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      Energy Efficiency

      Listing Spotlight: 369 Strong Road, Fayston VT

      This Fayston, VT home was constructed in 2005 with a high-end design and energy efficient features. There are 6 bedrooms, including a handicap-accessible guest room on the basement floor. It is a beautiful hillside home with stunning mountain views. The kitchen is upgraded with blue mica cast concrete counters, stainless steel appliances, 6-burner stove, a wine cooler pantry, and a formal breakfast nook overlooking the backyard. The wrap-around porch in the backyard is the perfect spot to enjoy during spring, summer, and fall.

      Fayston VT Home: 369 Strong Road369 Strong Road, Fayston VT

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      Contact me to schedule a tour of this home! 

      Geothermal, Sugared Down.

      Geothermal exchange, aka geothermal heating and cooling, is spectacularly simple, at once enigmatically complex. Vermonters are capitalizing on this wonderful green technology known by some as cave man technology as pre-historic man escaped winter's harshness since the Paleolithic era in subterranean homes, making use of warmer temperatures below the surface from heat retained within the Earth since planet formation, radioactive decay of minerals, and absorbed solar energy.

      If you've ever loved going into your basement in the heat of summer as it's so much cooler than the rest of the house, you've enjoyed naturally occurring geo-thermal air conditioning. 55 degree ground temperatures five or six feet down remain constant year round. In Sweden and Switzerland more than 75% of new homes are built with geothermal. 

      The Japanese know the merits of geothermal too. Across the archipelago volcanic mountain ranges are punctuated by natural hot springs. The common man head for the hills in droves, dipping into naturally heated waters from deep inside the earth, pulling relaxation and longevity. While we're missing the volcanic drama in Vermont, our water runs deep and is plentiful.

      Tapping the Underground

      There are three types of home geothermal systems: closed loop, open loop and pond. Closed loops are most common and the only type allowed in some states, are horizontal (on level lots) or vertical and circulate the same water with environmentally friendly anti-freeze while open loop systems draw their water from a well, require substantial water, and expel used water after use. Pond systems have the coils laid at the bottom of six feet or deeper ponds.

      Geothermal is heat transportation rather than heat creation, up to five times more efficient than traditional heating systems rated at 78-98% efficient, and more than twice as efficient cooling. It is greenhouse gas free, non-polluting and doesn't contribute to the acid rain that fossil fuel heating produces, using just modest electricity to run the compressor, fan and pump. Maintenance is minimal with occasional servicing and filter replacement.

      Geothermal Systems

      A refrigerator extracts heat from the fridge, air conditioning contents. A heat pump works pulls heat from outside and compresses it to higher temperatures.

      From, here's a concise explanation of what might otherwise leave you scratching your head:

      "Geothermal Heat Pumps low-temperature heat to over 100°F and transferring it indoors involves a cycle of evaporation, compression, condensation and expansion. A refrigerant is used as the heat-transfer medium which circulates within the heat pump. The cycle starts as the cold, liquid refrigerant passes through a heat exchanger (evaporator) and absorbs heat from the low-temperature source (fluid from the ground loop). The refrigerant evaporates into a gas as heat is absorbed. The gaseous refrigerant then passes through a compressor where the refrigerant is pressurized, raising its temperature to more than 180°F. The hot gas then circulates through a refrigerant-to-air heat exchanger where heat is removed and pumped into the building at about 100°F. When it loses the heat, the refrigerant changes back to a liquid. The liquid is cooled as it passes through an expansion valve and begins the process again. To work as an air conditioner, the system's flow is reversed."

      And here's a Georgia Power video sugaring down Geothermal:

      Maple Sweet Real Estate specializes in advanced technologies and has this geothermally heated and cooled home listed for sale. To list your own home, arrange of showing of this home or any others, learn more about geothermal exchange, or contact Maple Sweet with any other real estate related inquiries,

      Dual-fuel systems include geothermal as the main heating system and a standard boiler or furnace to lean on in extreme cold.

      Cost-effective, environmentally conscientious, and sustainable, payback can come in just a few years, leaving dreaded and rapidly increasing oil and gas bills by the wayside. Fossil fuel liberation, this alternative energy source beckons.

      Maple Sweet Real Estate specializes in advanced technologies and has this geothermal home listed for sale.

      Connect to, e-mail or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 for more info on geothermal heating and cooling, to set up a showing of this geothermal home or any other Vermont property, or to sell your home, condo, land or commercial property.

      See the Maple Sweet Real Estate listings Portfolio and the newest Vermont mls listings.

