Archive for 2016

When the Bell Tolls: Building a Sustainable Future

By Rick Reynolds When the comedian and talk show entertainer, David Letterman, retired after 33 seasons, he had time to think about more serious issues. Following a visit to India, where he said he was greeted by a smell he likened to burning furniture—an odor that never left him—Letterman was faced with a nagging question:…

Read More

Green Schools Empower Students

By Rick Reynolds. How could it be that school buildings can teach in ways teachers cannot? After all, how could an inanimate structure create an environment of creativity and learning that can enhance—even transcend—the dynamic human-to-human interaction between teacher and student? It may seem implausible, but a movement is well underway to educate a new…

Read More

Designing Homes for the Airbnb Age

By Rick Reynolds. For some time now the market has been shifting towards both an “experience economy” and a “shared economy.” Essentially two sides of the same coin, these economies are driven by the ascending generation of American consumers, the Millennials—those born between 1982 and 1994, reaching young adulthood around the year 2000, notably the…

Read More

Why Venting Is Good for Your Health

By Rick Reynolds. No, this is not about cooling your jets by blowing off steam. This is, however, about being bottled up inside, at least when it comes to our indoor air. In short, this post is about ventilation science for health and comfort, especially as it pertains to the tight, energy-efficient homes being built…

Read More

A Chance to Connect: Part 2

A Chance to Connect The UMASS Mass Timber “Integrated Design Building” Project Part 2 By Rick Reynolds The new mass timber Integrated Design Building under construction at UMass represents more to the University and the greater community it serves than meets the eye. As the first mass timber structure of its size and scale in…

Read More

A Chance to Connect: Part 1

The UMASS Mass Timber “Integrated Design Building” Project  By Rick Reynolds  The University of Massachusetts Amherst, is a public research university in Amherst, MA, the flagship of the University of Massachusetts system. As part of its aggressive carbon sequestration goals, UMass also has a keen interest in keeping the sustainable forestry industry healthy. With its…

Read More

Appraising Appraisals

by Rick Reynolds A big conundrum for many environmentally conscientious people intent on building a new home today lies in aligning their values with the financing process. Unfortunately, the construction of renewable energy-reliant, high performance homes is frequently hampered by the inconsistent and archaic appraisal methodologies. Too often, inexperienced appraisers are left with insufficient data…

Read More

Just Window Shopping Part 1

Part 1: Residential Window Science Made Easy By Rick Reynolds Window performance can be a complex subject filled with arcane data, impossible formulas, and myriad applications. To further complicate things, there are many types of windows, from casement, to awning, to hopper, to double and single-hung, to sliders, each with its own architectural, functional, and…

Read More

Just Window Shopping Part 2

Part 2: Meet Glass Master, Dave Levasseur  By Rick Reynolds As the window master at Bensonwood and Unity Homes, Dave Levasseur goes to great panes (sorry) to match each custom home, commercial structure or public building with the optimum window choices. And despite his easy-going nature, the seriousness he brings to the job is, for…

Read More

Making Sustainable Homes the New Normal

Tedd Benson Speaks at Greenbuild 2015, Washington, D.C.  By Rick Reynolds In order to fulfill its social contract with homebuyers, the building industry has a moral obligation to make high quality, low-energy, life-inspiring, sustainable homes that are at the same time, affordable and worthy of the role they play in peoples’ lives; this according to…

Read More