Matthew O’Malia is founder and principal of OPAL Architecture and co-founder and vice president of wood fiber insulation manufacturer TimberHP. O’Malia’s award winning architecture has earned OPAL a nationwide reputation for innovation and expertise in the design of high performance residential and institutional buildings.
O’Malia designed the first certified Passive House in Maine. As his work progressed, the use of fossil-fuel derived insulations in the buildings he was creating became an unsustainable trade off—a reduction in operational energy requirements through Passive House design, but a canceling out of those savings through the use of insulations high in embodied carbon.
In 2016, O’Malia started to import wood fiber insulation, a mature technology from Europe, selectively on projects and teamed up with TimberHP’s other co-founder, materials chemist Joshua Henry, to look for a better domestic solution. Through grant-funded research and collaborations with European producers, they determined the entire product line could be manufactured more affordably in the U.S.
O’Malia and Henry formed GO Lab, Inc.—TimberHP’s parent company—and purchased the former UPM paper mill in Madison, Maine in 2019. With factory renovations nearly complete, the company will be selling TimberFill, TimberBatt and TimberBoard on the North American market by late 2023.