Home is where one starts from. - T.S. Eliot
Celebrating 28 years of service in 2020, UNDER THE SUN provides the necessary resources for project design, planning and construction - from utilization of space to environmentally friendly products and options. The foundation of the business consists of word-of-mouth referrals and a repeat clientele spanning several decades. In 2015, UNDER THE SUN completed its first, third-party verified Zero Energy Home, continuing its mission and dedication to providing an energy saving alternative to traditionally built homes. Plans to build small footprint Zero Energy homes in NY and VT continue to be developed. Existing home remodeling/renovation projects are designed and completed to the highest energy standards possible, utilizing best practices and the highest quality products available. Home energy audits and blower door test capabilities coming soon.
We take our Continuing Education seriously . . .
Efficiency Excellence Network Members
Efficiency Vermont is an energy utility designed to help Vermonters by working with their partners "to provide incentives, technical advice, and efficient products to help customers save money and lower carbon emissions." As close neighbors of nearby Vermont, Under the Sun fully supports and applauds Efficiency Vermont for becoming a model and making a positive difference in the professional community.
Kudos from WaterSense®
Better Buildings by Design 2020
Once again, Efficiency Vermont organized another informative two-day conference on February 5 & 6, 2020 with the theme, "affordable energy". Pulling from Drawdown, the 2017 climate change awareness book edited by Paul Hawken (see reference below), keynote presenters Chris Magwood (Endeavor Centre, Petersborough, Ontario), Ace McArleton, and Jacob Deva Racusin (New Frameworks, Burlington, Vermont) gave a passionate presentation entitled, "Carbon Drawdown Now: Turning Buildings into Carbon Sinks". Key points that caught our attention were Drawdown #36 "Alternative Cement", and the need to consider the life cycle of a building, including the use of carbon storing materials. Workshops and seminars attended: Fixing Existing Homes, Part 1 & 2/Dave Keefe; Healthy, Resilient and Affordable ZEM (Zero Energy Modular)/Peter Schneider; Healthy Homes and Home Performance/Peter Troast; Water, Vapor, Air: How Physics Can Help You Choose the Right Membrane/Dr. John Straube; How to Drawdown Carbon Now With Our Buildings/Magood, McArleton & Racusin; Being Your Own Client: Lessons Learned from Designing and Living in a Net-Zero, High-Performance Home/Jean Terwiller, Architect.
Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst Training, January 2020
Many thanks to Vermont Technical College and Efficiency Vermont for hosting and providing building analyst training and testing. A big thank you to instructor Dave Keefe for sharing decades of experience, knowledge and real life stories (some comical, others scary). Kudos to Efficiency Vermont's network of contractors, who provide energy saving improvements for Vermont residents and small business owners.
Air to Water Heat Pump Application and Design Criteria, October 2019
Hosted by the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce in Berlin, VT and sponsored by Efficiency Vermont, instructor Matt shared the pros and cons of hydronic whole-house distribution for heating versus electric mini split heat pumps. The take-away was super efficient small footprint homes will still perform better with all electric air source mini splits - - at least for now.
Foard Panel Training: Designing and Installing Structural Insulated Panels, March 2019
A warm greeting by Bo Foard, followed by an excellent presentation and tour of the facility in Chesterfield, NH by Alison and Paul, who were extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to answer our questions. Foard Panels/Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are manufactured in a controlled environment and installed on the job site by Foard personnel. For projects where reduced time is necessary, the time savings outweighs the additional upfront costs. Many thanks to Efficiency Vermont for providing this free training, and to Bo's The Porch for lunch!
Better Buildings by Design 2019
The Efficiency Vermont sponsored two-day event was held on February 6 & 7, 2019. Keynote speaker Ruth Ann Norton, CEO of Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, ghhi.org (founded by parents of children with asthma and unhealthy living conditions), gave a passionate presentation focusing on the important correlation between healthy housing and healthy occupants. Workshops and seminars attended: Factory-Built, High Performance & Affordable Homes/Peter Schneider, Green River Commons, Greenfield, MA/Steve from Efficiency VT, Advanced Wood Heat in Highly Efficient Buildings/Juliette Juillerat, Adam Sherman, Emma Hanson, Rethinking the Rules on Minimum Foam Thickness/Martin Holladay, Carbon-based Life Forms/Eric Corey Freed,Building "Forever" High-Performance Design for Everyone/Brian Just, Vapor Open Wall (Airtight) VOAT/Nick Stone.
