First of Its Kind Energy Efficient Home on the Hill Has no Furnace; Two Choice Apartments Available


62 Cumberland Avenue on the Hill [/caption]

Builder Mike White, Island Carpentry, Inc. and Paul Ledman Last Week.

By Carol McCracken (Post # 862)

“This is one of the most energy efficient homes in Maine,” said Paul Ledman this afternoon as he took time away from his busy schedule to talk with in front of his family’s new home at 62 Cumberland Avenue. “I’m sure it’s the most energy efficient home in Portland.”

And that’s exactly what Ledman and his wife, Colleen Myers, told the planning board last August they intended to do. “We want to make this a model in Maine,” he said appearing before the board. It was necessary for the couple to obtain board approval because it is a three unit residence. Ledman’s plan was received with enthusiasm by the board – Bill Hall called it a “creative use of th is space.” Previously, the lot had been vacant and for sale for a long time. In November, Ledman received the bulding permit, in February the framing began and earlier this month, the family moved in. It’s been a busy month, full of a ajustments, because their son, Leo, just left for out-of-state college as well.

There are several systems that make this new home a first of its kind in the area. The walls are incredibly thick and insulated well with cellulose and foam. There are no air leaks and builder Mike White, Island Carpentry Inc., has tested the house for that. “We don’t need conventional heating fuels – fossils – because there is no heating system,” said Ledman, a tall, slender man who looks as though he enjoys the outdoors as well. Rather, the home uses 4 air source heat pumps that are located on the outside of the building. On the roof, there is a PV system. The sun hits panels on the roof (which I’m told can be seem from the top of the nearby Observatory, but was unable to identify recently.) The panels generate electricity. What doesn’t get used of this electricity, goes back to the grid. CMP gives Ledman credit for what hasn’t been used up – for later use when needed.

62 Cumberland Avenue also has a thermal hot water system. It gives the Ledmans about 70% of their water needs. The windows on the north side are small windows and the southern windows are large – capturing a lot of sunlight. There are two appealinlg, energy efficient apartments available as well. One is a two bedroom and the other a one bedroom with indoor parking for one car.

Ledman recently quit his history teaching job in Scarborough because he didn’t “like teaching in that system,” he said. Ledman has long been interested in energy efficiency. He has a science background and is a lawyer, as is his wife, although neither of them practices law. “Sometimes we have too many powers in our country that want to sell you fossil fuel and don’t want you to conserve. The rest of the world is light years ahead of us in energy efficiency and technology.”

Ledman has not yet revealed the cost to build this energy efficient home, but expects it will be about the same as building a conventional house or slightly higher. Living with “energy efficiency does not have to diminish your lifestyle. We are not huddled around a fire wearing bearskin rugs! There will be a market for this kind of house soon, because people would be insane not to build it.”

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For more background information, please visit Post # 548, dated 8/15/10, herein.