      Toyota, Yamaha Bring E-Bikes to Smart Grid, from Wired Magazine

      Toyota, Yamaha Bring E-Bikes to Smart Grid

      Toyota and Yamaha have created a couple of commuter concepts that integrate e-bikes and battery-powered scooters to Toyota's electric vehicle communications network. Now, e-bikes and e-scooters can share the road and the charging infrastructure, too.

      The EC-Miu three-wheeler and PAS-WITH e-bike will appear at the Tokyo Motor Show when it opens tomorrow. The two concepts were designed to highlight the companies' joint vehicle communications infrastructure, which they say will advance vehicle-to-vehicle telematics, encourage vehicle sharing and bridge the gap between cars and bikes.

      Through smartphone connections, WiFi and in-vehicle navigation setups, each concept can link to the Toyota Smart Center, a so-called "smart grid" telematics service developed in partnership with Microsoft. With that connection, riders can find the nearest charging station, reserve and pay for charging and upload vehicle diagnostic information.

      Those are the same benefits electric vehicle owners are beginning to enjoy. In addition to Toyota's Smart Center, automakers such as General Motors and Nissan have already deployed smart-grid charging where EVs can communicate with utilities and EV owners to find and reserve a charging station, set pricing and the like. However, the Toyota-Yamaha partnership marks the first time vehicles other than automobiles have been invited to an automaker's own charging party.

      Toyota and Yamaha say that the partnership has multiple benefits. The companies could save a lot of money through shared infrastructure and technology development, and owners of linked Toyotas and Yamahas would benefit from access to each other's charging networks. Eventually, the partnership could even link scooters and e-bikes with a car-sharing service, where a suburban EV owner could borrow a bike to ride in a city while his or her car was plugged in at a public charging station.

      Images: Toyota

      Thank you for visiting Maple Sweet Real Estate's blog, Light Amber.

      Connect to, e-mail or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 to arrange for poetic showings,  list your property,  or look further into Vermont's real estate market.

      Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
      If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency's listing.

      Solar Vermont, eShine


      Parabolic dish and stirling engine system, concentrating sunlight to solar power.


      Solar orchards?

      That's right, step right up and purchase your little piece of paradise much as you would your own cemetery plot. Bask in hot water from the sun's radiation. Cover your roof with silicon. Shoot for the stars and plant a dozen massive kinetic solar trackers across your meadow and really make a splash. Solar is hitting the big time, a figurative and literal fruition.

      From Hinesburg to Waitsfield, north, south, east and west, the rush to embrace alternative energy is on.

      Wikipedia: "Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave powerhydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used."


      Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana, in this April 21 photograph.

      Parabolic dish and stirling engine system, concentrating sunlight to solar power.


      Millions of gallons of spilt Deepwater Horizon oil this spring and summer have brought the issue of fossil fuels, global warming and the importance of alternative energy into sharp focus and Vermonters are taking action.

      Here in the Mad River Valley, solarscapes born almost overnight are transforming our scenic byway, our anti-development oasis into a high-tech crucible and a new reality in which local opposition forms against the visual blight of such high-tech colonization in an environment prized for its bucolic, undisturbed beauty. Wind farms, geothermal, hydroelectric and most beloved of all, it seems, from rooftop to tracker, here comes the sun.

      If you've caught the fever or are just plum ready to reduce your carbon footprint, here are two of many Vermont partner companies offering Vermont solar system installation options.

      Alteris Renewables The sun will never announce a rate hike. Experience. Expertise. Results.

      The number one solar and wind energy installer in the Northeast for homes and businesses. Solar Electric. Alteris solar installations provide 1/3 or 1/2 of your electricity needs, though they can be scaled up to provide 100%. They collect energy through photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are made of very pure silicon. These cells are electrically linked into modules which are linked to arrays.


      How Alteris Solar Electric Energy Works

      Parabolic dish and stirling engine system, concentrating sunlight to solar power.


      Electricity is produced as photons of sunlight hit and penetrate the silicon, bumping electrons into a flow, in a process known as the photovoltaic effect, which produces DC (Direct Current) electricity. This DC current is passed through an inverter, which converts the electricity to Alternating Current (AC) to match the American standards of AC frequency and voltage. & No Money Down.


      Parabolic dish and stirling engine system, concentrating sunlight to solar power.


      groSolar. Distributor, installer and integrator of solar energy solutions for residential and commercial installations. Founded in 1998, groSolar is the largest 100 percent U.S.-owned distributor in the solar industry, and is the fourth-larrgest installation company in North America. The company has offices and warehouses across the US, distributing solar electric and solar hot water systems from offices in VT, NJ, NY, CT, MA, MD, DE, PA, and CA. groSolar integrates components from leading solar manufacturers including Canadian Solar, Motech, Heliodyne, SMA, Fronius, and UniRac into simple solar energy solutions for customers that generate clean, reliable energy for decades. groSolar is a mission-driven company dedicated to providing high quality solar energy solutions and whole energy appreciation. groSolar's venture capital investors include NGP Energy Technology Partners, SJF Ventures, and Calvert Social Investment Fund. Sign up for a free evaluation. groSolar's mission: your peace of mind.