Building Performance Institute (BPI)
Building Science Principles Certificate of Knowledge, 2019
A self-study program utilizing the Building Science Principles Reference Guide, gives individuals a comprehensive overview of building science, including definitions and useful photos. Recommended for anyone working or interested in the residential building industry.
FYI: Good news for homeowners - Saving energy is less expensive than producing energy, 2017
According to The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) report: “New data, same results - Saving energy is still cheaper than making energy”, energy efficient measures installed in new and existing homes, including the use of energy saving products, appliances, LED lighting and increased insulation, among others, is one of the best options for reducing electricity costs. For more information, click here to read the December 2017 article in the Green Energy Times.
Green Building Advisor.com - “Thinning the Herd, How to pick the best eco-builder”
Authors Dina Lima and Micheal Strong wrote this detailed summary in 2009 about what to look for when selecting a green builder or remodeler. In addition to fully understanding green building practices, this timeless tutorial describes important characteristics of a quality builder including knowledge, organization, excellent communication, and transparency, among others. Please click on the PDF below to read “Thinning the Herd, How to pick the best eco-builder”.
Vermont’s Greenest Buildings: Net Zero and Passive House Tour, September 2018
Organized by Vermont Green Building Network, the event included touring the net zero Waitsfield Town Offices and the 2018 North American Passive House of the Year private residence, also in Waitsfield, VT. A reception of delicious local products was held at The Taste Place following the tour.
Thermal Comfort 201: The Next Energy Efficiency Frontier, Efficiency Excellence Training, July 2018
Embracing a topic that encompasses the major purpose of energy efficiency - comfort - this informative seminar presented by Brian Just of Efficiency Vermont was held at the Innovation Center in Rutland. The six factors of thermal comfort, as described in ASHRAE 55, includes two personal (metabolic rate, clothing) and four environmental (air temperature, radiant temperature, humidity, air motion). Designing for comfort, through utilization of these thermal comfort factors, needs to be included in the initial modeling process.
Build Better With Less Risk: High Performance, Building Science Based, Home Building 2018
The information-packed workshop presented by Peter Yost and Steve Baczek, hosted at Curtis Lumber’s 27th Annual Builder’s Expo in Saratoga Springs, NY, included three hours of the latest, research-based building science practices and high performance options for new and existing residential homes. Excellent, well-informed presenters with decades of combined building experience.
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Better Buildings by Design 2018
The two-day conference, sponsored by Efficiency Vermont on February 7 & 8, 2018 in Burlington, VT, " . . . the region's premier design and construction conference, which features interactive learning about building durability, efficiency, and value for both residential and commercial projects." With over a dozen different seminars available each day, we selected the following: KEYNOTE/“Multiple Systems/Multiple Opportunities by Dr. John Straube; “Break it up: Compartmentalization” by John Straube; “Why Are Attics Insulated With Open-Cell Spray Foam so Damp? by Martin Holladay; “Hydronic Solutions for Low-energy Homes by John Siegenthaler; and “Real-Life Air Source Heat Pump Performance Heating - Results and Reasons by Bruce Harley.
Efficiency Revolution 2017
Hosted by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on April 11, 2017, the event included the newest in technologies, products and information for high-performance buildings. Under the Sun attended the Passive House seminar. The Passive House standard improves on Zero Energy home performance by improving air tightness to a maximum of .60 ACH 50, increasing insulation, and utilizing passive solar for heat gain in the winter months. Under the Sun's Zero Energy Cottage Plus achieved .98 ACH 50.
Ongoing New York State Residential Builder Energy Code Training 2016
Sponsored by the New York State Builder's Association (NYSBA) and the Capital Region Builders & Remodelers Association (CRBRA), Under the Sun completed new 2015 New York State Residential Code training on October 19, 2016.
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