Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certified Energy Auditor Services

Bruce Merritt is a Certified Building Analyst, Envelope Professional, and member of the Building Proformance Institute (BPI), a professional organization setting the standards of building science.

Build Basic Green is a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor through Efficiency Vermont, qualified to perform energy audits and weatherization work in the state of Vermont. BBG is also approved for energy audits and related services in the state of New Hampshire.

As an experienced green builder, educator, and consultant, join me while I examine new building matierials, techniques and energy saving opportulnities. If you have questions or comments, let me know!

Posted in Energy Audits, Green Building, Insulated Concrete Forms, Rebates for Energy Savings

Homes built with insulated concrete forms look just like other homes, but have added benefits.

icf wall

Above grade wall for ICF house.

Homes, in virtually any architectural style, can be constructed using insulated concrete forms from the basement to the roof. The appearance of a home built using insulated concrete forms looks just like any other home. The performance, however, sets these homes apart from modular or “stick-built” construction.

Our wall system is a simple solution to all your building projects, no matter how complex. Insulated concrete blocks are interlocking, light-weight expanded polystyrene concrete forms, and are designed to remain as a permanent part of the wall after the concrete is placed. The insulating capacity of expanded polystyrene coupled with the structural integrity of reinforced concrete is a powerful combination: Insulated Concrete Form (ICF’s) walls are stronger, safer, quieter and more energy-efficient.

The benefits of insulated concrete forms are extensive.

  • Adapts to virtually any architectural style…
  • …and virtually any shape (Round/curves/angles)
  • Quiet
  • Strong
  • Solid
  • Stop vapor/moisture migration
  • Eliminate drafts
  • Ability to withstand demanding weather conditions
  • Provide high “R”value walls, above and below grade
  • GREEN building considerations
  • Can be cut to fit virtually any design considerations—including curves!
  • Can easily accommodate any exterior surface material applications, such as stucco or stone, as well as wood or composite siding.
  • Less weight to carry during construction than traditional wooden concrete forms

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) foundations are far more energy efficient and last longer than conventional foundations. ICF walls can virtually eliminate the “cold spots” that occur in conventional foundations, because your basement is wrapped in two continuous layers of foam insulation.

The solid concrete core of an ICF wall stabilizes the interior temperature because of its thermal mass. ICF walls can produce equivalent insulation values of up to R-50. You enjoy stable, constant thermal performance in your basement, even when the outdoor temperature changes dramatically throughout the day.

The increased energy efficiency is not just a financial benefit. In the event of a power outage, the R-50 equivalent of the walls helps maintain the comfort zone inside the home for approximately three times longer than most conventional walls.

Home design can be tailored to minimize insulated foam block cuts, and construction waste

With all of these benefits, the surprising thing is that ICF foundations cost about the same to build as conventional finished foundations. So if you are building a new home, build it with an ICF foundation. You’ll save energy, you’ll help save the environment, and you’ll save money.

Over the long run, benefits like energy efficiency, disaster and fire resistance, and durability reduce the cost of owning your home. Reduced noise and more constant temperatures mean quiet comfort that you can enjoy year round. It all adds up to savings that you will enjoy, year after year.

With its high R-values, low air infiltration, and high thermal mass, you can use a smaller heating and cooling system, and save up to and over 50% of heating and cooling costs (depending on the region where you live) compared to a conventional home. In fact, your ICF home may qualify for an energy efficient mortgage.

An ICF home with above grade exterior walls is becoming more and more popular.  The same benefits from foundation walls applies to your walls above grade.  Let your ICF builder quote on building your entire house from ICF and see how the energy savings and comfort can work for you.

Having built whole houses using ICF’s for more than a decade, I can assure you that insulated concrete constuction has come of age.

Save energy. Save money.

Posted in Green Building, Insulated Concrete Forms

Selling or buying a house? Better get an energy audit.

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important financial decisions anyone makes. When you calculate the monthly expenses, along with the mortgage, taxes and insurance, the budget for energy usage and utilities are a significant part of your budget.

When you calculate the monthly expenses, along with the mortgage, taxes and insurance, the budget for energy usage and utilities are a significant part of your budget.

BUYERS should investigate how much their dream house is going to cost in energy usage. It is customary to request a professional home inspection prior to purchasing a new house. Ask your real estate agent to help you get a detailed report from a professional Home Energy Auditor.

SELLERS should be aware that buyers may request a detailed report of energy usage and costs before they make an offer. Finding out how energy efficient your house is and making the investment to improve energy usage may pay off in the sale price. An energy efficient house could increase interest in your property, and motivate buyers to make that offer a bit higher. Set your house apart and use your Home Energy Audit as a marketing tool!

GET THE WHOLE STORY. Make sure the building inspector is a trained Energy Auditor, or get the information you need with an Energy Audit and a traditional home inspection.

An Energy Auditor will provide the home owner with a report, based on recognized building science, that spells out the actual energy efficiency of the house.

Some MLS (Multiple Listing Service) allow the listing agent to promote the fact that the house being sold is HERS Rated. Getting a certified HERS Rating for your house may help sell the house faster.

Posted in Energy Audits, Green Building, Rebates for Energy Savings | Leave a comment