Thursday, July 19, 2012

Q+A with Unity College’s Michele Leavitt and sustainability coordinator Jesse Pyles about Unity House

Unity House is Unity College's on-campus residence of English professor, Michele Leavitt, and her husband, President Stephen Mulkey. Completed in 2008 by Bensonwood, the 1,937 square-foot LEED Platinum home features a 5.4 KW solar photovoltaic array, solar thermal hot water, a Hallowell cold-climate air-source heat pump, high-efficiency insulation, recycled and locally sourced materials, and passive solar design.

Photo by Mark Tardif
What have been the most impressive features of Unity House?
The passive solar layout, with tight envelope and large triple-paned windows, allows the sun to reach in and warm the air and concrete slab floors to 70 degrees on a sunny winter day, with no additional heating needed. As well, in one year the solar PV panels produced 6,441 kWh of electricity and the house used 6,430 kWh, which means we met the net zero goal, with 11 kWh to spare. The open and welcoming common space feels connected to the outdoors and is great for entertaining.

Photo by Mark Tardif
Would you do anything differently?
Nothing, except add more closet space. It has all the comfort of a normal middle-class home, but one that, amazingly, uses less energy than it produces.

Photo by Mark Tardif
What’s next?
TerraHaus, the first student residence in the country built to Passive House Institute US standards by GO Logic, just completed its first school year of use. It houses 10 students and features many of the same elements as Unity House. Both projects are part of the college’s 2020 Master Plan for a fully sustainable campus.

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1 comment:

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