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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…Read More
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, but then it happened. We…Read More
As Y2K approached and many thought the world might end or would at the very least be extremely discombobulated in attempting to adjust clocks and computers to the new millennium, Biebel reminisces, “We stocked up a year’s supply of food, just in case, and we asked ourselves, ‘Why are we buying food that comes from…Read More
Building a net zero home in Vermont is becoming the new norm in residential construction. Want proof? Check out the almost limitless amount of media buzz, ready support from utility companies and government…and the plethora of clearly visible “solar farms” along the state’s highways. But constructing a net zero home in Vermont, New Hampshire, or…Read More
Let me start off by defining, “better.” From the standpoint of construction quality or practices, an IECC home and a net-zero home will be the same. From the standpoint of saving energy, net-zero wins hands down. Let’s see why. The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) The IECC is a residential coding standard that stipulates minimum…Read More
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 energy consumption is equal to…Read More
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 the past that we’d chosen…Read More
Solar panels with sunflowers in Net Zero Construction in Vermont: Building Delivery Systems that work. Whenever a new term grows to a certain level of popularity, it can become a buzzword in any given industry. When the term becomes a buzzword, its original definition can become skewed. The term “net-zero energy” is one of those terms.…Read More
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 with wrap around porches, high…Read More
For the window and door headers, we used 3½-in.-thick Weyerhaeuser Parallam PSL beams. Using Parallam PSL speeds up the framing process as they don’t require any assembly, the way sandwiching a piece of ½-in. plywood between two pieces of dimensional lumber would. Just cut them and nail and screw them into place. Although the exterior 2×4…Read More