Building a super-energy-efficient single-family house at an affordable cost is no easy task. In Maine, with its frigid winters, the challenge is especially stiff. But G•O Logic, a design/build collaboration of architect Matthew O’Malia and builder Alan Gibson, has produced a stylish and practical prototype house that will meet both Passivhaus and LEED Platinum standardsat a construction cost of only $150 per square foot. “Instead of just building a slightly better shell,” O’Malia says, “we’re building a home that uses 90 percent less energy for space heating.”
Design innovations begin with a shallow foundation completely isolated from the earth by rigid insulation (including the footings that support the hybrid timber-frame structural system). Using the Passivhaus Planning Package software to model various building shell configurations and mechanical systems eliminated the need for a mechanical engineer. Production efficiencies center on a computer model that guides fabrication of all major structural components. The 6½-inch-thick SIPs arrive at the site pre-cut and ready to lift into place. Proper solar orientation, fanatical air sealing, reduced thermal bridging, and ultra-high-performance German windows help the building meet an annual energy consumption target of 120 kilowatts per square meter.
G•O Logic offers the house in 1,200-square-foot, 1,500-square-foot, and 1,700-square-foot versions and will rent out the prototype for two years to monitor its long-term energy performance.
Our sister publication, ecohome, recently wrote about the completed project, which won a leed for homes project of the year award.