COA President Darron Collins appreciates an ocean view through bird safe windows in t...COA President Darron Collins appreciates an ocean view through "bird safe" windows in the recently completed Davis Center for Human Ecology. The building opens officially in Fall 2021. Credit: Photos C. 2021 by Fred J. Field fredfield.com

College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor built the 29,000-square-foot Davis Center for Human Ecology to passive house standards with a goal of achieving at least 80% reduction in energy consumption versus comparable code-compliant construction.

The $13 million center is the largest project of its type designed according to passive house principles built for the Northeast climate, says Timothy Lock, a management partner with Opal Architecture in Belfast. [The college will hold a grand opening for the facility in Fall 2021].

The design approach included site selection, solar orientation, use of local and recycled materials, onsite renewable energy sources and a high-performance envelope and design.

The center is also one of the largest buildings in the country to use wood fiber insulation and will serve as a case study for the product, which was imported from a German company called Gutex.

“Sustainability is part of the institution’s DNA,” says COA President Darron Collins. “We were founded to address the needs of the planet and of Mount Desert Island. It wasn’t a surprise at all that the community came together and put sustainability on top of the list of commitments around this building.”

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