One of the highlights of our GreenEXPO in October was the high-performance model house that is pictured in the above photo. With cutaways to expose the various layers of the building envelope, the model house demonstrates the key elements that make a house energy-efficient and resilient. Anyone from residents to homebuilders to students can learn about the following features through its viewer-friendly and interactive format: R-Values, Air-Sealing, Continuous Exterior-Insulation, Thermal-Bridge-Free Construction, Rainscreen Systems, and High-Performance Windows.

The model house, or “pod,” was built by Nick Falkoff of Auburndale Builders and a team of carpenters as part of a training course in high-performance, energy-efficient construction. Falkoff, a Newton resident, was recently featured in the Boston Globe for his efforts to not only build energy-efficient homes, but to train tradespeople in the details of how to construct a Passive House and/or other high performance building. To quote the Boston Globe and Falkoff, “The ultimate goal, he says, is to make high-energy construction more available and affordable, and for that there needs to be far more people able to do the work. “To bring down overall cost we need more people in the trades,” he said. “Right now it’s a very small niche of people who know how to do high-performance and it’s limiting access.”

Through his Studio for High Performance Design Construction (StudioHPDC), which operates through donations and grants, he offers a course for carpenters and builders on energy efficient best practices. Five high-performance pods have now been built, to be used as educational tools. The one featured at the GreenEXPO showcase at the Harvest Fair received touches of colorful paint by volunteers and, after the Expo, our group proudly donated the model to the carpentry department at Newton North High School with the hope that students can learn about its sustainable features.

We thank Nick Falkoff for his passion for energy efficiency and the role he is playing to educate others in the field so that our homes can be constructed with less damage to the environment.


The StudioHPDC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focused on improving the sustainable practices of the building industry through education and training and by fostering a community of shared knowledge and learning. You can make a donation HERE.

Headline Photo: Nick Falkoff (right) stands with GN President Marcia Cooper (left) and GN Board member Sunwoo Kahng (middle) by the high performance model house he built.