interior temperature. With small amounts of energy used to regulate the temperature, the school avoids peak demand charges and has less stress on the units. Solar panels on the roof pour electricity back into the grid and help with the school’s goal of being net-zero energy.
Due to zoning codes, the Viridescent House currently operates as an office but can be converted back into a house. The office is equipped with a shower and full kitchen, with a south-facing wall that illuminates the open office space and atrium. The building assembly is wood I-joists with dense-packed cellulose fastened onto 2x6 wood studs which sit on a slab on grade on top of 8” of extruded polystyrene. Tidesmart, the client, wanted an extremely efficient building, and with the combination of an airtight super-insulated building and solar panels, the Viridescent House produces twice as much energy as it consumes.
The new school building currently under construction in Freeport will house educational programs and expand the campus. The building envelope is an 8” wood stud with dense-packed cellulose and 4” of mineral wool. Oriented for a passive solar design, the structure will use ductless mini splits for air conditioning. Every classroom has a sink for program flexibility. The new building, with the aid of passive house strategies, is pursuing Maine advanced building certification.