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by Maureen Ciaccio
Ask a Sustainable Builder

Michael Maines - What to Ask a Green Builder, Certifications and What’s Really Needed for Cost & Efficiency


Michael Maines

With a BS in Engineering from Tufts University, a minor in Architectural Studies and an early interest in building natural, expressive homes, Mike has worked as a carpenter, fine woodworker, contractor, project manager, drafter and as operations manager for one of the premiere Passive House builders in the US where he earned the designation Passive House Consultant. In 2015 he started his own firm, Michael Maines Residential Design.

Mike understands that not every client is interested in building a certified Passive House, so he works with them to find a balance of efficiency and cost, while making sure that the home or renovation is beautiful, functional and healthy for its occupants and the environment. He works all over Maine and New England, and sometimes beyond, using the advantages of digital communication wherever possible.

As contributing editor to Fine Homebuilding and Green Home Advisor, co-creator of Pretty Good House principles and the BS* & Beer (*building science) show which has up to 600 viewers a week, you might say Mike knows quite a bit. More importantly he shares his knowledge freely everywhere as he does with us in this podcast.


  • A new project using concepts from the Earthship modified for New England
  • The Pretty Good House alternative to Passive House, LEED and Living Building Challenge
  • The BS* & Beer Show (*building science)
  • What questions to ask of a green builder to make sure they know what they are doing
  • Thinking about cost and benefit of renovations


Michael Maines Residential Design http://www.michaelmaines.com/

The BS & Beer Show https://www.thebsandbeershow.com/

Green Building Advisor https://greenbuildingadvisor.com

Fine Home Building https://finehomebuilding.com/

Performance Building Supply https://performancebuildingsupply.com/

PHIUS (Passive House US) https://www.phius.org/home-page

NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) https://nesea.org --Mike added this as a primary place to look for information and local green builders to hire


Episode 3

Season 1

by Maureen Ciaccio