Valle Group builds Passive House-certified home in New England

Earlier this month, the Valle Group completed construction on the nation’s 24th certified Passive House, located in East Falmouth, Mass. The house was built virtually airtight and is heated through passive solar gain, according to standards set by the Passive House Institute in Urbana, Ill.

January 23, 2012
Valle Group builds Passive House-certified home in New England

Valle Group builds Passive House-certified home in New England

Earlier this month, the Valle Group completed construction on the nation’s 24th certified Passive House, located in East Falmouth, Mass. The house was built virtually airtight and is heated through passive solar gain, according to standards set by the Passive House Institute in Urbana, Ill.


The house was constructed for an individual who wanted a home that was both energy efficient and largely sustainable. A nearby salt marsh provided part of the motivation. “He did some initial research on building tight, energy-efficient homes and determined that the Passive House standard was one that he wanted to try and meet,” says Christian Valle, project manager for the Valle Group.


Certification is determined before construction even begins, with the design plans subjected to analysis through various computer models. The programs look for any areas where heat could escape, with the goal of plugging those “holes” and increasing the home’s energy efficiency.


Hot water and electricity in the East Falmouth home are courtesy of a full photovoltaic solar array, complemented by 17-inch-thick exterior walls. Other passive-heating implements include blown-in cellulose and fiberglass insulation and triple-glazed windows.


For Valle, the process itself was the biggest challenge, simply because it was so different from a traditional build project. For example, contractors had to be reminded to minimize — if not eliminate— the number of penetrations through the exterior. The custom-built windows presented obstacles as well, since each required more attention to detail than normal.


Valle summarized the process by saying, “The idea of building a home that is almost completely airtight using traditional and readily available materials becomes an educational process for all those trades that are involved in the construction.”


The builders also included various sustainable products like reclaimed hardwood floors, zero-VOC paint, and recycled insulation, among other things.


  

Comments on: "Valle Group builds Passive House-certified home in New England"

FALL 2021

This Month in Custom Builder

Products

The French luxury switches brand Meljac has developed a new solid brass collection in collaboration with Australian designer Marc Newson.

Features

The HS300 whole-house HEPA filtration unit is designed to be installed directly onto the return air plenum of forced air heating/cooling systems.

Overlay Init