54,886 SF, 3 stories, 48 affordable units
Village Centre Apartments in Maine featuring INTUS Arcade triple pane steel reinforced polymer windows
Courtesy of Community Housing of Maine A 48-unit passive housing project is in the works at the former State Street School site in Brewer. Beginning in mid-2014, Community Housing of Maine (CHOM), CWS Architects, Bennett Engineering, Wright Ryan Construction, and Thornton Tomasetti’s Sustainability Practice set out with the ambitious goal of building Maine’s first large-scale multifamily passive house. This 48-unit 54,000 square foot affordable housing project would be located in the challenging climate of Brewer, Maine, a town with over 7,000 annual heating degree days where snowfall in May is not uncommon. In addition to a challenging climate, the project would also be faced with a difficult budget environment and an unconventional design process. As a result of a 2011 controversy over the cost of affordable housing in the State, all affordable housing projects in the state of Maine are subject to a hard cost-cap. These spending limits would force the team to design and permit a conventional building to ensure funding, and then develop creative solutions to meet passive house standards, balance budget, operating costs, and the lifecycle environmental impact of the project. After passing all of its post-construction on-site testing, Village Centre opened in June of 2016. The project has become a highly-publicized example of the potential for high-performance affordable housing in extreme climates.