Blog : Futuro Construction Builds an Energy Efficient "Passive House" in Newmarket

By Katelyn | Dec 13, 2015 | in

By Josh Rosenson

In Newmarket New Hampshire a “Passive House” is nearing its completion date as a Portsmouth based construction firm puts on the finishing touches.

Futuro Construction specializes in building high performance residential homes. This forward thinking company has been in business since 2011, and is continually pushing the boundaries by taking energy efficiency and sustainability to a whole new standard.

Since the company’s inception they have focused their efforts on a net-zero concept, which is a self-sustaining method essentially meaning that a home should produce as much energy as it consumes. Futuro’s newest project in Newmarket takes this concept even one step further by building what is called a “Passive House.”

A passive house takes into consideration the quality, comfort, and energy efficiency of a home. Matt Silva, general manager of Futuro, said that they are able to achieve this new standard by making the home more “airtight.”

“The aim is for almost zero air exchange that isn’t managed by the mechanical systems of the home which exchange fresh air into the home,” he said. “As a result, the home owner will not only be more comfortable, but the amount of energy their home consumes will become extremely minimal.”

As one would imagine there are specifications to a home like this that require added attention. For example, the walls of the structure are 12” thick to allow for above standard insulation and the home is built on a concrete slab that absorbs the heat throughout the day and will retain that heat to help offset the normal heating bills most of us see in our own homes. Silva explains that when working on a project that requires such attention to detail they went to the company that they have had a long standing relationship with to help achieve the air sealing standards the home would require and brought in a Rochester based energy auditing and insulation company, Yankee Thermal Imaging.

Yankee Thermal Imaging (YTI) specializes in analyzing such homes by employing methods set forth by the Building Performance Institute.

“It certainly helps when you don’t have to explain why you need to seal the house in specific areas so you can have the confidence you are always delivering a great product,” explains Futuro’s Founder, Jesse Ware. YTI will take their time on a project like this and has a staff that is certified to understanding building science.”

In addition to enhanced insulation tactics, another key item is proper ventilation. The owner of the Newmarket home understands how important ventilation can be because he is employed by a company that designs these systems for net-zero and passive homes. Ware explains that this specific ventilation system helps manage all of the heating and cooling, which even includes items such as the exhaust for stove and bathroom vents. “It is pretty unique. There is no other product on the market that we know of that provides such a system”.

From top to bottom, Futuro has constructed this home keeping all things in mind when it comes to sustainability and the comfort of the client. While it is more expensive to build a passive house, Silva said that he truly believes the future of building is moving in a net-zero and passive house direction. As solar prices continue to come down, these types of buildings will become more affordable to build.

“Every phase of this project has had something pretty cool happening to make this one of the most unique homes being built in the area. We used to believe that Net Zero was the highest standard to be set and after building a home designed around meeting passive house standards you realize that there’s still more room to go” Silva adds.

Ware also recognizes that a passive house may not be for everyone. He does believe for the right person it is socially responsible saying, “If you plan to live in that house for the better part of your coming years and it’s not an investment property, it is very financially responsible. You know that what you’re building is going to last, and exceed the technology.”

Over time Futuro’s experience on net-zero homes has increased their understanding of insulation and moisture management, which has positioned them well for success in the passive house market. Ware and Silva encourage those interested in learning more to contact Futuro. The company plans to host tours of the Passive House for prospective home builders once the project is complete.

Futuro Construction is based in Portsmouth, NH, with their primary focus on new construction in the Net Zero – and now – Passive House market. Futuro is located at 371A Islington Street. You can reach them at 603-294-4222 or via web at www.futuroconstruction.com.

Yankee Thermal Imaging is based in Rochester, diagnosing existing homes for insulation purposes, as well as assisting with new builds. YTI is located at 75 Allen Street. You can reach them at 603-330-3377 or via web at www.yankeethermalimaging.com.