A First in the United States, Unity College Opens TerraHaus

Sep 28, 2011, 14:40 ET from Unity College

UNITY, Maine, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Saturday, September 24, members of the Unity College community gathered in Unity, ME to celebrate a first for colleges and universities across the United States. The occasion was the ribbon cutting to commemorate the first college residence hall in the United States built to the Passive House standard, the highest international standard for energy efficiency.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110928/DC76930)

TerraHaus at Unity College in Unity, Maine, was designed and built by GO Logic of Belfast, ME with input from students, faculty and staff. This 2500 square foot residence is modeled to use the equivalent of 50-75 gallons of oil per year for space heating, less than 10% of the heating load for a home this size in this climate. In fact, in zero degree weather, the heating load could be met with a standard hair dryer. It achieves this remarkable level of efficiency from 1) superior air sealing, 2) super-insulation, and 3) solar orientation.

    The opening was one of a string of successes for the college in recent weeks, pointed out Robert Constantine, vice president for advancement. The list, outlined in Constantine's opening comments, included a 17th in the country ranking, a $10 million gift, and a new president. Constantine also acknowledged the support of The Kendeda Fund and Bangor Savings Bank Foundation in making the project possible.

    Unity's new President, Stephen Mulkey, a scientist with significant research experience, has expressed a vision for Unity that has the College not only focusing on sustainable building with structures like TerraHaus, but focusing on the emerging field of sustainability science.  The objective is to train students to address what Mulkey has termed the greatest challenge of the 21st Century: mitigating the urgent reality of global climate change.

 Mulkey offered an overview of what Unity College is trying to achieve:

    "One of the visions I have for Unity College is I would like to take this window of opportunity, when other institutions find it so difficult to move, so difficult to change, and take this smaller, more nimble institution, and move it to a position where it is known nationally as one of the best places in the country to learn sustainability science and to do sustainability studies, and climate change is going to be the heart and soul of that."

A blog about TerraHaus is online at http://terrahaus.wordpress.com/.

SOURCE Unity College