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Posts by Tim Biebel

Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Exterior Wall Assembly

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 a higher R-value per inch than almost…

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Down the Up Staircase – How an Eyesore Became a Centerpiece

When Tom and Sarah purchased an 1870 farm house and barn in West Windsor, Vermont, in 2003, their farm was already famous. For example, they were told by several locals that “Good Morning, America” had once used the barn as a backdrop for one of their programs. And a 500-piece Rose Art Encore! jigsaw puzzle…

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Downsizing Your Home for Seniors: Managing The Stress

For some seniors, downsizing your home is an optional choice.  For others, it is done by necessity.  If both spouses are still living and maintaining the house (and property) where they raised their children, associated upkeep can be tiresome – even overwhelming.  Home maintenance that these seniors handled themselves may now need to be hired-out,…

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Downsizing Your Home or Right-sizing? Sustainable Living

One of our friends, a well-known author who recently passed 65, decided to “downsize” his home. His reasons were numerous, though none were financial (except that with less to pay to live, he would have more to share with those in need.) His wife was not in total agreement at first, but she has adjusted…

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What Is The Value of a Human Life?

Reflections on Forty Years of Building Codes by Paul Biebel, Founder and President, Prudent Living, Inc. Forty-three years ago, when I was just starting to learn different facets of the building trade, I worked as an unofficial apprentice to a licensed electrician in his eighties who had been around since the days of Edison –…

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Net Zero Home in Vermont: Do I Need a Back Up Heating System?

Net zero homes are powered by energy generated from solar panels and the local power company. Vermont (and New Hampshire) winters can be cold and dark. What happens if the power goes out in your net zero home in Vermont? 1) What are the Likely Scenarios? Before you build or even pick a location, it…

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Little Things Add Up in a Net Zero Energy Home

We build high-performance custom homes in New Hampshire and Vermont. In order for the owner to benefit from the State of New Hampshire’s Energy Star program, we have to comply with their strict performance criteria of the shell of the house. The State of NH sends their own inspector to the site and when he…

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The 3 Latest Technologies You Need to Build a High Performance Home

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 are known for temperature extremes—needs to rely on the best technologies to achieve the…

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Downsizing Your Home: All That Glitters Is Not Golden

So you’ve decided to start downsizing your home, and you want to live in Vermont, so now you’re searching for a builder who specializes in high-performance/zero energy home construction. You look online, you search everywhere … and you finally connect with someone who is “certified” in the field, and who promises to do the work…

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