Portland-based Terra Bona Materials launched Terralite Cement at Greenbuild this year hoping to deliver a product that meets the energy-efficiency demands of the greater building science community. Terralite is a “lightweight” product made with cement and an aggregate that includes expanded polystyrene. Marketing materials claim the product is 20% of the weight of traditional concrete and, according to company president Terry Cotton, insulative with an R-value of 1.8 per inch.
Hammer and Hand, a high-performance builder with offices in Seattle and Portland, recently announced the production of ultra-efficient custom doors for use with Passive House projects. The doors are designed and built in southeast Portland to the rigorous requirements of Passive House and help project teams avoid a potential economic premium and the carbon emissions associated with importing a similar product across the Atlantic from a European supplier. The company’s first door — shown in video here — was installed at their Karuna House project, which is pursuing PHIUS+ Passive House, Minergie-P-ECO, LEED for Homes Platinum, and net-zero energy designations (which I’ll explore in a subsequent article). More about custom Passive House doors.
You may recall the Aktiv prefab by Ideabox that we mentioned a few months ago. The media picked up a thread on this modular home thinking it was an IKEA prefab but the reality is the home was built by Ideabox with a ton of IKEA products on the inside. Ideabox is running what it’s calling “Ideabox Summer in the City” with an Aktiv on display at Cascade Station in Portland (down the road from IKEA Portland). It’ll be on display through the first week in August with solar from Sunmodo and Solar World, a ductless heat pump from Fujitsu and The Heat Pump Store, and furnishings from IKEA. Aktiv is priced from $87,000 with one bedroom, one bathroom, and 745 square feet.
Oregon-based Viridian Wood Products, a company we’ve mentioned in relation to reclaimed veneer panels and shipping pallet floors, just announced the debut of “American Classics.” These are a new line of reclaimed red oak, white oak, and rustic oak floors derived from industrial shipping crates.
One thing I’ve noticed is the fact that home building is changing in a big way. In order to capture what’s going on across the country, I thought it would be interesting to talk with influencers and innovators about things like tiny houses, prefabrication, sustainable design, high performance construction, and home technology. For this first interview, I was able to exchange emails with Sam Hagerman, co-owner of Hammer & Hand and president of the Passive House Alliance US, on the topic of ADUs and Passive Houses.