Speaking at Hampshire County Dinner Club

I have been invited to speak about our home by Co-op Power at the Yarde Tavern in South Hadley on May 6th from 6-8 PM. The event is open to the public and we will discuss how to build a super energy efficient home on an average budget. The presentation will be followed by an open discussion and Q&A session. Space is limited to 50 guests. Read more about this event and RSVP by April 30th at www.tinyurl.com/greendinner or by contacting Shavon Prophet at shavon@cooppower.coop or 413-349-4086.
For those that don’t know Co-op Power is a unique and incredible organization that is dedicated to fostering the growth of locally owned sustainable energy resources. I feel a deep connection to Co-op power because it is in fact how I first started learning about solar hot water, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. We are lucky to have Co-op Power here in the Pioneer Valley.

Pro-Tour with NESEA – May 1st

As part of being recognized by NESEA’s Zero Net Energy Building Award, we will be hosting a Pro-Tour with NESEA at our home on May First. In addition to standard tour faire, there will be in depth discussions about the building science, design, and systems that make our home work. There will be a presentation and reception at the Guiding Star Grange down the street from our home. Space is limited so sign up soon. Register at:


Spartan Giordano Receiving NZEB Award at Building Energy 2015 - web

Spartan (right) receives the NZEB Award at the Building Energy Conference in Boston. With Dan Burgess, acting commissioner of the MA DOER, and Jennifer Marrapese, executive director of NESEA

Modern Strawbale Design

Friends of ours in Brattleboro Vermont are building a strawbale timberframe home for themselves. Early on in our design process for our own home we considered such a building, but decided it wasn’t right for us at that time. Chad Mathrani has got us thinking about it again and shows us how to integrate modern building science with natural building traditional techniques. The result: a meticulously designed and crafted home that will be standing for hundreds of years. If you are looking to build or learn about building we recommend checking out Chad’s business: Vermont Natural Homes. Also, 475 High Performance Building Supply put together a great interview with Chad.

Strawbale Timberframe Home With Standing Seam Roof

Vermont Natural Homes’ Current Project: A strawbale timberframe home. Photo courtesy of Vermont Natural Homes.

Updated Plans Available

In preparation for our presentation at Building Energy 15 I redrew the floor plans and wall detail diagrams so they are more user-friendly. Full CAD plans also available on our Architectural Plans Page. Click on images for larger versions.

South wall detail drawing

South wall detail drawing

Award Winning

Incredible News: We are the recipient of the 2015 Zero Net Energy Building award from NESEA! There is an article about us in today’s Greenfield Recorder and Hampshire Gazette: http://www.gazettenet.com. A huge thank you to everyone who helped with this project especially Adam Heintz, Scott Baum, Peter Talmage, Hannah Smeltz, my parents, Thom Burden, John Scanlon, and Whip Withington. I will be in Boston for most of this week at the NESEA- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association Building Energy Conference where I will be honored to present on our house.

Light Bulb Cost Comparison

I did a presentation at the Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange Massachusetts this past weekend on home energy efficiency. For it, I prepared a slide comparing light bulb costs. The title of my slide on the topic became “Congratulations LED’s! You Did It!” Why? On Amazon, you can now by LED’s that are so cheap that they pay themselves in about 6 months! Here is a chart that shows off all the details:

Bulb Comparison 10/14 Cost of one bulb no shipping Watts Cost to run for 1 year Savings per year if replacing an incandescent bulb When replacing an incandescent, Pays for itself in… (months)
GE Incandescent (Amazon 4 Pack) $1.00 60 $14.89
 GE CFL (Amazon 8 Pack) $1.38 13 $3.23 $11.67 1.4
TCP LED (Amazon 6 Pack) $6.64 10 $2.48 $12.41 6.4
Philips LED (EFI Single Bulb) $12.95 11 $2.73 $12.16 13
Cost for one year assumes 4 hrs per day and cost of electricity .17 cents per kW

A PDF of the above chart with even more details including color temperature (all about 2700 K), lumens (all about 800), and dimmability is available here: Light bulb cost comparison.pdf

I can vouch for both the TCP bulbs and the Philips. I have some of both in my house and they produce lots of nice warm light.

Light Bulb Comparison