Building Science: Volume 1, Issue 12

SEON’s Sustainable Energy Outreach Network Newsletter

In this issue

  • Message from the Executive Director
  • Our members – in action
  • Interesting Links
  • Resources
  • Meetings & Conferences
  • Job Opportunities
  • Thank you, Members

From SEON’s Executive Director

It’s December and Happy Holidays!

The Legislative Committee, Building Energy Code Study Committee, issued their commissioned report on December 1, 2023. It was thorough in responding to the objectives of  ACT 47, and quite surprisingly the report addressed the need for education and continuous learning within the building trades. Here is a quote from their findings. The Committee also recognizes that the lack of understanding of building science is leading to buildings experiencing costly failures, such as mold, mildew, and rot within walls and ceilings. As more advanced energy codes are adopted, the likelihood of such failures will likely increase. The Committee further recommends exploration of a statewide residential building code, state-recognized voluntary builder certification, and increased outreach, education, and training to address this deficiency.

The Committee was unable to identify what organization should assume responsibility for designing a state-recognized builder certification. SEON took the unprecedented move to pull together a coalition of all homebuilding trade and nonprofit organizations to define a certification program as a high performance builder with a focus on building science. Secondarily, to develop a strategy to inform the public about the criticality of high performance building/remodeling and the capacity of builders to deliver such a product. The following organizations have agreed to participate: SEON, Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Builders and Remodelers Assn, Vermont Chapter of Associated Building Contractors, Vermont Chapter of Association of General Contractors. Vermont Green Building Network, Building Performance Professionals of VT, Vermont Passive House, Vermont Talent Pipeline, ReSource, Vermont Works for Women. Our first meeting is scheduled for sometime in January 2024.

While it is true that far too many builders and contractors do not see themselves as high performance builders, yet it is an accepted understanding amongst industry professionals that you cannot build to Vermont’s Energy Code, let alone achieve net-zero without an understanding of building science. This will be a cultural shift for many of the building industry, and progress can only be made without the advocacy of the building industry leaders, the public, the government, the media, and local organizational entities like the Energy Committees

Our newsletter will keep you abreast of the coalition’s work.

Onward! And until the New Year!

Guy Payne
Executive Director


Our Members – in Action


You’ve heard of Elf on the Shelf, but have you heard of…


The Farnum crew is top notch! Check out this basement job vapor barrier and spray foam.

475 High Performance Building Supply

Bravo to 475 High Performance Building Supply for being featured on Matt @risingerbuild | Brink FLAIR 400 ERV / HRV in the recent New Building Products Review on @buildshownetwork. They are the first to carry Brink in North America, with their 40 years of research and development in heat recovery ventilation. Matt’s introduction is expanding the awareness of high performance heat recovery ventilation to a whole new set of builders.


Tim Lillis, Builder 

Jacking, leveling and underpinning this little old barn.


HELM Construction Solutions
Evening Star Joinery, nestled by Lake Michigan in Harbor Springs, MI, boasts a 40-year legacy under founder Jeff Ford. Now, transitioning leadership to his son, Peter, HELM steps in as a guiding force. Over the past year, HELM has provided coaching, change management checks, and process alignment. ESJ’s mission gains renewed vigor as it deepens project management, service offerings, and community engagement with HELM’s support.


Mindel and Morse Builders | Bluetime Collaborative
What’s better than getting pictures from your clients showing how your houses start to mature and settle into the landscape? Design by @robertswinburne


Owl’s Head Builders
Keeping busy…

Riding the elephant…

Storm’s coming…

Delta Energy Works

Check out Delta Energy Works’ demonstration unit. On display at their showroom / warehouse / training space at 169 Marlboro Rd is a new TOSOT 24K Single Zone mini-split. These units are rated to push out the full 24,000 BTUs of heating at 5F, and even reaching performance all the way down to -22F.


Wadsworth Design | Build

Oh, but to spend the Winter in this Wadsworth Design project!


Wright Builders

Look at this beauty of a machine! This HX160 is the perfect fit at a land clearing job for a new development. Did you know you can rent or demo from them?


Unity Homes

A new Unity Värm was just raised on a beautiful sunny site in Eastern New York, the perfect spot for a modern farmhouse powered by solar. Their Värm design offers a range of 2 to 4 bedrooms and 2 to 4 bathrooms as one of our larger two-story designs, which clients can tailor through our Streamlined design path. This specific home has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a screened porch, entry porch, full basement and garage—4,341 livable square footage in total.


Shelterwood Construction

Sweet steam shower with transom window. Notice the appropriate pitch in the ceiling so moisture rolls down onto the walls. There is actually a requirement for this -to be a certain pitch. The steam shower unit is tucked away behind the shiplap with a hidden door.
Curbless flush floor for future accessibility for the homeowners.


Mathes Hulme Builders

Lake Raponda night views 🕯️


Housewright Construction, Inc.

Housewright Construction collaborates with some amazing professional local Consultants at HWC. And then come the testimonials!



Hempstone, LLC

All lined up and ready to plaster!⁠
⁠What is your favorite lime plaster trowel shape?⁠


GPI Construction Inc.

Making great progress on phase 1 of the Windham County Humane Society project. If you’re considering a year-end charitable donation, the Windham County Humane Society is a great organization!

Earthshare Construction LLC

A look back at Truss Day 1 – what better time to start than winter!

Sustainable Design

A look back at the time Vermont Magazine did a feature on a Sustainable Design’s award-wining home design.

Sierra Pacific Windows

They make all kinds of windows but they really love the big ones!


SEON Members who weren’t on social media

  • Alan Wall
  • All Seasons Construction
  • Andrew Day
  • Bob Rueter
  • Duane Case
  • Efficiency Vermont
  • EnviroProfit, LLC
  • Friends of the Sun
  • Integrated Solar Applications Corporation (“ISA”)
  • JA Saccoccio Workshop, PLLC
  • Snowdog Construction
  • Steve Sebastian
  • Tom McLoughlin
  • Windham Regional Career Center

Quote of the Month

Interesting Links

► The built environment and our health are inextricably linked.

► Want to make buildings more sustainable? Give them a brain!

► Should Vermont Jump in on the Transformative Power of Building Groups: A Community-Driven Solution to the Housing Affordability Crisis

► Groundbreaking Report Reveals Up to 2.1 Million Construction Workers Misclassified, Uncovering a Major Issue in Labor Practices and Fair Compensation in the Building Industry.

► A new way to decarbonize buildings can lower emissions—profitably

► Housing crisis? Conserve more — not less — vulnerable farm and forest land and more densely develop a range of housing options within designated growth areas.

► The Creepy Folklore Behind Slanted Windows on Houses


► Best Practices for Internal Communication & Digital Organization (HELM)

The CARE (Carbon Avoided: Retrofit Estimator) Tool is used for calculating and comparing the embodied, operating and avoided carbon impacts and benefits of reusing and upgrading existing buildings or replacing them with new construction.

Meetings & Conferences

Better Building by Design: April 3–4, 2024 at the DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington, VT.  The theme is “Blueprint for Equity: Energy Efficiency & the Future of Building”.

Job Opportunities

Become a part of an innovative and forward-thinking design-build company that is
revolutionizing the sustainable home building industry.  Bensonwood Homes is hiring:

Thank you, Members