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Articles About Building High Performance Custom Homes

A Home Energy Audit Helps You Save

By Paul Biebel / September 1, 2015
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 1

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 Paul Biebel / 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 Paul Biebel / 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 Paul Biebel / 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 Paul Biebel / 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 Paul Biebel / 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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Expect Rain

By Paul Biebel / August 31, 2015

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, “Into each life some rain must fall.” Must is the key word in this simple phrase. If some rain must fall into each life, sometime, the most prudent approach is to be prepared. The word “pre-pare,” originating around 1525 AD, is from the Latin praeparāre,…

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Net Zero – Buy the Numbers?

By Paul Biebel / July 24, 2015
A Net Zero Energy Home

When evaluating the purchase of a renewable energy component (solar in particular) just how important is that “break-even” number, anyway? Well, it makes very little sense for anyone hoping to advance the merits of solar energy and high performance construction to avoid an issue that, for most consumers, is a…

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Net Zero – Is It Worth It?

By Paul Biebel / January 22, 2015
Net Zero or Energy Code

    A net zero home is one that generates as much energy as it consumes over an annual basis, but is it worth the extra expense?   If you have ever pondered this question you would be well served to join us next on Thursday the 29th for a…

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The Value of a Human Life?

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 2

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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Down the Up Staircase

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 3

How an Eyesore Became a Centerpiece When Tom and Sarah purchased an 1870 farmhouse 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…

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Safety On The Home Front

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 4

by Nancy Wolff When I was asked to write an article on Safety my mind started to go in all different directions. Should I write about the safety of using homemade cleaning products versus store bought? Of the importance of keeping the prongs of a garden rake pointed downwards when…

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Huey’s Vampire Electronics

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 5

Adventures of Jeb and Huey: Vampire Electronics by Nathan Biebel The old pickup truck belonging to Jebediah Forethought kicked up dust behind it as it rumbled along the dirt road that served as a shortcut home. The shortcut brought him by the property of Huey Hindsight, which gave Jeb a…

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Safety in Your Home

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
wemple, bridgewater, off grid

by David B. Biebel You may spend half of your life at work or school, but the other half you spend at home. Work places have safety rules with inspections and warnings for workers. How many homes have you been in where safety rules were posted? Many injuries and illnesses…

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How Much Per Square Foot?

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 6

by Paul Biebel, President Biebel Builders, Inc & Prudent Living, Inc In thirty years of building homes, the most common question I’ve heard from prospective clients is: “How much will it cost per square foot?” The answer to that question is: “Well…cough…sputter…gag…that depends….” If you ever hear another answer from…

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Window Covering Tips

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 7

by Nancy Wolff A Good Set of Window Blinds Can Make You More Energy Independent. A few years ago my husband and I met Larry Sportello of Budget Blinds out of Keene, NH. We have two large south facing windows and we were looking for way to help keep our…

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Why Build a High-Tech Home?

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 8

If you’re thinking of building a 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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Barn Becomes Net-Zero Home

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 9

(Adapted from Prudent Living Magazine: Volumes 1-3, 2012) 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…

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Energy Interdependence

By Paul Biebel / May 21, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 10

by David B. Biebel – Editor-in-Chief Early one morning not so long ago, a young neighbor came knocking. Obviously distraught, he said, “I missed my bus. Mom’s at work. Could you give me a ride to school?” In years past, I would not have hesitated. But with the Trayvon Martin…

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Prudent Living and the Lebanon Rotary Club

By Paul Biebel / May 14, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 11

Prudent Living, Inc. and LaValley Building Supply recently hosted 30 members and guests of the Lebanon (NH) Rotary Club at LaValley Building Supply’s West Lebanon store for lunch and a presentation on the development of the Prudent Living Train display. Company president, Paul Biebel, discussed the history and creation of…

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What’s New at Prudent Living

By Paul Biebel / May 14, 2014
The modified Cape / Farmhouse look fits the neighborhood 12

Prudent Living, Inc. has begun offering monthly building and energy-related workshops, open to the public and free-of-charge. Company personnel will present information and lead discussion around such topics as: Designing Your Own Home Mini-Splits…Efficiency in a Small Package Insulation – How Much is Enough? Building a Home? Site and Lot…

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