Get to know “Milton Matter of Ivy Tools” Friday Featured Local Business


 Give us some background on your company. What do you do and why do you do it? Ivy Tools supplies instruments to test and diagnose issues of building performance. These tools enable contractors, inspectors, energy auditors, HVAC technicians, and homeowners to answer tough questions about a building. Maybe it’s, “Why is this room so uncomfortable?”,…

Project Update – Penn Laird Home Under Construction Part 2


Our last post about this Healthy, Energy-Efficient, and Durable home was several months ago in March. Since that time, the builder, Trost Custom Homes, has been busy adding siding, stone, garage, and starting some interior space framing. Here are the most current pictures.

Strip Malls Shopping Centers need Design to Survive


A great shopping experience begins with a developer, a parcel of land, and an idea.  Modern “car-friendly” strip malls became popular in the early 1920’s in the United States. The primary focus was a large parking lot with “anchor stores” to attract the customers all to one easy convenient location. This model has not really…

Top 10 Things to Do This Summer for Your Home and Health


1      Plant a shade tree. A tree absorbs carbon dioxide, improves air quality, and controls flooding by minimizing runoff and topsoil loss. If located right it can offer free air conditioning on a sunny day for you and your home. 2      Switch all your light bulbs to LEDs (or at least CFLs) to reduce unnecessary…

Green Terms Defined: Energy Recovery Ventilator


An Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) is the system used for energy recovery by exchanging the energy contained in air exhausted from the building and using it to treat (pre-conditioned) the incoming outdoor ventilation air in residential and commercial HVAC systems. (So it is basically a spinning hamster wheel working to make your home more comfortable.)…

Building Code – Why should you demand more?


Building Code: set of standards established and enforced by local government for the structural safety of buildings. The building code is simply a set of rules that set minimum standards for construction of structures – the absolute worst possible construction allowed by law. The purpose of the building code is to protect health, safety, and…

Home Automation Systems – What is it?


Home Automation is the residential version of building automation. It may include control of lighting, Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, appliances, door locks, stereo, window shades, cameras, or security systems. Home automation can increase the quality of life for occupants of a home as well as improve convenience, energy efficiency, comfort, and security. The…

Apartment Building Face Lift – Duke Gardens


Duke Gardens is a student apartment building in Harrisonburg. The goal for this project was to update the exterior aesthetics of the building to make it more competitive in the rental market for students. The project is now in process. Let us know what you think. Before Proposed In Process Before Proposed In Process

Green Term Defined: Thermal Envelope


Thermal Envelope may be the exterior building envelope or it may be portions of the exterior envelope and portions of interior elements. The thermal envelope is the barrier used to protect your interior environment from heat transfer from inside to outside. The effectiveness of this barrier is dependent on insulation levels, air tightness, and thermal…