Thinking of building or improving your home?
Come see what high performance looks like.
The Sustainable Home Tour showcases homes and the design/construction teams whose work demonstrates a commitment to high performance building, sustainable materials, durability, indoor air quality, and renewable energy. It’s a “Show & Tell” opportunity to see how these homes look and feel while also learning about the technologies and processes that make these homes sustainable. It’s the perfect time to go for a ride, take in the foliage, and check out these high performance homes. (The Sustainable Home Tour is also a fundraiser for SEON so it can continue its Sustainable Home Series of public forums.)
2017 Sustainable Home Tour
The following six homes exemplify high performance building by giving consideration to energy efficiency, durability, indoor air quality and renewable energy. More details are included in the Sustainable Home Tour Guide booklet which will be handed out on the day of the tour. The booklet also includes directions and a Glossary of Terms.
|#1 - Maher/Selwyn Residence, 38 Forest Avenue, Greenfield, VT (New home; Vermont Natural Homes and Robert Swinburne, Architect), Massachusetts Tier 3 certification
The owners wanted their new home to be part of the solution rather than adding to the problem. This meant building an energy efficient home that also included low maintenance, an aging-in-place design, good views of the outside, beauty, and a style that fit the neighborhood of mostly capes and four squares. Keeping all this in mind, they turned to their son-in-law, Robert Swinburne, to be the architect because he understood their needs and aesthetics.
This home achieved an ACH50 of 0.66 and a HERS Index of 38. The super-insulated shells has triple glazed European style windows and features two Mitsubishi air source heat pumps along with Lunos HRVs. Local woods were used throughout, as well as local slate tile for bath and mudroom. The countertops are Ashfield stone, a native Berkshire stone.
The owners and Robert Swinburne will be available to answer questions.
|#2 - Yost Residence, 208 Fariview Street, Brattleboro, VT (Deep Energy Retrofit; Peter Yost)
Peter Yost, Vice President, Technical Services of BuildingGreen, Inc., blogger and educator on high performance homes , along with his wife, Christine, bought this house knowing it needed a ton of work, but chose it because the structure was sound, the basement was dry (mostly), and the neighborhood was perfect for their young family. This 1907-built home needed just about everything: new wiring, bath remodel, installation of working laundry, kitchen/mud room addition, basement and attic air sealing and insulating.
Over a period of 11 years, working room by room, they have dragged this home kicking and screaming into high performance! Peter did the work himself with the exception of electrical and heating/plumbing contractors. This home features Delta low-flow shower heads, a high efficiency Weil-McLein boiler, locally sourced granite countertops and SIP panels for the kitchen addition. There was a special focus on water management (rainscreen cladding systems) and durability. Peter will be available to answer questions.
|#3 - Wilson Airbnb, 30 Spring Street, Brattleboro, VT (Addition; Vermont Natural Homes and Robert Swinburne, Architect)
This house in downtown Brattleboro was purchased by the owners in early 2017 for two reasons: first, to make it livable for Jerelyn’s mother during her summer visits, and, secondly, to make it suitable for an Airbnb rental the rest of the year.
The energy efficient addition and retrofit/renovation demonstrate the builder’s historically sensitive approach to this early 1800s timber frame cottage.
Mineral wool batt insulation as well as rigid mineral wool board was used for insulation. The house includes a 2 zone heating system with both a wall mounted and a floor mounted Mitsubishi Air Source Heat Pump and off-site solar PV (i.e. it shares solar from the Wilsons' primary residence in Dummerston, which is GMP grid tied.) Chad Mathrani, owner, Vermont Natural Homes, will be available to answer questions.
|#4 - Wilson Residence, 251 Leonard Road, Dummerston, VT (Renovation / Deep Energy Retrofit: Ironwood Brand) Vermont Energy Star certified—5 Star Plus
Sustainable design has been Alex Wilson’s career focus for over 35 years, including founding Brattleboro-based BuildingGreen. He saw their house as an opportunity to practice what he’s been preaching. It was also an opportunity for Alex to try out some of the products, materials, and technologies that he’d been writing about.
The homeowners set out with a goal of achieving net-zero-energy performance using a solar array on the barn and avoiding all use of fossil fuels. The 1,500 square-foot house is all-electric, heated by a single 18,000 Btu/hour Mitsubishi air-source heat pump and there’s a small wood stove for back-up heating.
For insulation, they used sprayed fiberglass and cork for the walls and Foamglas for the basement slab and walls. The house also features a Zehnder Comfoair 350 HRV and a Geospring heat pump water heater. Alex Wilson will be available to answer questions.
|#5 - Walther Residence, 37 Bittersweet Lane,Brattleboro, VT (New home: Greenberg Associates/Klein Builders)
VEIC, 5+ star “Home Energy Rated” Home, Energy Code Plus rating: Bronze Tier
In addition to the energy saving building techniques listed below, this house is focused on accessibility and was designed for retirement. It includes ramps, grab bars, properly sized bathrooms and toilets, and a residential elevator. The house has a sprinkler system. Another feature is an indoor dog area and exterior run. (The owners had husky dog teams in the past.)
This home features a Fantech Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV), Daikin air source heat pump, scissor trusses, dense packed cellulose insulation, Energy Star appliances and locally sourced maple flooring.
|#6 - Thurrell Residence, 1917 U.S. Route 5, East Dummerston, VT (New home: VERMOD Homes)
This is a VERMOD net-zero modular home using 6 kW of Community Solar to supply 100% of its electricity, including powering an electric vehicle. The owner cites “love of the earth” as his reason for choosing to purchase a VERMOD home. And the process was much easier compared to building a home. He moved in the day they delivered the home and just had to hook up the well, septic and electric/phone. Peter also says the price was probably half the cost of a similarly built on-site stick construction.
This high performance home has a super-insulated shell with double stud walls filled with dense packed fiberglass, EarthWise triple pane windows, a Mitsubishi air source heat pump, a GE heat pump water heater, and a BuildEquinox CERV (Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator).
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- Advance tickets: $12 or 2/$20 until 10/14
- Tickets at the Door: $15 or 2/$25 for adults
- Tickets at the Door: $5 (Ages 12 – 17), Free for children under 12
Buy tickets 3 ways:
- Buy advance tickets at Village Square Booksellers (Bellows Falls), Friends of the Sun (Brattleboro), and Everyone’s Books (Brattleboro). These locations will only accept cash or checks.
- Buy advance tickets online until noon, Wednesday, October 11th. (see below)
- Buy tickets on the day of the tour at any of the homes.
ON THE DAY of the TOUR: Exchange your online ticket receipt or paper ticket for a wristband at any of the tour homes. The wristband will admit you to any of the other homes on the tour. You’ll also receive a 28-pg Home Tour Guide booklet with photos, directions and details of each home.
After clicking the button, do not log in to PayPal. Instead, choose the bottom option, “Pay by Debit or Credit Card“.
This tour benefits the work of SEON, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, committed to advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy in the southeastern Vermont region through the education of the public and our building practitioners.
We appreciate your support!
If you’re interested in becoming a SEON member, click here.