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Articles About Building High Performance Custom Homes

Why Build a High-Performance Home?

By Tim Biebel / March 21, 2019

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 the…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Underslab Solutions

By Tim Biebel / March 12, 2019

The question isn’t so much, “How can we save money and still get an affordable zero energy home, but “where” can we save money?” Since we start building with a foundation, then it’s logical that the cost of a foundation is a good first place to start looking for places to…

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Affordable Zero Energy Homes: Exterior Wall Assembly

By Tim Biebel / February 23, 2019

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…

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Down the Up Staircase – How an Eyesore Became a Centerpiece

By Tim Biebel / February 8, 2019

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…

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Downsizing Your Home for Seniors: Managing The Stress

By Tim Biebel / January 15, 2019

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…

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Downsizing Your Home or Right-sizing? Sustainable Living

By Tim Biebel / January 3, 2019

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…

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The Key Benefits of High Performance Net Zero Construction in Vermont

By Tim Biebel / December 28, 2018

Building a high-performance net zero construction in Vermont is the best way to plan for your future. A high-performance home might cost a bit more upfront but offers the best long-term choice in terms of saving energy costs and saving the planet. So what are the key benefits? Energy Efficiency…

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What Is The Value of a Human Life?

By Tim Biebel / December 10, 2018

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…

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

By Tim Biebel / November 20, 2018

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…

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Little Things Add Up in a Net Zero Energy Home

By Tim Biebel / November 5, 2018

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…

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

By Tim Biebel / October 25, 2018

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…

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Downsizing Your Home: All That Glitters Is Not Golden

By Tim Biebel / October 10, 2018

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…

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Downsizing for Seniors: Why You Need The Net Zero Energy Option

By Tim Biebel / September 27, 2018

This article assumes that you are a senior and you are trying to discern the most prudent approach to downsizing: Okay, when you hear the words “net zero,” what comes to mind: __My favorite basketball player missed the buzzer-beater __ My investments just tanked __ My credit card is maxed…

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Heading For Retirement? Why a Zero Energy Home Is Just Right for You

By Tim Biebel / September 15, 2018

With retirement and fixed income living just a few years ahead, the handwriting was on the wall for Don Wemple: Find a way to reduce living costs, or find another place to live. The answer for the Bridgewater Corners, Vermont, renewable energy expert was relatively easy in one way – he…

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Heat Recovery Ventilation Facts for Net Zero Homes in Vermont

By Tim Biebel / September 6, 2018

When it comes to energy efficiency in Vermont, it’s important to design net zero homes to have heat recovery ventilation systems built into them. But what exactly is a heat recovery ventilation system, and what does it do? In short, a heat recovery ventilator, or HRV, warms incoming fresh air with heat…

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Downsizing for Seniors: Zero Energy Home Construction in Vermont

By Tim Biebel / August 20, 2018

ou’ve decided that it’s time to downsize and to do it in Vermont, so now you’re searching for a builder who specializes in high performance / zero energy home construction. Well, two out of three “ain’t bad” as they say. Some prefer to use the word “rightsize” rather than “downsize,”…

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The 3 Top Things to Avoid When Building a Net Zero Home in Vermont

By Tim Biebel / August 3, 2018

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…

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Little Things Add Up in a Net Zero Energy Home

By Tim Biebel / July 18, 2018

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…

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The Monster Is In The House

By Tim Biebel / July 8, 2018

Just after Christmas, the cold snap arrived, just as predicted by The Old Farmer’s Almanac. At first, the man wasn’t too concerned. The oil tank was full, he had managed to split and stack quite a lot of poplar. The first night wasn’t so bad; the big thermometer on the tree…

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What Type of Kitchen Cabinets Are Installed?

By Tim Biebel / June 20, 2018

Last November we installed Crown Point frameless cabinets and glass doors in one of the houses we were working on. They feature some innovative toes kicks and continuous horizontal trim pieces.  The kitchen cabinets in the ProHOME are manufactured by Crown Point Cabinetry out of Claremont, N.H. It was nice…

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Zero Energy Homes: A Home Energy Audit Helps You Save

By Tim Biebel / June 15, 2018

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 40 miles per gallon, but the latest…

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