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Articles About Building High Performance Custom Homes

Downsizing for Seniors: The Importance of Energy Star Ratings

By Tim Biebel / April 28, 2018

So you’ve decided to downsize your home, and now you’re considering your options. Living under someone else’s thumb (retirement community / assisted living) does not appeal to you. But living in a little farmhouse in Vermont sounds wonderful. After all, it’s beautiful there in any season, you’ll own a small piece…

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Downsizing for Seniors – Consider a High-Performance Home

By Tim Biebel / April 18, 2018

The other day my uncle and I time-traveled ahead to the year 2056. Since he never had a DeLorean, we used his 1974 red Simca that he had stored away in my grandpa’s barn for just this purpose. It only took a half hour to get it up to 88 MPH,…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes:Intersection of Exterior Wall & Rafter

By Tim Biebel / April 8, 2018

As we continue with our discussion about (affordable zero energy homes) and High Performance Construction Methods, our subject for today’s blog will focus on a very important connection point where double-stud exterior walls intersect with the roof system. Here is where a lot of energy treatments must be installed correctly. Unfortunately,…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Foundations – Part 2

By Tim Biebel / March 27, 2018

In the not-too-distant past, not enough attention was paid to the slab. The foundation hole was dug and leveled, and then four to six inches of concrete we poured into the forms. Some builders still take a similar approach to the slab (especially what is under it). But concrete slabs…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Foundations – Part 1

By Tim Biebel / March 15, 2018

One of the biggest challenges that builders in the Northeast face is the high cost of construction. Part of the challenge is just finding an affordable south facing land that has a good source of water, power nearby, and friendly soils that can support a septic system and allow for…

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What’s a Smart Slab Assembly for Net Zero Construction in Vermont?

By Tim Biebel / March 8, 2018

Net zero construction in Vermont requires executing high-performance building practices in every aspect of the residential project. A home built to net zero construction in Vermont assumes that the building contractor has incorporated high-performance standards within every element of construction. A high-performance home is super-insulated from the foundation to the roof, super…

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What is Net Zero Energy Construction in Vermont?

By Tim Biebel / February 23, 2018

With new homes technology moving so fast today, terms such as: “green energy,” “renewal resources,” “solar,” “geo-thermal,” and more, can lead to confusion. The term, “net zero” simply means that the home produces as much energy as it uses, resulting in a net end-of-year zero usage of energy and thus…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes: A Balloon Framed Wall does it All!

By Tim Biebel / February 14, 2018

We’ve discovered that a double 2×4, balloon framed, an exterior wall with dense pack insulation performs at the highest level – satisfying both demands of thermal and fire blocking performance and cost-effectiveness. Not only that, the less I depend on using foam, the more relaxed my clients seem to be…

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A Conventional Home vs. a Net Zero Construction in Vermont Home

By Tim Biebel / February 7, 2018

Rising energy costs and the greater desire among many to be responsible stewards of our environment are making net-zero homes the new norm. While net zero construction in Vermont is not brand new compared with conventional construction, it is relatively new. Because if its newness, for most people, building a…

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Cost and Energy Considerations for a ProHome

By Tim Biebel / January 24, 2018
high performance home

Cost and energy efficiency considerations drove many design decisions for the ProHOME project. But the upgrades inside, like the cabinets and counters in the kitchen and the radiant heat in the bathroom, help to make the sale. Watch this video to see how these factors related to finish a beautiful…

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Your High-Performance Custom Home Won’t Make You Sick

By Tim Biebel / January 12, 2018
High-Performance Custom Home

I asked my Dad to create the blog for this week. Here’s what he had to say: The notion that a house can become sick has always interested me. I have seen five-year-old houses that were so sick that they had to be torn down. It was a very sad…

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5 Reasons Why a Heat Pump May Be Great For Your Custom Home Build

By Tim Biebel / January 5, 2018
Custom Home Build

Most people have heard of ductless cooling and heating systems today. You also might have seen a small indoor device installed high on the walls in a restaurant, office building or even in friends home. Here are five reasons you should consider installing a mini-split heat pump during your Custom…

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What’s a Smart Slab Assembly for Net Zero Construction in Vermont?

By Tim Biebel / December 22, 2017

Net zero construction in Vermont requires executing high performance building practices in every aspect of the residential project. A home built to net zero construction in Vermont assumes that the building contractor has incorporated high performance standards within every element of construction. A high performance home is super-insulated from the foundation to…

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25 Questions to Ask a Zero Energy Home Builder in VT

By Tim Biebel / December 15, 2017

The Context: You’ve decided that it’s time to downsize (or right size) and to do it in Vermont, so now you’re searching for a builder who specializes in high performance / zero energy home construction. You want a builder you can believe in and trust that, when it comes to…

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4 Keys to Know a Net-Zero Home in Vermont Actually Will Be Net Zero

By Tim Biebel / December 8, 2017
Net-Zero Home

One of the worst fears imaginable is that you contract for a net-zero home in Vermont or New Hampshire and get something else. Maybe you get some form of energy-saving home with solar panels, but it doesn’t achieve net zero. A net zero home, by definition, is a home whose…

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Specialized beads and tapes speed up the drywall finishing process

By Tim Biebel / November 28, 2017

The drywall phase of a project is that major point in a build when people are able to finally visualize the interior spaces of a house. As builders, it comes as second nature to us when the walls are only framed up. I am amazed at how many clients come…

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The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood

By Tim Biebel / November 20, 2017

 Cost and energy efficiency considerations drove many design decisions for the ProHOME project. But the upgrades inside, like the cabinets and counters in the kitchen and the radiant heat in the bathroom, help to make the sale. Watch this video to see how these factors related to finish a…

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ProHOME mechanicals demonstrate reasonably priced principles of efficient design.

By Tim Biebel / November 8, 2017

 The ProHOME is an all-electric and solar-ready house. Designing the mechanicals starts with the target R-values, then the design for the heating system. Minisplit heat pumps take care of heating and cooling. Because the ProHOME is airtight, it uses a ventilation system. We use a heat-pump water heater for…

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The Zehnder Ventilation System: Running The Ducting

By Tim Biebel / October 31, 2017

Tight houses need air exchange. Period. Our target air exchange rate for this house is less than 1 ACH50 and with a goal like that, a clean source of fresh air will be necessary. This was our first time using the Zehnder system. We’ve relied on another heat-recovery ventilator(HRV) product in…

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Boral’s TruExterior Siding & Trim offers a sharp, clean look

By Tim Biebel / October 28, 2017



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Minisplit System for a Happy Mother-in-Law

By Tim Biebel / October 19, 2017

The system is sized for temperature control in each room. The ProHOME is heated and cooled with Mitsubishi Heat Pumps. Specifically, there are two outdoor units (MXZ-3C24NAHZ2) that feed five indoor units (two on one outdoor unit and three on the other). This provides 48,000 btu’s of heating capacity, which…

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