Breaking News
More () »

Organization trains builders to create more energy-efficient 'passive homes'

"Now, it's getting incorporated into some states' building codes, so it's becoming much more mainstream," Alan Gibson, a Maine architecture firm owner, said.

MAINE, USA — Housing in Maine remains a common conversation. Whether it's not enough housing, finding affordable housing, or a lack of energy-efficient housing options, it's a topic that isn't going away anytime soon.

An organization called passivhausMAINE is working to train builders and inspectors in the state on a worldwide building method known as a "passive home," which tackles a more energy-efficient way to build homes and how to meet standard code.

"It's still a very niche concept," Alan Gibson, owner of Maine architecture firm GO Logic LLC, said.

Gibson has been using this building concept for 12 years and said his company has built more than 120 passive homes.

"The interest has grown tremendously, and now it's getting incorporated into some states' building codes, so it's becoming much more mainstream," Gibson said.

The building standard creates durable and energy-efficient homes and structures. What makes this concept different is its insulation, mechanical ventilation, high-performance windows, and doors. It's also built without thermal bridges, according to Gibson.

Jeff Wallace, an inspector and Bangor's director of code enforcement, said this standard is starting to catch more traction.

"I would probably, from my experience, assess it as new wave," Wallace said.

According to a MaineHousing report from September, the state's 746,793 housing stock is the eighth oldest in the country.

Twenty-four percent of Maine's homes were built before 1939, while 32 percent were built between 1940 and 1979.

"There's so many existing buildings, how do we get them all to a better point of efficiency?" Gibson said. "Consumers are demanding more of it [passive home] now, and [building] codes are changing in that direction."

passivhausMAINE's annual forum will take place on Feb. 10 in Freeport. If you're interested in learning more, click here.

More NEWS CENTER Maine stories

For the latest breaking news, weather, and traffic alerts, download the NEWS CENTER Maine mobile app.

Before You Leave, Check This Out