Blog : Ethan Korpi: A builder’s dedication to sustainability

By Sam Lane | Jun 4, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

Ethan Korpi, co-founder of Eco Sound Builders in Portsmouth, has custom home building in his DNA. Or at least it seems that way. His father, Roger was a builder for decades before starting Eco Sound Builders with Ethan in 2007. The legacy of Roger’s work can be found throughout New Hampshire's Lakes Region, while Ethan runs the southern division of the company, with partner Peter Robie, creating a new legacy in the seacoast region and southern Maine.

What sets Eco Sound Builders apart in the industry, Ethan Korpi explained, is their drive to build homes that are as individually unique as they are environmentally responsible. According to Korpi, energy conservation and construction waste management are key elements for all their new home and restoration projects.

“We seek to create high performance homes for the next generation of efficient energy use,” Korpi said. “We believe that homes new and old should stand for generations; to come and perform at the highest level of energy efficiency as possible.”

Not limited to new buildings, Eco Sound will renovate existing, older structures to bring them up to the company's high standards of performance. Recently, the building company renovated an older building in Portsmouth's historic South End district, keeping within the city's tight regulations for work on historic properties, while making the home green and energy efficient. While renovating the Portsmouth property, Eco Sound performed periodic blower door tests and added thermal envelope wrapping to help the home achieve Passive House standards for air-tightness. Along with the added 13KW solar PV array, the home is expected to achieve a Net Zero HERs Rating.


A gardener at heart, Korpi graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Environmental Horticulture in 2000 before joining his father to work as a carpenter and builder.

Korpi and Robie, who has duel degrees in civil technology and environmental conservation, opened Eco Sound’s seacoast office in 2008 and have taken part in many new home and restoration projects throughout the area, including Robie’s own home in North Hampton. Despite having had so many different projects since the seacoast offices opened, Korpi and Robie focus on one project at a time, collaborating with a wide range of designers to create a living space that provides comfortable eco-friendly living and is stunning to look at. Their reputation for executing sustainable, detail oriented projects on time precedes Eco Sound, which was contracted for a special alternative framing project in the Bahamas.

“Our primary focus is to really understand the systems that make a house run,” Korpi said. “We can build what will be considered a high-end custom home with low maintenance and maximum energy efficiency.”

The symbiotic connection between sustainable construction and energy efficiency starts in a project's early planning and sourcing stages. For example, wood for each build comes from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainability Forest Initiative, which is then integrated with resourced local materials and the best in insulation. The result, Korpi explained, is a more energy independent home with better air quality and lower maintenance cost.

To further educate the public about their environmental initiatives, Eco Sound Builders is a green-certified business partner of the Green Alliance, the Portsmouth organization connecting more than 100 regional green businesses with nearly 4,000 consumer members. Through the Green Alliance, Korpi hopes consumers learn more about alternative energy efficiency methods of home building and design.

“We enjoy working hand and hand with our clients every day. We encourage a lot of dialogue and give them the information they need to make the best decisions,” Korpi said. “The beginning of the project is always really exciting as we work through a variety of design ideas, but nothing beats handing the keys over to clients and hopefully exceeding expectations.” 

Members enjoy a FULL rebate (up to $500) for a comprehensive energy audit when you commit to doing a retrofit. Members also recieve 2 FREE hours of green consultation for an upcoming project!

For more information on Eco Sound Builders visit their Green Alliance Business Page.