Green building expert Jason Peacock is in the business of making homes more energy efficient and helping people find the healthiest, least toxic materials to build with. Peacock can be found at Maine Green Performance Building Supply in Portland. He’s 43 but says he feels 24. We talked to him about how he pulls that off, why it’s OK to import fancy building materials from Europe and how chemical sensitivities make dating hard.

THE BACK STORY: “When I was 18 years old I was super-athletic. And then I got almost deathly ill with mono and Epstein-Barr. It was so bad that I was in a wheelchair. I couldn’t even talk for a couple of months. I kind of made peace, like I just wasn’t going to make it.”

WHAT SAVED HIM: Getting into meditation and yoga at the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, which led to getting a bachelor’s degree in holistic health at San Francisco State. Peacock studied acupuncture, shamanism – healing modalities from around the world. Eventually he opened a health spa in Tiburon, California.

THAT WAS GREAT, BUT: “I just kind of burned out on it,” he says. “But I still wanted to help people be healthy.” He’d come to believe that the house where he lived in Florida, with its closed air system, had probably made him sick. He set out to make sure that never happened again. And not just to him; he wanted to help others. “People can have control over their diet and exercise, but then they may live in a house that they rent or somebody else built and it is just so toxic.”

WHY MAINE? He’d been to visit and in 2004 bought some land thinking he might retire here. “I liked how quiet it was,” he says. With the economy slowing his efforts to make a career in green building, he decided to build his dream house. Solar. Modern. Clean in all ways. And on 36 acres in Wiscasset. It took him a year, and in the process, he befriended the owner of Maine Green Performance Building Supply, Steve Konstantino. “I would kind of shamelessly ask for a job,” Peacock says. There was none to be had, but “I just didn’t give up and kept asking.” Peacock has been with the company five years.

COOL THINGS THEY DO: Lately he’s been designing mini-houses for people with chemical sensitivities. Many of the materials – super insulating, able to withstand moisture without molding – come from Europe. “The Europeans are ahead of us as far as using nontoxic and natural materials,” Peacock says. (Think cork, hemp, wool.)


BUT EUROPE IS SO FAR AWAY. WHAT ABOUT THE CARBON FOOTPRINT? “That was a big concern of mine at first,” he says. But he was convinced that shipping something on a loaded container ship across the Atlantic was ultimately, in terms of the metrics of fuel usage, similar to bringing goods on a truck from New Jersey.

SO THOSE EARLY HEALTH PROBLEMS … ALL BETTER? Definitely. “I do a lot of vegetable juice and daily exercise and I try to have no toxics in my house.”

TRY? ISN’T HE THE EXPERT? “It has been a challenge when you are dating. I am fortunate to have found a woman who considers my health when she buys things, but it is not easy the first six months when you are trying to be cool and you don’t want to be disruptive.”

ANOTHER HEALTH TIP: Surfing, with all its challenges, physical and spiritual. “If I didn’t surf, I probably wouldn’t feel 24 years well.”

EVEN IN THE WINTER: “This winter I went out at sunrise in January,” he says. Fortunes Rocks. “It was negative-20 out. It was pretty intense.” As in “when you were paddling for a wave you couldn’t even see because the surf was turning into snow.” And no, he won’t do the polar vortex surf again.

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