Andy Shapiro – 06/19/2013

Mechanicals for Efficient Homes

Learn the basics of selecting a home’s mechanical systems to provide comfort and efficiency. Learn how building enclosure efficiency affects the system choices you make. Learn a process to choose the best overall heating, cooling, hot water and ventilation system to optimize comfort and energy savings. By the end of the session, you will understand the basic components of the mechanical systems for a home, and will have a tool to guide the discussion of the choices that must be made. Examples will be presented of some typical mechanical systems choices for efficient homes. Download the slides from the lecture.

Andy Shapiro, President of Energy Balance, Inc., has provided energy analysis and design and other high performance building design consulting services for 30 years to a wide variety of clients, including owners, architects, engineers and builders, as well as housing developers, universities, businesses and demand-side management programs.  Services range from sustainable building design to research and monitoring projects. He is also the Energy Engineer for the Vermont Energy Education Program, training teachers and students.  Recent projects include NRG Systems manufacturing and office facilities (close to 100% renewably powered -- LEED Gold) in Hinesburg, VT, Putney Field House (Putney School, Putney Vt, “net zero,” LEED Platinum), several micro-load/“net zero” houses in Vermont, a “net zero” education LEED Platinum building at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and White Pine CoHousing, a six-unit village where he now lives.

Mario Messina – 06/26/2013

The Adventures of a Compulsive Maker

When a creative idea takes root in Mario Messina’s imagination, it will not let go of him until it becomes manifest in the material plane. In his thirty years as a studio furniture maker, this peculiar affliction has been an asset. The act of making an object of beauty and function becomes an act of exploration, learning, and joy. Inspired by natural forms as well as from the work of other artists and makers, Mario’s recent works are sculptural, biomorphic functional art lamps, which will be the focus of this lecture. He will discuss his creative muse for these works, as well as the techniques used to create them, including an inventive tapered lamination methodology, and some unorthodox bending techniques. To see some of Mario's work, click here.

Mario Messina is a faculty member and artist-in-residence at the Vermont Woodworking School and an adjunct faculty member for Burlington Collage's Craftsmanship and Design Program. He finds it rewarding to share the experience and knowledge he have gained through the years, and to see his students become empowered to design and create. As long as he can make stuff, too! 


Jess Phelps – 07/10/2013

Preserving Buildings of the Modern Movement

Presented in Conjuction with Historic New England

Preservationists have recently moved their collection attention towards the preservation of mid-century Modern buildings as the significance of this architectural style has become more broadly recognized. These properties, however, present several complications from a preservation standpoint, including what determines which properties should be protected and how this protection should be applied or implemented. Using examples from Historic New England’s Stewardship Easement Program -- including houses designed by Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Eliot Noyes -- this talk will explore four specific properties with an eye to framing a working context for these preservation efforts going forward.

Jess Phelps, is the team leader for preservation services at Historic New England, the nation’s oldest and largest regional heritage organization. He oversees preservation efforts, including the organization’s Stewardship Easement Program, Historic Homeowner Program, as well as its general advocacy efforts. Jess holds a B.S. from Iowa State University, and a J.D. from the Drake University Law School, and has authored several law review articles on preservation issues.

Ariana Bain – 07/17/2013

Symbioculture: Healing the Food System

Growing and eating food is a metabolic driver for economies, societies, and bodies. How we get food and what we eat is also one of the places where individuals have the greatest power to impact the world.  Symbioculture is a polyculture design approach that seeks to use systems thinking and industrial ecology to rethink the role of agriculture in the food system. It creates and facilitates symbiotic relationships: within the agroecological system as well as at each step in the value chain. This lecture will use this design lens to explore the challenge of how to provide ecologically regenerative and socially just food for everyone.

Ariana Bain is an industrial and urban ecologist and the Co-Founder of Metabolic Consulting. Her recent projects include planning an urban food production system for the City of Lowell, facilitating systems thinking retreats for the Environmental Leadership Program, and ongoing comprehensive sustainability programs with Unicorr Packaging Group and Miya's Sushi.  She is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program and holds a Master's of Environmental Science in Industrial Ecology from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Government from Wesleyan University. She also recently joined the board of the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. 


PechaKucha Presentations – 07/24/2013

Transition PechaKucha: Ideas for a World Without Oil

Join Transition Town Montpelier and Yestermorrow for a rousing evening of PechaKucha. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat", PechaKucha is a presentation format based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds each. It's a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace. Come hear a variety of movers and shakers who are thinking about the transition to a lower energy future.  They’ll present their projects, design work, inspiration and dreams for the future on topics including community building, Permaculture, herbal medicine, renewable energy, natural building, green transportation, and more. We'll feature 12 different presenters, who will be required to submit their 20 slides in advance.

Chris Brunner – 07/31/2013

Living Roofs: Contemporary Green Roofing Practices & the Future of Life on Rooftops

Green roofs have become increasingly popular solutions for environmental problems in the built environment.  From garden sheds to municipal park spaces, turning the once uninhabited void space of a roof into a living landscape has appeal both aesthetically and environmentally.  But what are the risks involved and how can successful projects be ensured?  This lecture will introduce green roof benefits, design, and construction practices based on current research and project case studies, followed by an open forum Q & A.

