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BRINC to Exhibit at Better Buildings in Vermont and Wisconsin

The impact of non-profit organizations that promote energy-efficient building standards is growing. Some of the most successful outreach programs include regional events that bring together architects, builders, and high-performance building material experts facing the same set of climate considerations.

This February and March, BRINC Building Products will be again be exhibiting at two notable events in this realm: Better Buildings by Design (Northeast), and Better Buildings: Better Business (Midwest).

Better Buildings by Design

When we think of leaders in energy-efficiency and sustainability, we think of Vermont. It’s no surprise Vermont ranks among the top 5 states in the nation for the advancement and support of energy efficiency, and has long maintained a pioneering role among the states in this arena.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) credits Vermont’s three energy efficiency utility companies as the driving force for Vermont’s ranking: Vermont Gas Systems, Burlington Electric, and Efficiency Vermont.

“Efficiency Vermont is really keen on helping with the social responsibility of living in Vermont.“

– Jennifer Severidt, Energy Consultant – Residential, Efficiency Vermont 

 

We’ve been fortunate to witness firsthand the effectiveness of Efficiency Vermont on two housing projects. One, the Rutland Innovation Home, and two, the Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity House in Randolph. We look forward to contributing to their Better Buildings by Design event, the region’s leading design and construction conference. 

 

Better Buildings by Design – February 5th & 6th

The Better Buildings by Design conference brings together over 1,000 attendees from all over the Northeast, and more than 60 exhibitors annually to Burlington, Vermont. Affordable Energy is the focus of the 2020 Better Buildings by Design event, and attendees will share their successes, failures, and strategies for the future. More than 40 workshops are available for attendees, featuring five learning tracks: Building Systems, Business Support, Commercial, Envelope, and Integrated Design.

BRINC Building Products is proud to be an Exhibitor for this year’s event, and will be exhibiting ThermalBuck, the high-performance window buck – as well as a preview of a new building envelope material launching in Spring 2020. For a complete list of exhibitors and more information, check out the event homepage here.


Better Buildings: Better Business – March 9th -11th

Seventh Wave is the force behind the annual Better Buildings: Better Business conference in Wisconsin.. Their mission is “To advance economic and environmental sustainability through engineering, education and research”. With offices in Chicago and Madison, this non-profit works with utility programs, offering services such as education, financial incentives, and technical assistance for building owners and design teams to exceed the Illinois energy code standards.

The Better Buildings: Better Business conference will be held March 9th – 11th this year in Wisconsin Dells, at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center. Nearly 60 exhibitors and sponsors focused on advancing the residential building and remodeling industry are part of the two-day event. It also features multiple workshops and keynote speakers, which will focus on advancing the building industry for a clean energy future. Visit seventhwave.org for a full list of exhibitors.


 

 

 

 


Want to learn more about energy-efficient organizations in your region? Check out our post, Advancing the Energy Codes, for more information on the six REEOS, or Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations to get started. 

 

 

Tiny House – Big Impact

Our first ThermalBuck installation in a tiny house is a big deal. And when you’re lucky enough to have a passionate do-it-yourself duo like Jesse Taylor and his father Bernard working together on the project, it becomes more than a job site, it’s a story.

Not Your Average Treehouse

Jesse’s folks retired a few years ago and moved to Vermont. Jesse had grown up working on projects with his dad. Both men are good with their hands, and Jesse – with details. 

It became a passion of Jesse’s to try to live “smaller”, to use less resources, less space, and lessen his impact on the environment. The idea of building a tiny house started to look like a really good idea. Spending time together with his dad was a large part of the inspiration behind this project. 

“I’m so fortunate to have the experience of building this with my father. I feel so blessed. The tiny house is just a byproduct of the time with him.”

They went into it knowing it would be a learning experience. There were setbacks. But watching this house develop was empowering. “I know what is inside the walls, and I can fix it,” said Taylor.

Building a tiny house is just as involved as a big house. Every element is there – plumbing, roofing, electrical work, framing, building stairs, installing windows – but it’s on a compressed level. “It’s even harder, to some degree, because you don’t have room to swing a hammer sometimes, let alone move around a ladder,” said Taylor. “But is was so worthwhile. This was the treehouse he never built me.”

