A brand new passive solar house completes the first piece of a long held dream for homeowner Jason Peacock. A builder and LEED Accredited Professional, B.A. Jason also works at Maine Green Building Supply where he has honed his sustainable knowledge. Passionate about green, when Jason bought 36 acres of land just outside of Wiscasset, Maine he had a very specific vision in mind. “I want to create a solar community with half a dozen homes, as well as seasonal rentals for eco-minded travelers,” says Peacock. “I want to put my passion for green building and living into something tangible, something I can show others first hand and say look at what can be done. And, seasonal rentals will be a great way for vacationers to experience a green home and see that it’s no different in comfort and beauty than traditional homes, but with the huge benefits of efficiency and toxin free materials.”
Jason designed and built the entire 950 sq. ft. house himself. From the house plans to hand selecting every material and driving each nail, this home has been a labor of love. Aptly named “The Souler House” Jason’s joy is overflowing at his creation. Apparent in every detail of the design and finishes, Jason’s knowledge of products and materials shine in a very deep green hue. “Toxin free building materials and finishes are just as important to me as energy efficiency. You can’t claim green if you’re only focused on efficiency. It has to be the complete package. Efficiency is important, but so is the health of the occupants.” We at Green Homes of Maine wholeheartedly agree.
The house itself is a super insulated, passive solar design. The two bedroom, one-and-a-half bath sits on a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (popular in Scandinavian countries). Open cell spray foam insulation equaling an R-25 value in the 2×6 wall construction with a thermal break on the studs and R-50 in the ceilings keeps things well insulated. For the exterior, Jason chose fiber-cement board with a rain-screen wall detail for its durability and reducing ongoing painting maintenance. This, mounted over high quality vapor permeable moisture barrier (Vapro Shield) creates an ability for the house to dry out well. The salvaged wood around the front door is from an old airplane hanger in Sanford, ME. Jason loved the look of the machine tooling that had taken place long ago, saving it from the wood chipper and usage as wood pellets.
The interior is modern yet warm, fitting nicely into the wooded landscape with ease. A natural stain was used to color the concrete floors on the first level, while locally sourced pine was used in the second floor bedroom. Wall finishes include pine clapboard, American Clay natural finish, and no-voc paints throughout. The kitchen (images coming soon) boasts a highly efficient refrigerator, magnetic induction range, no dishwasher, and Paperstone countertops. The cabinets are formaldehyde and VOC free from Executive Cabinets.
Plumbing and lighting in the home are sustainable in function as well. Dual flush toilets, and a low flow shower head minimize water usage in the home, while a 110 volt solar powered well pump brings fresh cool well water into the house. LED lighting throughout the house manages a very low electrical draw while proving a nice spectrum at night. All the electricity on sunny days is provided by a 3.6 kilowatt photovoltaic array on the roof. The house is grid tied, so on days like the one we visited where the array pumped out 18.5 kWhrs of power, Jason is banking credits with CMP to be used later. Most of the year he’ll put more power back to the grid than he is using. A lot more.
Heating will be handled by electric heaters and an all-in-one air source heat pump by Polar Air (found at Maine Green Building Supply). The house being so tight coupled with the solar gain on the concrete slab keeps the home moderate even without heat. Air conditioning is not needed (but will be an option with the Heat Pump) as again the tight envelope of the home creates a moderate, year-round temperature. Future plans include a rainwater harvesting roof with a vegatable and herb garden.
(For all the number cruncher’s out there, Jason will be recording data from the house year round and also having a HERS rating done in the near future to determine if the home is at or near net-zero status.)
Jason will be writing here at Green Homes of Maine about his experience with building this home in the coming months! Check back often or sign up for our newsletter to stay in the know.
Jason Peacock can be contacted here – www.platinumgreeninc.com
Photos: Samuel Strickland