Dormitory Receives Passive-House Certification

By Staff
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Unity College in Maine has the first student dormitory certified as a passive house from the Passive House Institute US.

The following article is posted with permision from G.O.LOGIC.

TerraHaus, North America’s first Passive-House student dormitory located on the Unity College campus in Unity, Maine, has received official certification from the Passive House Institute US. TerraHaus was built by architecture and construction firm G•O Logic of Belfast, Maine. The firm followed stringent guidelines and fulfilled seven areas of documentation and testing to satisfy Passive House certification requirements.

In three short months, TerraHaus was completed within budget, including all site re-development, construction and landscaping. Throughout the design and construction process, G•O Logic principals Matthew O’Malia and Alan Gibson worked with a committee of students, administrators and faculty studying and documenting the Passive House process in real time. Ten Unity students moved in last August, culminating months of immersion in the science and practice of energy-efficient design. Student residents are well-versed in the new building’s features and conduct educational tours upon request.

TerraHaus is the second passive-house certified building in Maine, following The GO Home, also built by G•O Logic. “Passive-House standard buildings can be scaled easily to fit institutional and multi-family uses,” said Matthew O’Malia, Principal of G•O Logic LLC. “Energy savings far outweigh up-front costs to reach the Passive House standard. Over the long term, decreased mechanical and maintenance costs, increased building longevity, and increased comfort for occupants make the Passive House a very strong approach for a wide range of projects.”

TerraHaus is a 2,100-square-foot residence hall, the first to be built to the Passive House standard which requires 86% improvement on space heating loads compared to typical construction. Reduced space heating needs translate into annual financial savings of $3,700 for Unity College and environmental savings of 16 tons of carbon dioxide from release into the atmosphere. These savings come thanks to the dorm’s orientation to the sun, super-insulation, German-built triple-glazed windows, an air-tight building envelope, and a high-efficiency heat recovery ventilation system.

About G•O Logic Homes LLC

In Maine, where temperatures can be severe, people endure winters in drafty homes. Many pay a high percentage of their income on heating. To help solve this problem, G•O Logic formed a unique architecture and construction partnership with the goal of producing Passive-House standard and “net-zero” homes to serve the Northeast housing market. Principals Matthew O’Malia, an architect with 15 years experience in the U.S. and Germany, and Alan Gibson, a builder of green homes for nearly 20 years, together with their team are integrating architecture, design and building systems to create the future of super-efficient, well designed homes, multi-family communities and institutional facilities. G•O Logic LLC is a member of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association and the U.S. Green Building Council. 

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