Wood Burning Fireplace in Harrisonburg, VA updated


Do you heat your home with a wood burning fireplace (or another combustion appliance)? Do you run a humidifier because the fireplace dries out the air?  Is your skin dry all winter? These are common issues that come up this time of year, but there is a problem. You may be surprised to hear this, but…

Does Green Cost More?


The most common debate, yes there is still a debate, is does it cost more to go green. Does green construction cost more than traditional construction? Well, the answer is simple: It Depends. It depends on where you are starting. If you are building code minimum – the worst possible thing you can do by…

Why have an Energy Audit?


A certified BPI or RES-Net Rater will allow you to better understand where to spend money to get the best return on investment. An energy audit is a test that can determine whether you house is air tight and if not where the holes are in the thermal envelope. For years we have heard, don’t…

8 Steps to an Energy Efficient House


Insulate and air seal the attic / roof Air Seal – stop losing energy through your walls and ducts Insulate the Basement walls and band boards not the floor above. Insulate walls and around all penetrations Replace and air seal around old windows Replace HVAC systems that are outdated or failing Replace appliances that are…

Green Cleaning


Why would you intentionally use a product that is toxic to clean your home? Green cleaning will not only reduce the risks of harmful chemicals, it will save you money. Instead of purchasing a wide array of chemicals to clean your home, to shine your floors, to sanitize your countertops, try using vinegar, baking soda,…

Nothing like a warm bath


Have you ever thought about a nice warm bath after a long day at work? Would you like the water to stay warmer longer? Think about the small details when you are planning a house – make sure you insulate behind the bathtub. This will not only allow you to enjoy a nice long warm…

EarthCraft Light Commercial comes to Virginia


Triple C Camp in southern Albemarle County, designed by The Gaines Group, PLC architectural firm, has achieved EarthCraft Light Commercial Building Certification. This is the first project in the country outside the state of Georgia to achieve EarthCraft Light Commercial certification. While the Gaines Group has long been known for their leadership in green design,…

The Gaines Group is Moving


The Charlottesville office of The Gaines Group, PLC is moving into a new space on Pantops. Let us know what you think of our new space?

Design like you give a damn!


In seventh grade I took a class that introduced printing, photography, and drafting. I loved the process of solving spatial problems and knew that I wanted to be an architect. It has since taken me years to figure out what that exactly entails. I now know my calling in life is to serve others through…

Is your home giving you cancer?


With a headline like that, I had to read the article this morning from our local television station. Radon can be a big problem in your homes, but what do you do if there is a problem? If you live in a new home and it was built “right,” then there is a radon mitigation…

New Year’s Resolutions


I love hearing that so many of you have a New Year’s Resolution to reduce your energy consumption.  Your home is the best place to start. We just moved into a new (old) home that had mostly incandescent lights. Some were 60 watt, some were 75 watt, and I even found some 100 watt bulbs…