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How to Build a Passive House with Integrated Design

integrated design team We’ve written a lot about why Passive House is the next big thing in construction, and simply put, actually building one takes a very different process than is typical in American construction. This post is about what design and construction will look like in the future, and how that can result in better buildings for everyone.…

Innovating Passive House in Montana

A Passive House in Washington State, photo by Zola Windows/Artisans Group. Everyone wants to know- “what’s the next big thing?” For those of us in construction, we got our answer from the paper last week. The New York Times ran an article titled The Passive House: Sealed for Freshness in their home and garden section that’s generating a lot of buzz. Passive House is a voluntary standard that guides architects and contractors in creating buildings that use drastically less energy than typical modern buildings.…

Renewable Energy and Conservation

Reduce loads, then add renewables. The panels on Russ' house are cranking out the juice in winter of 2012. Renewable energy is a hot topic, and the Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is an outstanding advocate for policy and action that makes renewable energy technology more available to everyone. We were grateful to be invited to give a presentation at the Montana Clean Energy Fair (MREA’s biggest event) to discuss how our work on energy conservation in buildings can leverage the power of renewable energy generation even further.…

Gardens, Bikes, and Green Buildings

Well, it's a green building cause it's green, right? May in Montana is a good month. Most of our staff start biking to the office, we can reliably work outside in t-shirts, and starting our gardens becomes the after work priority. Each of these things makes our daily lives better- and by coincidence, they also reduce the cost of living and our individual environmental footprints.…

Passive House for Affordable Housing

ravalli energy efficient habitat house We are pleased to announce the opening event for a group called the Passive House Alliance-Northern Rockies chapter. Join us on May 23 from 530-730pm at the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church in Missoula (here) for a presentation titled “Envisioning Affordable Sustainable Housing”. This talk will present how Habitat for Humanity and other groups are incorporating a rigorous green building standard called Passive House into affordable housing projects.…

Passive Solar Design Basics

Passive Solar doesn't have to look weird to fit the bill. Andrew Lemann Designs, used with permission. Passive Solar Design is a term that has been popular in the “green” and “natural” building communities since the early 1970’s.  Recently, this term has gotten a lot of press in conjunction with the “PassiveHouse” movement from Germany. Either way, getting “passive solar” principles to really work as they are intended requires careful planning and execution.  …

Real Green Homes

sustainable building systems Our goal as a construction company is to reduce the environmental impact of each successive project as we learn and grow as a project team.  It is to allow each project to enrich the lives of occupants, the community around it, and the environment in which it sits. Our belief is that a real green home (or “sustainable construction practice”) not only includes low energy use, but also low maintenance costs, impeccable comfort, healthy interiors, and construction that leads to the longest useful life.…

Windows for Passive Solar Houses

thermal energy transfer, solar heat gain The term “Passive Solar” has been common in the design world for over 40 years, but often we talk to people who are still not clear on what exactly this means.  This post is about one precise definition of it means to have a “Passive Solar” house and why your windows are probably one of the most overlooked renewable energy systems available.…
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