Pro Tour of a Passive House School and Net Zero Home in Falmouth, ME

Falmouth, ME
Friday, December 4, 2015

On December 4th, NESEA hosted a BuildingEnergy Pro Tour in Falmouth, ME of a modular, net zero home and the nation's third Passive House-Certified school! The tour of the first site was led by Parlin Meyer of BrightBuilt Home. Phil Kaplan of Kaplan Thompson Architects led the tour of the second site.

Member registration: $25 | Non-member registration: $35

Site 1

Project Details

Site 1: Net Zero Modular Home by BrightBuilt

  • Single family home + 3 car garage w/ studio space above (which will not meet same specs as home)

  • Version of BrightBuilt "Great Diamond" design

  • 6 kW solar array

  • Home has:

    Site 1 Interior

    • 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath (currently 3 BR, 2 1/2 bath - future master suite at third floor loft to comprise 4th bedroom & 3rd full bath)
    • 4 floors (basement, ground, second, & third-floor loft space)
    • 2200 square feet of finished space (not including basement)
    • R-40 walls, triple-glazed casement windows
    • Air source heat pumps, heat pump hW heater, Venmar HRV
  • Homeowner completing the finishes, trim, exterior decks & porches, etc. on his own

  • Home is modular - was set last fall & homeowner has been working through all finishes since (while working full time job!)

  • Last winter, with exterior door frames taped only (not spray-foamed or trimmed), and with attic insulation incomplete, a single ground-floor mini-split heated the entire home.

Site 2: Nation's Third Passive-House Certified SchoolSite 2

  • Budget Economy: The school itself was constructed to the extremely high-performing Passive House standard for $190/sf.

  • Energy Efficient: This building will use 90% less energy than a new, typical school. It will provide all of its own energy on site through 40kW of PV.

  • In Town: Although not walkable for most, as the school draws students from multiple towns, the hope is that Portland and Falmouth residents will still be able to occasionally bike to school. Bike racks will be provided.

    Site 2 Exterior

  • Renewable Materials: Much of the interior wood was site-harvested. The columns that support the rear entry are preserved trunks of an old oak tree that formerly stood right near that same spot. All materials that have been used throughout are low- or no-VOC.

  • Water Conservation: All fixtures are low-flow and low-volume.

  • Sustainable Landscape: All site plants are self-sustaining. Additional plantings are added to maintain a 75-foot buffer to the nearby creek.


12:30 - 1:00 PM Doors open; registration and check in at Mason-Motz 

1:00 - 1:30 PM

Welcome by NESEA; overview of project specs by hosts

1:40 - 1:50 PM Travel to Site 1 on the bus

1:50 - 2:50 PM

Tour of Site 1

2:50 - 2:55 PM Travel to Site 2 on the bus

2:55 - 3:55 PM

Tour of Site 2

3:55 - 4:05 PM

Travel back to GFAC on the bus

4:05 - 4:15 PM

Reception with light refreshments; Q&A panel with project team members

4:40 - 5:00 PM

Closing by NESEA; event concludes


Thank You to the 2019 BuildingEnergy Pro Tour Series Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor:


Event Sponsors