Sunday, October 23, 2011

Q+A with Matthew O'Malia, architect at GO Logic

The GO Home is a 1,500 square-foot, single-family, zero-energy house built at costs comparable to standard residential construction ($225,000). The super-insulated building is heated and powered by a 2.8 KW solar photovoltaic array for electricity, a 60-tube solar thermal system for domestic hot water, an electric resistance baseboard heater, and passive solar gain. The GO Home is the twelfth Passive House in the U.S. and has received a LEED Platinum rating; for the past year it has been used as an office by O’Malia and GO Logic. (See Maine Home + Design article about the GO Home by Rebecca Falzano.)

Photo by Trent Bell for Maine Home + Design
Q: What has surprised you about the performance of the building?
A: The amazing comfort of an interior environment that is quiet, balanced, and consistent year round. Due to the tight envelope, the triple-glazed windows allowing very little heat out or cold in, and the existing heat being circulated by the heat recovery ventilation system, heating costs from the baseboard heater came in less than estimated at only $275 a year, and much of this cost was offset by the solar PV.
Photo by Trent Bell
Q: Which features have been less useful in retrospect?
A: We installed a buried water pipe to use for geothermal cooling in the summer, which was not successful due to condensation buildup.

Q: What’s next?
A: We’ve tried an air-source heat pump in another project and will monitor its efficiency, and if it does well, we will use that technology again. We are also interested in phase-change materials that act like a thermal mass to absorb air and regulate temperatures during heating and cooling seasons.

See for more info.