Posts by Paul Biebel
Because It’s Time, Part 1
The idea had been kicking around in his head since 1989, when Paul Biebel finally decided “it was time” to get it going. Even though it was over 20 years ago when he first thought about it, he remembers it like it was yesterday. “First it was the S&L Scandals on Feb 10th, 1989, when…Read More
Budgeting for Site and Lot Improvements, Part 2
This document is a very good investment to have in one’s file. It protects everyone past, present, and future; especially when it comes time to sell or re-finance. By state law, Vermont Banks cannot gain clear title to its own property without such letters of compliance. This makes the Banking Institution very nervous. This particular…Read More
Why Build a High-Tech Home?
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 design produce the equivalent of…Read More
Net-Zero, “Primary Residence” Homes, Part 1
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 place we call “home” and…Read More
Solar Harvesting is Agriculture
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 a lower level than others. …Read More
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…Read More
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 –…Read More
How Does a Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic System Work In Your High Performance Home?
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 of the following diagram in order…Read More
The 3 Latest Technologies You Need to Build a Net Zero Home in Vermont
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 known for temperature extremes—needs to rely on the best technologies…Read More
The Construction of a High-Performance Home: Week 12
An air tight barrier in a high performance home is critical to making the home perform at a high level of energy efficiency. To ensure that we are meeting our own expectations for air tightness, I perform a blower door test on the house at least once during construction to identify areas that could use a…Read More