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Articles About Building High Performance Custom Homes

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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A Home Energy Audit Helps You Save

By Prudent / September 1, 2015

by Tim Biebel, Vice President, Prudent Living Inc. Not so long ago, when fuel oil and gasoline prices were hitting an all-time high, people struggled to pay for their heating bill and gas for their vehicles. Not everyone can install a high-efficiency furnace or buy a new car that gets…

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When Prudence and Presumption Collide

By Prudent / September 1, 2015
Energy code home vs Net zero home

by Paul Biebel, President, Prudent Living, Inc. It was on February 10, 1989, when this builder and his architect suddenly discovered that life guarantees nothing. Of course, we knew this was technically true, as most thinking people do, but we weren’t living as if we believed it. In fact, everything…

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Vermont Home Tour

By Prudent / September 1, 2015
vermont home tour

Passive-solar homesite: We designed our home to function at a passive-solar level by positioning the majority of windows to face the sun. This meant our home would be placed on the site almost on the compass points with the least amount of glass facing north, and the maximum glass facing…

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The Way of the Future

By Prudent / August 31, 2015

by Paul Biebel, Founder and President, Prudent Living, Inc. If I were a prophet, I would predict that: • The development of Renewable Energy and Strategies for Sustainable Living will prove to be as important to the 21st century as indoor plumbing, electricity, and the telephone were in the last…

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How’s That Work? – Debunking Energy Myths

By Prudent / August 31, 2015

by Tim Biebel, Vice President, Prudent Living Inc. Marketing firms always present their products in the most positive light possible. In their defense, that is their job. In your defense, you need to be aware that some things aren’t always “AS SEEN ON TV” when it comes to energy efficient…

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NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard)

By Prudent / August 31, 2015

by Paul Biebel, Founder and President, Prudent Living, Inc. Last summer, I attended an evening SEON (Sustainable Energy Outreach Network) conference in Brattleboro, Vermont. It was a Building Science Guild meeting where Representative Margaret Cheney was the keynote speaker. She had just returned from a visit to Europe and was…

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