Chris Brunner is a LEED AP, certified Green Roof Professional (GRP), and co-founder of New York Green Roofs. Based in New York City, his firm is one of the premier design/build green roof companies in North America. A landscaper by trade for nearly twenty years, his pursuit has been the interaction between people and nature. An avid lecturer and teacher, he is currently the instructor of Green Technologies and Green Roof Design for the New York Botanical Garden. His introduction to the field of Climate Change Science was as a field assistant for a1998 NASA and NSF study of the Barrow Peninsula in Arctic Alaska.


John Quale – 08/07/2013

Sustainable Affordable Housing: The ecoMOD and ecoREMOD Projects at University of Virginia

The ecoMOD and ecoREMOD Projects are a collaborative and interdisciplinary research and educational initiative in the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture and School of Engineering and Applied Science. Working with affordable housing organizations, ecoMOD and ecoREMOD create prefab and rehab housing for low income families and individuals – more than a dozen homes have been built since 2004 – with student teams from a variety of disciplines managing and participating in all aspects of the projects. Learn how this cutting edge program is moving sustainable residential design out of the luxury realm and providing it, instead, to the low- and moderate-income residents who can truly benefit from the reduced energy, water and maintenance costs associated with environmentally responsive homes.

John Quale, LEED AP BD+C, is the Director of the Graduate Architecture program at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He initiated and serves as Director of the ecoMOD / ecoREMOD project. Quale has received numerous awards, including the USGBC Excellence in Green Building Curriculum Award, the NCARB Grand Prize, the UVA Alumni Association Teaching Award and the AIA Education Honor Award. A former Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tokyo and visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Quale is the author of: “Sustainable, Affordable, Prefab: the ecoMOD Project.” His work has been featured in various media outlets including CNN, HGTV, Metropolis, Architectural Record, Dwell, and The Washington Post.  Quale is currently serving a three-year term on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Board of Directors. He has expertise in sustainable design, prefabrication, the environmental impact of construction, and collaborative and integrated design. 

Ted Ceraldi – 08/14/2013

The Duomo as Design/Build Masterwork: The Egg, The Sunflower, & the Brick

Florence, Italy’s Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, is often called simply The Duomo due to its magnificent dome, engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.   But the building of the dome was not a part of the original design, and remained a controversial political issue for many years. It was also assumed to be unbuildable. How did a lower class, local craftsman come to design and lead the construction of what is, still to this day nearly 600 years later, the largest masonry dome in the world?  The story is an extraordinary tale of Brunelleschi’s vision, savvy, fortitude, and his groundbreaking use of an elemental building material.

Ted Ceraldi is an architect, sculptor, painter, and professor of architecture. His firm, TMC Architects & Planners, has designed over 100 residential and commercial projects earning accolades from Architectural Record (House of the Year Award), NY State Association of Architects AIA Honor Award, and a National AIA Honor.  As a professor at Syracuse University he taught architectural design and technologies, ecological building systems and landscape design. He has also taught landscape drawing, figure painting, and two- and three-dimensional design. His sculpture and iron work is installed in the United States, England and Saudi Arabia, and his installation, Big Red Swing, is cited in New York‘s 50 Best: Art in Public Places.  He is a graduate of the Cooper Union, in New York City. 


Lisa DePiano – 08/21/2013

Participatory Design: The Art of Organized Chaos

What happens when you put the power of design in the hands of everyday people? Can design promote democracy? From installing the greywater system at Occupy Wall Street to citizens designing an edible forest garden for their town hall, participatory design is being used as a tool to educate, empower and craft innovative solutions to the complex problems facing our world today. Come hear what happens when people stop standing on the sideline, plans get dusted off of the bookshelves, and people start working together for positive change. In this lecture we will look at several case studies of participatory design in action including the permablitz model and the international participatory budgeting movement that has taken root in New York City.

Lisa DePiano is a certified Permaculture designer and co-founder of the Montview Neighborhood Farm, a human-powered farm and edible forest garden in the Connecticut River Valley. She has a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, and loves working with people to create the world they want to live in.


Donald Kreis – 08/28/2013

Round Barns, Square Clients, & the State of Architecture in Vermont

This illustrated discussion will explore Vermont’s contemporary architecture, with an eye toward undermining the notion that nothing interesting has happened here since 1885 when H.H. Richardson’s Billings Library opened at the University of Vermont.  We’ll consider the big architectural spenders (e.g., Middlebury and Bennington colleges) as well as the small victories that have been achieved in recent years over the forces of mediocrity, expediency and over-cautiousness.

Donald Kreis is an attorney and former journalist (Associated Press, Maine Times) who has been writing regularly about architecture in northern New England since 1997.  His commentaries about Vermont architecture appear on Vermont Public Radio and the news web site