TerraHaus / Unity, Maine

TerraHaus is built to the Passive House standard, which requires a space-heating load reduced by 90% from code-compliant construction. The building is sited to ensure optimal solar access to the south while making use of an orchard at the property’s northern boundary to temper prevailing winter winds.

The solar thermal system comprised of 120 Apricus evacuated tube solar thermal collectors and two 119-gallon Caleffi hot water storage tanks was engineered to provide about 80% of the building’s domestic hot water demand.

The stair screens the public spaces from the large south-facing windows, creating privacy for residents while utilizing solar gain. It is composed of durable vinyl treads, painted steel handrails, and lobster cage mesh for the guardrails.

The first floor’s exposed concrete slab acts as a thermal mass to store passive solar energy and then re-radiate it at night.

The kitchen’s cantilevered concrete island helps optimize the building’s thermal mass.

Weathered barn boards on the north wall and ceiling of the kitchen add warmth and definition to the overall common area.

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