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Alnoba is pleased to announce that our building has officially been given Passive House Certification as a Passive House Institute (PHI) Low Energy Standard Building. This is a wonderful recognition of the commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency made by Alnoba founders Alan and Harriet Lewis.
Alnoba was specifically designed to reduce energy use by 75-90% compared to conventional buildings of similar size. When it was built in 2016, there were fewer than 1,300 Passive House Institute certified buildings of any size in the United States – and there were none of this type in the Northeast.
The International Passive House Association, launched by PHI, describes Passive House Certification as “a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in construction that results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for heating or cooling.” Initially, the majority of certified buildings were in Germany, where the institute is housed, followed by Scandinavian countries. In recent years, more American institutions have adopted the model. At Alnoba, we are proud to have broken new ground with the first PHI-certified gathering space in New England.
Building Alnoba took a village, as all great efforts do. Architect Matt O’Malia of GO Logic, established experts in building to Passive House standards, lead the project, working with small, Maine-based Preservation Timber to design the our 14,530 square foot, high-performance, low-energy gathering place. Callahan Construction implemented these 21st-century energy efficiency protocols using 300-year-old reclaimed timber and sustainable 19th-century timber frame methods.
Our Passive House construction is only one of the many ways that Alnoba works to demonstrate a more sustainable way of living. It’s something we also carry forward through our use of locally-grown produce for our in-house catering, our solar fields, electric car charging stations, a ban on plastic bottles, property-wide recycling, and use of green products. At our sister property here in Kensington, The Farm at Eastman’s Corner, three of our greenhouses are heated with a woodchip-fired boiler, while four other unheated greenhouses use solar energy for their lights, venting, fans and water. A composting operation sees food waste transformed into nutrient-rich soil. Together, these efforts will help Alnoba meet our long-term goal of being 100% renewable energy and net zero across our property.