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Gilford Senior Apartments, Topped With Solar, Certified As 'Passive House'

John W. Hession

A new apartment building in Gilford is the first in the state to be certified as a “passive house.”

It uses airtight construction and energy efficient insulation that aims to sharply lower residents’ bills.

The building is the third phase of an affordable senior housing development called Gilford Village Knolls.

It includes 24 one-bedroom apartments, with a small rooftop solar array to cut residents' energy costs through net metering.

The nonprofit Lakes Region Community Developers built the multi-million dollar complex with state funding and tax credits.

Credit Lakes Region Community Developers
Construction of a passive house-style building begins without windows and doors to ensure completely airtight insulation.

Real estate development director Sal Steven-Hubbard says the project's biggest benefit for residents is in the passive house style of insulation.

It completely encloses the building and seals to its high-efficiency windows and doors.

As a result, Steven-Hubbard says, passive houses on average use 86 percent less electricity for heat, and 46 percent less for cooling.

An older part of the complex is the same size and capacity as the new building.

Steven-Hubbard says they'll be able to compare energy use and cost for the two structures over time.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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