Sustainable Goals

Maine Passive House, Bethel
Words By Brian Shuff
Photos By Irvin Serrano

Architect

Kaplan Thompson Architects

Interior Designer

Spruce Color & Design

It’s amazing how many builders out there still build like we did 40 years ago,” says Jesper Kruse. “If we do new construction, it doesn’t have to be an official, accredited passive house, but we always work towards those principles. I can’t justify any other way of building in this day and age.”

At this Norway residence, that meant bolstering efficiency by constructing an extremely well-sealed home—triple-pane windows and a 12-inch-deep wall scheme insulated with cellulose, a substance made from recycled newspaper. The ventilation system also includes heat recovery. “The warm air leaving the house and the cool air being pulled in both pass through a magic box,” Jesper says. “Inside the box, the two airstreams run against each other for heat transfer. It’s almost an 85 percent efficiency. Meaning: If the air leaving the home is 70 degrees and the air coming in from outside is zero degrees, then the contact they have inside the box raises the incoming air temperature to around 60. Then you’re only using electricity to raise its temperature 10 degrees instead of the full 70.”