Building Science News - sustainable energy residential home building vermont and new england SEON

Building Science: Volume 2, Issue 4

Building Science: Volume 2, Issue 4
SEON’s Sustainable Energy Outreach Network Newsletter

In this issue

  • Message from the Executive Director
  • SEON Spring Training Classes
  • Best of the Best Award goes to….
  • A WTF?!
  • Our members – in action
  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • psssst…. keep scrolling there’s more to see!
  • Become a Host Organization for Interns
  • BIG EVENT: Tools and Funding for Housing
  • Interesting Links
  • Resources
  • Meetings & Conferences
  • Thank you, Members

From SEON’s Executive Director

Hello Spring! It’s April

Solutions to Big Building Problems
Problem one: Concerned about escalating costs due to call-backs?
Problem two: Experiencing friction with clients due to team interactions?
Problem three: Is team productivity suffering due to certain members?
Solution: All of the above and more is the reason SEON developed the Crew Leadership Development training course. We’ve listened to your needs and can help you develop your mentoring skills, retain your workforce and optimizes operations, saving costs and improving client relations.

Did You Know?
In the past 7 years, fewer than 350 individuals have attained certification in building science in Vermont. This remarkable statistic underscores your specialized expertise and substantial influence as our state progresses towards its objective of achieving net-zero design for all new buildings by 2030. These numbers also highlight the importance of sharing our Basics of High-Performance Building training classes, as we need to equip our workforce, and you are the key individuals who can drive this initiative forward. Our final spring course is in Bennington, VT in May.

Good news (and departure) from Board Member Jason Van Nest

Professor Jason Van Nest has been named the First Director for the New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Offsite Construction. “I’m jazzed to push on this for sustainability reasons: Offsite construction practices cost 30% less waste and 40%-60% less CO2 to make the same building elements. There exists an urgency: modular firms all over the US are folding at an accelerating rate. The industry is too disorganized to compete well. So our charter project is to quickly version open-source standard for connecting Mods↔Buildings and Mods↔Mods (functioning like the USB standard).”

The appointment is expected to create extraordinary pressure on Jason’s time. For this reason, he submitted a letter of resignation from the Board effective April 6.

Jason and SEON remain deeply connected. Research at the Center has already produced new avenues of collaboration between SEON and the Center — hopefully more news to come, shortly.

The Vermont Homebuilding Coalition: Our next meeting will happen later this month. Stay tuned!

And finally:

Just back from Efficiency Vermont’s invigorating Better Building by Design (BBD) conference! Danny Combs, the standout Keynote Speaker, reshaped possibilities with his insights on neurodiversity and DEI—a must for any building team. Steve Spatz (our Board member), tackled workforce expansion in weatherization and climate transition, while Richard Faesy (one of our Vermont Homebuilding Coalition members) demystified compliance with the Residential Building Energy Standards Code 2024. These discussions are pivotal as we advance in residential homebuilding. BBD isn’t just about talks; it’s a catalyst for revolutionizing how we build, conserve, and thrive. Kudos to Efficiency Vermont for guiding the way!

Onward and upward until May!

Guy Payne
Executive Director


Spring Training

Basics of High Performance Building Classes

  • Date: May 2 & 9 / 3:45pm – 7:45pm
  • Location: Bennington, VT
  • Sign up ► here


Leadership Development  for Crew Leaders Classes

  • Date: April 17 and 24 / 3:45pm – 7:45pm
  • Location: Springfield, VT
  • Sign up ► here
  • Date: May 1 and 8 / 3:45pm – 7:45pm
  • Location: White River Junction, VT
  • Sign up ► here

Best of the Best 2024
Shelterwood Construction

SEON’s esteemed member, Shelterwood Construction, has been honored with the prestigious Best of the Best 2024 Award for Residential Construction from Efficiency Vermont for their project: Barnes Hill Road Waterbury Center, Vermont. The home (located in the hills of Waterbury Center) is situated on long-held family land and is a testament to familial collaboration and Vermont’s unique charm. Crafted by the homeowner’s brother and father with interior design by the homeowner’s mother, this net-zero abode showcases efficiency and elegance in a compact yet spacious design. Boasting European tilt and turn windows, locally sourced materials, double stud walls, passive house airtightness, and a cozy woodstove, this all-electric marvel marries sustainability with comfort seamlessly. The strategically positioned solar array, set on a purposeful 15-degree skewed foundation, optimizes solar gain while framing breathtaking mountain vistas and captivating sunsets. Notably, the home’s thoughtful design extends to accessibility, featuring a welcoming concrete ramp ensuring inclusivity for all visitors. Shelterwood Construction’s commitment to excellence shines through in every detail of this remarkable home, embodying the essence of Vermont living at its finest. Go here to see all the photos!



