Prefabricated construction has always been a convenient time-saver for contractors. In addition, more contractors have begun to focus on building energy-efficient homes and other structures.

Now, the strategies are combining. Ecocor, a Searsmont, Maine-based construction firm that manufactures, delivers and assembles prefabricated homes, recently partnered with Richard Pedranti Architect (RPA), a firm specializing in sustainable design, with the goal of building the most energy-efficient prefabricated homes in North America.

The homes meet the Passive House standard, which emphasizes energy conservation by creating a virtually air-tight, super-insulated, compact building enclosure that can reduce a building’s heating and cooling requirements by 80–90 percent. It is the most stringent low-energy building standard in the world. Prefabricated home manufacturers in Europe have used it, but Ecocor is the first manufacturer in North America to embrace the standard.

“Passive House is gaining ground all around the world, and the availability of sustainable components is one of the most important driving factors,” said Wolfgang Feist, founder and director of the Passive House Institute.

The partnership between Ecocor and RPA began with 11 Passive House models programmed for manufacture in the Ecocor factory, ranging from a 323-square-foot cabin to a 2,685-square-foot home.

RPA will serve as the architect of the model homes available from Ecocor. RPA’s 3-D building information modeling plans integrate directly into the manufacturing software that Ecocor’s machines use to produce each homes’ components. The two companies are working together at every stage of design, engineering, manufacturing, assembly and finishing.