EcoCor, a construction firm from Maine, hopes to bring PassivHaus-quality dwellings to the U.S. Originating in Germany, PassivHaus standards mandate super energy-efficient homes that use little heating or cooling.
EcoCor has their eyes set on integrating PassivHaus’s quality controls with prefabricated housing. To do so, they are importing specialized tongue-and-groove panel technology from Sweden and working with Pennsylvanian architect Richard Pedranti, who himself has worked on numerous PassivHaus projects in the U.S.
As reported by Treehugger, EcoCor strays away from entire modular prefab units, instead producing panels, thus saving space and transportation costs. Panels, floors, and walls are assembled in-situ, allowing for more floor plans than would usually be available. Services and finishes such as plumbing and electrical fittings are installed after the panels go up.
“The wall has everything; a big space for electrical wiring on site, piles of cellulose insulation, MENTO moisture control membrane, and then a substantial rain screen space,” said architect and green design specialist Lloyd Alter. “At the end of each panel there is a special layer of cellulose that squeezes together to the next panel, making the seal very tight.”
The dwellings sit on raft foundations—where concrete is poured over a raft of rigid insulation—which stops heat loss through the ground. As Alter said, “If it works in Maine, it will work anywhere.”