Since 1981, Scott Gardner and Building Energy have specialized in retrofitting, remodeling, and building energy-efficient, high-performance homes. With 40 years in the business, we understand our customers are making a big investment when launching projects. To ensure this investment lasts, we make our projects efficient the first time.
In the fall of 2021, Scott and Building Energy finalized the construction and sale of a high-performance home in Shelburne.
What is this high-performance home like?
The highly energy-efficient cape-style home at 1036 Falls Road in Shelburne includes 3 bedrooms and totals 2,300 square feet. The home also includes incredible details sympathetic to the original historic details preserved in the Shelburne Historic District.
With Greek Revival style architecture, the circa 1850 Saxton House was most likely connected to the mercantile business of George Saxton, later becoming residential in the 1890s. Through careful and deliberate design and decision-making, Building Energy built a new home with old-house charm and character.
Historical information was collected, summarized, and provided by Brian Knight Research. Photos and documents are included below.
What are the superior energy efficiency features?
- Energy recovery ventilation: fresh filtered clean air distributed by Zehnder flex-ducting with a silencer for a quiet, efficient system.
- High efficiency heat pumps and air conditioning located in living room and master bedroom suite.
- High efficiency natural gas back up hydronic heat, four zones, custom wooden baseboards with conversion available for future air to water heat pump conversion.
- High efficiency natural gas hot water with space available for future heat pump conversion.
- Solar wiring and panel installed for future solar system on the garage (e.g., 12 panels, 5,440 kWh/yr).
- Complete thermal barrier under the concrete slab, concrete walls, and exterior walls.
- Highly efficient spray foam and rigid insulation in walls and roof.
How did Efficiency Vermont and VEIC get involved?
Over the course of construction at 1036 Falls Road, Scott worked with Li Ling Young, Senior Energy Consultant at VEIC. With Li Ling, Scott completed various inspections of the home for the voluntary Efficiency Vermont Certified program:
Efficiency Vermont Certified homes feature advanced insulation and ventilation, high-performance windows, efficient heating and cooling systems, low-flow bathroom fixtures, and ENERGY STAR® certified lighting and appliances. The result is better air quality, increased comfort, lower energy bills, and a home that can yield a higher resale value.
Indeed, Li Ling and the team at Efficiency Vermont perform testing and compliance on hundreds of homes to determine if homes meet specifications and qualify for incentives. Li Ling also advises contractors on construction detail, material selection, and mechanical design.
What were the results of the inspections?
At the final inspection in September 2021, Li Ling recorded the following leakage numbers for 1036 Falls Road:
- 203 cfm50 (this is the measured leakage; cubic feet per minute at 50 pascals)
- 0.45 ACH50 (this is the leakage normalized for the size of the house; air changes per hour at 50 pascals)
Efficiency Vermont Certified allows for a maximum of 2 ACH50, so the leakage is 22% of the allowed leakage. Overall, this solar-ready home is very well insulated and air-sealed. Following the final inspection, this home officially became Efficiency Vermont Certified.
Tip: Li Ling stresses the importance of controlling how water AND air enter a building. After 20 years in the industry, Li Ling notes that homes are now reliably half as leaky: both more water- and air-tight.
What did Li Ling have to say about Building Energy?
Scott and Building Energy have worked with Li Ling at VEIC since 2005 to ensure energy-efficient construction. Li Ling appreciates the extra efforts Scott has taken over the years, such as thoughtfully preparing for inspections and reaching out about potential issues.
Speaking to the special efforts at Building Energy, Li Ling notes the quality of design, level of knowledge and experience, track record of reliability, and the variety of services offered all under one roof (i.e., energy audits, weatherization, solar, heat pumps, construction).
Thank you Li Ling for your expertise, guidance, and support over the years!