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Articles About Building High Performance Custom Homes

The 3 Latest Technologies You Need to Build a Net Zero Home in Vermont

By Prudent / May 25, 2017

  Are you thinking about building a net zero home in Vermont but find the technical terms confusing? Many of the terms used to describe net zero can be confusing only because they are new terms. A net zero home in Vermont or New Hampshire—regions known for temperature extremes—needs to…

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The Construction of a High-Performance Home: Week 12

By Prudent / April 28, 2017

An air tight barrier in a high performance home is critical to making the home perform at a high level of energy efficiency. To ensure that we are meeting our own expectations for air tightness, I perform a blower door test on the house at least once during construction to identify…

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The Construction of a High-Performance Home: Week 11

By Prudent / April 24, 2017

I have this dream that I will one day live in a high-performance home. It’s hard not to want to when you are involved with building them each day. Super tight construction, high levels of insulation, largely maintenance free, and inexpensive to heat and cool! Who wouldn’t want that? At…

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The Construction of a High-Performance Home: Week 10

By Prudent / April 21, 2017

Week ten was one of those weeks where it would be difficult to notice how much work was accomplished on this high performance home if you hadn’t been on site all week to see firsthand. These are the times when the crew loves it when I show up and say,…

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Why Build a High-Performance Home?

By Prudent / April 14, 2017

If you’re thinking of building a high-performance home, and you want the best “bang for your bucket of bucks,” prudence suggests that you consider the advantages of going high-tech, even perhaps aiming for a net-zero home. “Net-zero” describes a home in which the renewable energy sources that are incorporated into…

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The Construction of a High-Performance Home: Week 9

By Prudent / April 6, 2017

With insulation planned for the coming week, the crew has turned their attention to preparing the air barrier on the exterior walls of this high-performance home. The air barrier, which is Intello Plus Membrane, is stapled to the studs on the exterior wall and will hold back the dense packed…

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The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 8

By Prudent / March 28, 2017

I stopped by the high performance home site today and listened to the subcontractors in the attic above me murmuring about how it was such a pain to get anything done with the membrane already installed on the ceiling below. I chuckled. As high performance home builders, paying attention to energy…

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The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 7

By Prudent / March 21, 2017

Hey now! Despite the blizzard of the century, perhaps even the history of the universe, great progress was made on the project last week. The windows were delivered to the site the day after the storm, before we even had a chance to dig out and were all in their…

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The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 6

By Tim Biebel / March 20, 2017

With the roof framing completed and the waterproof membrane in place, the focus has turned to finishing the interior framing so the electricians and plumbers can move in and begin their work. Once that’s completed, the crew will move back outside and complete a few minor framing items, like the…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes:Intersection of Exterior Wall & Rafter

By Tim Biebel / March 16, 2017

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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The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 5

By Tim Biebel / March 6, 2017

The completion of week five leaves us with a partially finished roof system and the garage concrete not yet poured. The roof trusses, which were dropped off Monday morning, had to be set by hand (mostly) because the crane could not be on site long enough thanks to the load…

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

By Tim Biebel / March 2, 2017

We’ve discovered that a double 2×4, balloon framed, 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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The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 4

By Tim Biebel / March 1, 2017

At the risk of sounding more like a blog about the weather than one about the construction of a high performance home, I will keep the weather comments brief. Here’s the skinny: the weather changed our schedule yet again! The roads, which have “never in history been posted in February,”…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Is Balloon Framing making a comeback?

By Tim Biebel / February 23, 2017

I grew up in a big old house on Main Street in the historic section of Windsor, VT. It was four stories high on the backside. I’m not sure what type of architectural style to call it. Some would say that it was just a large vintage New England home…

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The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 3

By Tim Biebel / February 21, 2017

Weather is a fickle thing. One minute it’s snowing, and the next minute it’s snowing again. Then, just like that, it starts snowing again. This week, we received over eighteen inches of snow, which buried our hopes and production expectations for the week. Nevertheless, when I left the site Friday…

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The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 2

By Tim Biebel / February 13, 2017

Winter has returned with a vengeance, which only adds to my already growing disdain for it. February is the worst. Next month, March will be the worst. Construction during the winter can be like running an uphill marathon. Twice. Everything takes longer than it should, and the coffee gets cold…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Exterior Wall Assembly

By Tim Biebel / February 10, 2017

To keep any house affordable, efficiency during the construction process is key. A high-performance wall assembly is no exception. There are multiple ways to construct a high-performance wall, but which one makes the most sense from a cost standpoint when building an affordable zero energy home? Spray foam insulation has…

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Never Too Old!

By Tim Biebel / November 2, 2016

  Paul Biebel, president of Biebel Builders and Prudent Living, Inc. has been honored by the Governor’s Commission on Successful Aging.  A special review team comprised of private sector representatives, state government, mature workers and commission members reviewed numerous applications submitted for consideration for a Governor’s Award for Business Excellence…

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Ask the Experts: Energy Consevation

By Prudent / September 1, 2015

Question: I want to do what I can to conserve energy and also to become a more responsible consumer of resources in terms of our home and family. Where can a person begin if they have limited resources but a real desire to live more prudently in relation to renewable…

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Make Your Meter Spin Backwards

By Prudent / September 1, 2015
Custom Home Build

A Spin You Can Trust How often do we wonder if what we hear on the news is really the truth? “It’s all in how you spin it,” they say. One reporter says that “such and such happened” and we believe it.  But then we change channels and get hit…

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Solar Hot Water: Reduce Your Energy Bill by 20–40 Percent

By Prudent / September 1, 2015

by Don Wemple Solar hot water systems (SHW) use basic thermal principles to capture incoming solar radiation and heat water for domestic and other uses. Over the years, a variety of system designs have been developed and tested to meet specific consumer needs and conditions. Due to the cold climate…

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