Passively Built with Jesse Thompson – A Look at Air-Sealing and Ventilation

As building professionals, we often ask ourselves, “what are the most critical components to a high-performance building?” Portland, Maine based architect and building science expert, Jesse Thompson, will tell you it’s air-sealing and ventilation.

On this episode of Buildings and Beyond, Jesse explains the importance of incorporating as many Passive House principles as possible when designing multifamily buildings. His focus on air-sealing and ventilation allows him to effectively maximize building performance, reduce energy use, and increase comfort. Leveraging those strategies, Jesse and his team have completed many noteworthy high-performance buildings in some of the most challenging climates.


Episode Guest: Jesse Thompson

Jesse's Headshot

Jesse is an award-winning architect who has become a national leader in green design and building science. Growing up in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Jesse started his career working construction in high school. Since then, he’s been through every stage of design and building. Jesse is relentlessly practical, but he sees possibility for greatness in every project. He loves a good challenge. Jesse’s always working on balancing elements—engineering with art and design, beauty with affordability, function with potential.

Jesse is a graduate of the University of Oregon, current President Elect of AIA Maine, and a former board member of the Portland Society for Architecture. He’s a founding member of Passivhaus Maine, and was the first architect in northern New England to become a Certified Passive House Consultant.

Episode Information & Resources

Other Relevant Resources:

ASHRAE 62.2 is a standard that sets minimum ventilation requirements for achieving acceptable indoor air quality. Balanced ventilation in multifamily was a big theme in this episode, and there’s a change being proposed to Standard 62.2 that would limit exhaust-only ventilation in multifamily buildings and instead say that balanced or supply ventilation should be used. If you have strong feelings on this, it’s open to public comment until October 21. Here’s the proposed amendment and link to submit the comment (you’ll need to create a Log In to do so).

Upcoming Passive House Training

Interested in becoming a Certified Passive House Designer/Consultant? Check out NAPHN’s upcoming training schedule!

*Available in various locations across the nation and every other month in NYC!

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About Buildings and Beyond

Buildings and Beyond is a production of Steven Winter Associates. We provide energy, green building, and accessibility consulting services to improve the built environment. For more information, visit


Robb Aldrich | Kelly Westby

Production Team

Heather Breslin | Alex Mirabile | Dylan Martello

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