Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The extraction of fossil fuels for energy and electricity is the dominant cause of global climate change. Today, 75% of the world’s population resides in urban areas where the risks associated with climate change will coalesce. At the same time, cities demand vast resources, energy, and electricity. With more than half the world’s population residing in urban areas, it is urgent that cities move towards a reduction in energy consumption. Lewiston, a post-mill cold-weather city, with buildings from the late 19th century still housing community members, experiences a high energy demand and consumption. Though small, Lewiston can contribute significantly to greater decarbonization efforts while also improving residents’ quality of life through the generation of high-efficiency affordable housing. This study presents a comparison between a current affordable housing dwelling in Lewiston and a hypothetical Passive House Standard building. Energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and health, social, and economic features of the transition were calculated and discussed in each model. The energy comparison presented in this study demonstrates the potential for a large decline in energy consumption and costs and significant reductions of CO2 in Lewiston’s affordable housing. Beyond this, a transition to high-efficiency housing provides direct health and social benefits, and long-term economic improvements for Lewiston’s low-income population. With the existing strength and momentum for change in the community, Lewiston can decarbonize its affordable housing to sustain a clean, safe, and healthy future for all.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

John Smedley

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages



Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.