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Our founder Scott Gardner and the crew here at Building Energy have specialized in energy retrofitting, home remodeling, green construction, and building high-performance, energy-efficient homes since 1981. We understand our customers make a significant investment and difference in the environment when they choose to work with us. That’s why when we launch our projects, we make them efficient the first time to ensure your investment lasts!

In the fall of 2022, Building Energy and Scott completed the ground-up construction of a high-performance home that neighbors the year-old construction also completed by Building Energy! 1058 Falls Road has quite the list of energy-efficient details that make it an overall high-performance and Efficiency Vermont Certified Home.

The Home

Located in the Historic Village of Shelburne on a wooded lot that sits against the Laplatte River, this 2,500-square-foot home has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. The home also has many other amenities, such as custom red fir cabinets, a shaded patio, and multiple energy-efficient editions that were installed to lower energy costs, the carbon footprint, and any future maintenance costs.

Energy Efficiency Features

  • Natural light
  • Smart thermostats
  • Electric range
  • High-efficiency cold climate heat pumps and air conditioning
  • Baseboard and radiant flooring 
  • High-efficiency natural gas backup hydronic heat, four zones, custom wooden baseboards with conversion available for future air-to-water heat pump conversion
  • Hybrid electrical heat pump hot water heater
  • Solar window shades
  • 31-panel, 10.5 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system 
  • Highly efficient spray foam and rigid insulation in the walls and roof
  • ENERGY STAR-rated light fixtures
  • ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher
  • ENERGY STAR-certified Refrigerator
  • ENERGY STAR-certified triple pane windows
  • Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV): Provides fresh, filtered, clean air distributed by flex-ducting with a silencer for a quiet, efficient system

What it Takes to be Net Zero

A net-zero design is much more holistic than buying a bunch of solar panels. In short, a net-zero home will make as much electricity on-site as it will consume over one year. Net metering is the term used to describe how homeowners can generate their own electricity and send what they don’t use back onto the grid. 

To make a home net-zero, you should start at the beginning of the home design process, making sure the envelope of the building is as efficient as possible; that equates to R-values and air tightness. Then you think about triple-glazed windows and superior insulation. After those areas are complete, you can add low-energy HVAC systems, controls, appliances, and fixtures. 


At Building Energy, we also retrofit existing homes to achieve net-zero, which is trickier since you can reorient a home and reverse engineer a building. The retrofit process entails insulating walls, sealing any cracks, swapping out mechanical systems for new highly-efficient ones, and eventually adding rooftop solar.

How You Can Live in a Net Zero Home

If building a new home isn’t in the foreseeable future for you, that’s no problem! While you may be unable to create a certified net-zero home, Building Energy can help you get close to it.

No matter your timeframe, each project can be an opportunity to improve your home’s energy performance! You can develop a plan that considers the most practical combination of home improvements within your budget and make each move count toward reaching your goal of generating as much energy as you use! 

Renewable Generation – The most affordable way to generate your energy is through a roof-mounted solar system. A typical Vermont home uses roughly 6,000 kWh, and you would need a solar system that produces about 7.6 kW, around 20 panels. According to Efficiency Vermont, solar panels can deliver electricity at 60 to 70% of the cost of electricity you buy from the grid! 

Continuous Insulation – With better insulation, you’ll spend less money heating and cooling your home. A smaller heating system can still do the job, and better insulation will help it run more efficiently!

Exceptional Air Sealing – Once insulated, this gives you the most significant energy savings and improves the overall comfort of your home too. Don’t forget that weatherization and proper ventilation go hand in hand!

High-Performance Windows & Doors – Replacing your old and drafty windows and doors with the triple-pane brand or Low-E storm windows helps reduce heat loss, provides daylighting, and reduces the risk of condensation build-up!

The Benefits of Living in a Net Zero Home

There is a wide array of benefits in either building a certified net-zero home from the ground up or making the strides to retrofit your existing home to be as close to net zero as possible.

  • You will improve your home’s performance, comfort, air quality, and looks, increasing its value.
  • You will be more prepared to face power outages head-on.
  • Your carbon footprint will shrink, helping Vermont become 90% renewable by 2050!

Where Do You Start?

Glad you asked! Building Energy is committed to reducing the carbon footprints of buildings and homes and preserving healthy living environments! We do a “whole systems approach” that incorporates conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy.

If you know that you would like to build a ground-up, net-zero construction, give us a call!

If you’re leaning more toward retrofitting and giving your existing home a close-to-net-zero upgrade, the process for an existing home begins with an energy audit. Our construction, solar, heat pump, and insulation departments are ready to go, and we would love to work with you!

Phone: 802-859-3384

Email: [email protected]

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Take a look at the photo gallery from 1058 Falls Road, our most recently completed net-zero build!

Have a question? Send us a message!

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