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Couple builds passive house with unique, money-saving features: 'We really wanted to be thoughtful'

Passive homes are built to be as energy efficient as possible.

Passive homes are built to be as energy efficient as possible.

Photo Credit: GO Logic

A couple in Maine not only built a sustainable, environmentally friendly home but also a life that appears to be downright delightful.

As detailed by the New York Times, Didier Bonner-Ganter and Nathalie Nopakun, both arborists, bought a 26-acre plot of forested land near the Maine coast and hired GO Logic, a company in Maine that specializes in passive houses, to build their cozy 1,200-square-foot home. 

Passive homes are built to be as energy efficient as possible. That includes positioning and building the house to capture and retain as much of the sun's warmth as possible.

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The house was built with prefabricated insulated panels screwed together to make an airtight seal and large, triple-paned windows that let in a lot of sunlight. The ventilation system keeps 90% of the heat and 50% of the moisture in the air from escaping outside. It only uses about 20% of the energy used to heat a normal home.

Bonner-Grant and Nopakun also wanted items in the house to use as many natural materials as possible so that when things inevitably break down and need to be replaced, they wouldn't be sending plastics to the landfill where they'd sit for hundreds of years.

"We really wanted to be thoughtful about the materials in the house and chose things that were as sustainable as possible," Nopakun said. "Especially being arborists, we didn't want anything like laminate. We wanted actual wood."

Instead of painting the house, the couple got a charred look using black pine tar, which is natural, easier to maintain, and offers ultraviolet and moisture protection.

"If we painted, this would have to be repainted at some point down the road," Bonner-Ganter said. "Now we just have to touch it up if we need to."

The couple cleared a two-acre plot of land where they built the house and a barn, and they found a natural way to maintain their large yard without using a drop of fuel that would release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.

The couple's three pigs, each weighing around 200 pounds, are mostly vegetarian. They graze on the field surrounding the house, per the Times. 

"These guys are super easy," Bonner-Ganter said. "You don't have to worry about walking them. You don't need to let them out. It's a low-carbon way of maintaining an open field and your view."

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