“WTF? ……This is how you test for a cracked flow sensor on a TEC blower door fan. See TEC “Procedure for Field Checking Model 3 Blower Door” no Tongue in cheek here….”⁠
Read more at Peter Yost’s Building Wright

Our Members – in Action

A Modern Car Barn

“Modern Car Barn is the first structure built on a 25-acre estate featuring custom hiking and biking trails along with expansive views of Stratton Mountain. Oriented due south, the recessed facade allows for maximum solar gain in the winter. The fully integrated cantilevered deck provides ultimate indoor-outdoor living in the summer.”
Read more at Wadsworth Design Build

Space Alien or…?

“A human-adjacent figure applying hempcrete.⁠”
Read more at Hempstone, LLC.

When Graphite Studio Comes on Board…

“Mountain Park Passive House Project….Lots of local lumber was used throughout the project and the team did a phenomenal job..”
Read more at Mathes Hulme Builders

Another Perspective
”Our contribution in the foreground.”⁠

Read more at Mindel and Morse Builders

Keep Scrolling! There’s more to see!

Plan Spotlight!

“The Zum Vallmo’s expansive design is popular along hillsides or mountain views, providing a view in all 3 of its bedrooms. Enter through the covered porch with a private office and coat closet, connecting the garage to the main volume. The open kitchen, dining, and living room have exposed posts and timbers, 14’ ceilings, and a modern bump-out perfect for a sitting area to admire the outdoors. Next to the kitchen is a walk-in pantry and food prep space, perfect for entertaining family and friends. The secondary bedrooms share a spacious bathroom and laundry area, with the primary bedroom at the end of the hall for added privacy.”
Read more at Unity Homes

Always Building

“Applauding ourselves for being on schedule and on budget ”
Read more at Owl’s Head Builders

A High Performance In-Town Retrofit/Addition

“A few more shots of our high performance in-town retrofit/addition. So many great team members and ingredients come together in every project!”
Read more at Earthshare Construction, LLC

Do’s and Don’t’s

Do’s and Don’t’s

“When it comes to designing and building your home, prioritizing longevity is key.  Whether you’re starting from scratch or giving your current space a facelift, choosing a reliable construction company is paramount.

Opting for one that values superior materials can help you steer clear of potential structural issues and ongoing maintenance headaches down the line. ”
Read more at Housewright Construction, Inc.

Become a Host Organization

Become a Host Organization and join Vermont Works for Women in revolutionizing the landscape of trades with the Trailblazers program, dedicated to empowering women in a field often dominated by gender norms and biases. Trailblazers provides a safe environment for women to develop confidence through mastering power tools, repair work, and construction skills. Interns, representing a unique demographic of educated, mid-career individuals, arrive prepared with OSHA 10 certification, basic tools, and a readiness to dive into hands-on work. As a Host Organization, you can make a significant impact by providing clear task planning, staff education on gender equity, and at least one full week of immersive work on a job site. Together, let’s empower women and pave the way for a more inclusive and skilled workforce in the trades. Please consider joining today!

BIG EVENT: Tools and Funding for Housing

Windham Windsor Housing Trust and the Windham Regional Commission are partnering to provide information about tools and funding that can encourage and support much needed housing.

Featured Topics:

VHIP 2.0: Presented by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, learn about the latest updates and initiatives in the Vermont Housing Investment Program.

Green Mountain Home Repair: Explore opportunities and resources for home repair and improvement projects.

Shared Equity: Discover strategies and programs related to shared equity housing models.

Presentation Highlights:

Windham Regional Commission: Discussing zoning and planning tools for housing initiatives, public infrastructure development, and brownfield redevelopment strategies.

Interactive Discussions: Towns are encouraged to share their own housing programs and initiatives during the event.

Date: April 17th at 4:00-6:00 PM.

Location: Newbrook Fire Station, Newfane

Virtual Option: Zoom

RSVP: Please RSVP to to secure your spot and receive Zoom details for virtual attendance.

Interesting Links

► Podcast: Women at the forefront of sustainable building. (Paula Melton of Building Green is on the linked episode above!)

► A Brief But Spectacular Take on rural America’s vanishing structures

►This City is Considering Zoning Changes to Encourage More Home Building

► A blizzard put a hyper-efficient home to the test. It passed.
► U.S. Department of Defense releases strategy for building resilient, healthy communities

A comprehensive study of building materials and bricks for residential construction


Four Key Reasons for Building with a Vented Rainscreen
► Best Practices for Internal Communication & Digital Organization (HELM)

► Read: “How a cutting-edge wood boiler and efficiency upgrades revived Rochester’s Stable Inn.

Meetings & Conferences

Construction Business Basics: Fundamentals of Pre-Construction and Project Management (7 Weeks). Visit the Helm Construction Solutions for all the dates.

Webinar: Job Cost Accounting in QuickBooks Desktop – Apr 18, 2024 or May 16, 2024

Paint Department Bucket Sale: WW Building Supply

Stop by Newfane on April 10th from 11-1 and in Wilmington on April 11th from 11-1. Have some pizza and see what paint items you can fit in your bucket!! 

Thank you, Members