Unity Blog

A Xyla in Chebeague Island, ME


It is just a wonderful construction and despite the hiccups in weather and deliveries, it has all gone together nicely. We are all happy with the final product… workers, owners, and islanders alike. Thank you once again for your professionalism, attention to detail, and your aim to satisfy.” – Susan

Like many visitors to Chebeague, Susan became enchanted on her first visit to this beautiful island off the coast of Portland, Maine. As she found herself returning to Chebeague for subsequent visits, she began to think that perhaps one day she might be able to own a home there. Eventually she made that dream a reality, with the help of Unity Homes and an excellent local builder, Geoff Summa.

Building on a small island accessible only by boat has its challenges. Susan was drawn to work with Unity in part because of the predictability and speed we could bring to her project. She had seen other projects on the island take years to complete, and was reassured to know that with Unity, the shell of her home could be assembled and enclosed in a matter of days. The rapid onsite assembly would also limit the impact of weather on the project, because the building season on Chebeague is short, and storms come up quickly on Casco Bay.

As Susan put it, “Prefabrication is the only way to build on the island.”

As with other Unity clients, Susan had environmental goals for the project. She envisioned that a house in such a beautiful location should live lightly, with minimal environmental impact during construction and beyond. It’s only after moving into the home that she has come to fully appreciate how the energy efficiency built into the house translates into other benefits such as comfort and quiet.

Susan (and Unity) were fortunate to have a very capable local builder for this project. Not only has Geoff Summa been living on Chebeague for over thirty years, he is also well-versed in high-performance construction. Geoff and his crew proved to be the perfect partner—both for helping to assemble the shell on site, and to finish it once our crew had left. Because Susan opted for a Tempo package from Unity, we supplied most of the materials, fixtures and cabinets for finishing the home, and Geoff’s team installed them.

Susan and Geoff both provided Unity with constructive criticism about our processes, which has led to our implementing improvements on future projects. Overall, both the owner and the builder were pleased with the process and the finished home.


Total Living Area: 1,396 SF
Porch: 457 SF


Vaulted Ceiling
primary bedroom Addition
Wraparound Porch
Screened Porch


Wall Insulation: R-33 cellulose
Roof Insulation: R-50 cellulose
Foundation Insulation: R-15 rigid foam
Windows: European style, triple-glazed tilt-turn
Air Tightness: 0.39 ACH50


Heating/Cooling: Air source heat pump
Ventilation: Heat recovery ventilator
Water Heater: Electric resistance