Articles About Building High Performance Custom Homes

IECC Home vs. Net Zero Construction in Vermont: Which is Better?

By Tim Biebel / March 27, 2020

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…

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How Solar Power Achieves Net Zero Construction in Vermont

By Tim Biebel / March 14, 2020

For the obvious reason, solar power plays a big part in home energy efficiency. It’s the component that allows most homes within Vermont to become energy independent and achieve annual net-zero energy consumption. Just how important is solar in achieving net-zero construction in Vermont? And what are the big differences you’ll find between…

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How Much More Does It Cost to Build a Net Zero Home in Vermont?

By Tim Biebel / February 23, 2020

One of the main questions people ask about building a net zero home in Vermont is, “How much will it cost?” Building a net zero home costs about 10 percent more than building the same house without the high tech, high performance, money-saving elements.  But spending 10 percent more during…

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

By Tim Biebel / February 8, 2020

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 4 Key Elements to Achieving a Net Zero Home in Vermont

By Tim Biebel / January 25, 2020

Net Zero Energy is the coming norm for new home construction in several states, including Vermont. While the Vermont Legislature has mandated that all new homes achieve net zero energy standards by 2030, net zero energy is rapidly growing in popularity in states like New Hampshire, that don’t have a mandate.…

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How Real Estate Brokers Can Help with Net Zero Construction in Vermont

By Tim Biebel / January 11, 2020

When you begin your buying journey to build a net zero home in Vermont or New Hampshire, where should you start? What resources should you employ? Typically, buyers and even more so, sellers, of conventional residential homes will contact a real estate broker early in their journey. But what about…

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Six Key Components of the Thermal Boundary in Zero Energy Homes

By Tim Biebel / December 22, 2019

Air barrier Minimizing air movement in and out of a house is key to building an energy-efficient home. Many of the materials used in a house as structural and finish components can act as air barriers. Sealing all the holes and seams between sheet goods such as drywall, sheathing, and…

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Net Zero Construction in Vermont: Building Delivery Systems that Work

By Tim Biebel / December 13, 2019

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”…

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Top Questions To Ask A High Performance Builder Before You Buy

By Tim Biebel / November 21, 2019

In this article, we are going to give you some of the top questions to ask a high-performance builder during the interview process. These are questions that they should be able to answer based on the knowledge and experience of building high-performance homes. How do air barriers differ from vapor…

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Net-Zero, Primary Residence Homes, Part 4

By Tim Biebel / November 9, 2019

How do we achieve a Prudent Living, Net-Zero home? Here’s our approach: Keep it simple – There are only two questions worth asking.  What are the facts? What’s in it for me? Avoid complicating conversations about Net-Zero with useless discussions about micro-mathematics, Scientific R-values vs Builder R-values, charts and graphs…

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Net-Zero, Primary Residence Homes, Part 3

By Tim Biebel / October 25, 2019

One way to build a truly Net-Zero house is to design the house in such a way that all heating and cooling and lighting devices are electric.  Everything in the house gets its power from the grid. If this is the case, then it’s very easy to measure our consumption…

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Net-Zero, Primary Residence Homes, Part 2

By Tim Biebel / October 12, 2019

First of all, the process of building a house consumes a huge amount of energy before anyone even moves in and calls it home.  Here’s a brief snapshot of what I mean.    There’s no such thing as a house that doesn’t consume energy Site & Concrete:  First the loggers…

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Net-Zero, “Primary Residence” Homes, Part 1

By Paul Biebel / September 26, 2019

What is a home?  Is it just a house that people live in until they don’t live there anymore? How is a house different than a condo when both could be considered homes? What about apartments and second homes … third homes, etc.  I always thought there was only one…

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Is Geothermal Right For My Home?

By Restec / September 14, 2019

Geothermal heat systems are the most energy efficient, environmentally clean and cost effective space conditioning systems available today declared the EPA in the 1970’s.  And it’s still true.  Conventional residential and light commercial heating and cooling systems are generally fossil fuel and electricity based.  As energy prices fluctuate the demand…

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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for Net Zero Construction in Vermont?

By Tim Biebel / August 31, 2019

If you’re thinking about building a home that will comply to net zero construction in Vermont standards, no doubt you’ll have some questions about solar PV systems. Only a few years ago the thought of having solar panels all over your roof was considered a weird or ugly thing to…

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How Do Micro Inverters Work In a Custom Zero Energy Home?

By Tim Biebel / August 24, 2019

Every year when I dig out the Christmas lights I wonder how many of them are going to work and how long it will take me to find the one light that doesn’t, so I can replace that one light in order to get the entire strand to light up.…

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The Top 3 Myths of Net Zero Construction in Vermont and New Hampshire

By Tim Biebel / August 10, 2019

Since net zero construction in Vermont and New Hampshire is the latest (and we think greatest) form of residential construction practices, there are some common myths about net zero homes. Let’s dispel these myths: Myth #1) I Need to Compromise on Design This misperception may have drifted over from the auto…

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A Tale of Two Houses (Less to Build vs. Less to Own)

By Tim Biebel / July 20, 2019

A couple stopped by my office recently and inquired about building a new house. Since we have been building houses for about 40 years, this was no surprise and it also didn’t surprise me that they didn’t have drawings yet. Their thoughts were pretty vague about what they wanted except…

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Solar Harvesting is Agriculture

By Paul Biebel / July 13, 2019

The Harvesting of Solar Energy is agriculture.  Geothermal and Wind power is too.  In fact, I contend that all forms of energy harvesting is agriculture.  Property Taxes are determined in various ways but one way is by how we use a specific piece of property.  Some activities are taxed at…

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How Do Micro Inverters Work In a Custom Zero Energy Home?

By Tim Biebel / June 29, 2019

Every year when I dig out the Christmas lights I wonder how many of them are going to work and how long it will take me to find the one light that doesn’t, so I can replace that one light in order to get the entire strand to light up.…

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How Does a Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic System Work In Your High Performance Home?

By Tim Biebel / June 25, 2019

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems provide clean electricity that has many benefits. Renewable energy is better for the environment, better for your bottom line, and is long lasting. So while it is easy to understand the benefits of clean energy, it is not alwayseasy to understand how it is produced. Certain components required by code have been left out…

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