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1,000-Sq-Ft Passivhaus Shows University Students What’s Possible

A 1,000-square-foot Passivhaus in Amherst, Maine has become a living example of highly-efficient solar construction for students in a renewable energy course at Mount Holyoke College.

The house, which belongs to assistant physics professor Alexi Arango, is so efficient that it was built without a furnace. Arango “uses the real-life example to illustrate physics and environmental science concepts in the classroom,” Kenda writes.

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“I love the reaction,” he said. “There’s disbelief, and the concept almost seems magical. Then you go through it and talk about the physics, and it’s really not some wild idea.”

Kenda notes that passive solar homes are “almost mainstream” in Germany. In the U.S., by contrast, “we may be a little behind the times in how we think about our buildings,” Arango said.