Living with Less is More

One of the primary reasons Jesse Taylor built his tiny house, was to reduce his carbon footprint, to consume as few natural resources as possible. 

“We knew the house would have to be as energy -efficient as we could possibly afford,” said Jesse. That meant it had to be well insulated, and it had to be built with energy-efficient windows and doors.

But installing windows with exterior insulation isn’t easy. “We needed to bump out the rough openings to line up with the insulation, but we didn’t want to add all of that extra wood to the framing. It adds weight to the tiny house, and it needs to be as lightweight as possible to save natural resources in transport.”

ThermalBuck adds up to a lot of square footage on this little place, and makes a huge impact.”
– Jesse Taylor, Tiny House Builder 

Jesse found ThermalBuck to be the perfect solution. “Not only is it strong and lightweight, it’s preventing all of that energy loss around our windows. It adds up to a lot of square footage on this little place, and makes a huge impact.”

 

Sharing the Lessons

The tiny house movement has come a long way in the past 4-5 years. Back when they started to plan this project, there weren’t nearly as many resources online for tiny house builders.  “We wanted to share our story to save other tiny house some of the headaches we discovered along the way.” 

 “We wanted to save other tiny house builders some of the headaches we discovered along the way.”
– Jesse Taylor, Tiny House Builder 

 

DESIGN

Jesse thought purchasing plans would give him a safety net and make it all easier, but that wasn’t the case. They realized the plans were a major issue when he tried to source the windows. Windows come in standard sizes, yet the ones for the tiny house design were so unusual in shape, he contacted more than 50 manufacturers before finding one who could make them for him. The placement of the windows really makes an impact on how economical your plans are to execute. “You lose so much glass with these windows. And they were expensive. I would advise anyone – Build your house around the windows.”

“I would advise anyone – Build your house around the windows.”
– Jesse Taylor, Tiny House Builder 

The rest of the materials were simpler. Jesse used 1” EPS insulation in the trailer-between the pan and the c-channel cross members, and 1.5” EPS on top of that. “Due to the thermal bridging of the metal cross members beneath that top 1.5”, I’m not sure the insulation underneath does as much as I’d hoped. Also – by putting the 1.5” insulation and 3/4” plywood on top of that, I lost 2.25” of head height from the start- lessons learned.”

 

FRAMING & SHEATHING

One the base was finished, it was time to start framing. It’s easy to measure each of the sides of the rectangle and think it’s square – but that’s not the measurement that matters. “The most important measurement is diagonally from corner to corner,” says Jesse. The corners must be 90°, or the four walls won’t fit together properly. Guess who found this out the hard way? “My advice to anyone framing in their first tiny house would be – Don’t forget to square your walls.”

Since sheathing comes in 4 x 8 sheets, where you position the studs really matters. Whether 12” or 16” on center, the spacing needs to be easily divisible by 4 or 8 to save yourself some cuts.

 

THERMALBUCK, WINDOWS, & INSULATION

“The best video I found online was the full ThermalBuck installation video.”
– Jesse Taylor, Tiny House Builder 

Jesse had never installed a window before. But within a week, he’s installed all of them. “I was constantly scouring the internet to find a video that showed every single step. The best video I found online was just John installing ThermalBuck in the full installation video. It showed me everything I needed to know.”

 

Life in the Tiny House

Jesse continues to work on his tiny house, but that hasn’t stopped him from thinking about the first time he hits the road. The inaugural trip will be from Woodstock to Burlington, then he will live in the tiny house on his own piece of land while troubleshooting any issues with the composting toilet, the solar panels, the grey water – life with less. Then he plans to head to Maine, and spend most of his time living near Arcadia National Park. “The tiny house community is a great group of people. These homes bring people closer together. So many people out there are doing amazing things to reduce their impact on the environment. We want to share our experience with them, and keep learning. I believe anyone can build a tiny house. I believe you can do it.”

 

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