      Parabolic dish and stirling engine system, concentrating sunlight to solar power.


      Incentivize. In 2010, $5,275,000 in funding, made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, is available to the Vermont Renewable Energy Incentive Program. This program requires the installer be a partner in the program. Here's a list of the Renewable Energy Incentive Program Solar Hot Water & Photovoltaic Partners. DSIRE, or the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency includes a detailed summary of Vermont's solar incentives.

      Visit Vermont's 9th Renewable Energy Conference & Expo this Thursday September 30th & Friday October 1st at the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington, sponsored by such luminaries as NRG Systems and the much more familiar Green Mountain Power.

      For more information on solar power in Vermont, to sell or purchase your own Vermont property, contact Maple Sweet Real Estate at 1.800.525.7965, or visit


      William Maclay on Net Zero Energy Buildings: Providing Stable Returns In An Unstable World

      Maple Sweet Real Estate is proud to present the following blog submission on Net Zero Energy Buildings from esteemed and highly accomplished Vermont architect, William Maclay. William Maclay Architects and Planners mission is to enhance the world we inhabit through making places for people and nature to live and to flourish with dignity, spirit, and beauty.

      Green design has taken on increasing importance and relevance for Vermont real estate purchasers, investors and home builders.  Bill Maclay's team is particularly well equipped to design homes and projects on the cutting edge of the carbon footprint revolution.

      Net Zero Energy Buildings: Providing Stable Returns In An Unstable World, by William Maclay

      Faced with multiple challenges from environmental pressures due to climate change, energy price volatility and the economic downturn, there has never been a better time to build.

      But we're not talking about any ordinary buildings--we are talking about the design and construction of buildings that minimize the use of natural resources and energy. Such buildings protect the environment, pay for themselves through improved efficiency, lower operating costs through stable energy costs and avoid the need for outside (fossil-fuel based) energy sources.

      We call these buildings Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB). There are very few standing in the United States today--many more are on the drawing boards. But simply put, Net Zero energy buildings should become the new standard in "green" building as they can provide the best long-term solution to the environmental, energy and economic problems we face.

      Net zero energy buildings (NZEBs) generate as much energy as they consume on an annual basis. The energy used is usually produced on-site and comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal or biomass. Typically, the net zero building is connected to the electricity grid, using the grid as a balancing mechanism to accommodate the fluctuation of renewable energy sources.  Often, people will ask whether it's possible to achieve NZEB in the cold climates of New England. While it's certainly easier to achieve in warmer, southern climates, the net zero goal is very reachable, albeit more challenging, here in New England and other similar climates.

      How to Get from Here to There: Efficiency First, Renewables Second

      Because renewable energy sources are usually more expensive than non-renewable energy sources, the goal in any Net Zero energy building is to first reduce the energy needs of that building. Typically energy usage must be reduced by 50% or more (over current building efficiency codes). We call buildings that meet this greatly improved energy standard micro-load buildings.  After that renewables can be added cost effectively to make net-zero buildings.

      Net Zero in New Construction versus Existing Buildings

      Certainly, achieving micro load energy efficiency standards is easier and typically more cost-effective to do with a brand new building--essentially building it into the design plans from the outset. But it's also possible to do when renovating existing buildings. With 300 billion square feet of existing buildings out there, bringing energy use down and improving building performance in the already built environment offers tremendous opportunities for savings.


      Clearly, net zero energy buildings offer a tremendous opportunity for countering the environmental, energy and economic pressures we face today. But they will not become the standard for how we develop our buildings and communities overnight. It will take a concerted effort to educate business owners (and the public) about the potential these buildings offer and change the way we think. By taking a longer term view and seeing our buildings as the investments they truly are--investments into our energy future, the well-being of our planet and the health of our businesses--we will be moving toward a more stable, productive and sustainable way of life.

      Some examples of Net Zero projects by Maclay Architects:

      River House, Moretown, VT

      The River House is a Net-Zero residence set on a stone dam abutment above the Mad River. It directly connects to the location through the use of site-harvested stone in both the building and the landscape. The house uses a super-insulated envelope, a 15 kW on-site photovoltaic array, and a ground source heat pump to achieve its Net-Zero energy goals. The linear structure is accented with three daylight monitors rising through a sedum-covered extensive green roof.

      Dartt House, Waitsfield, VT

      Renovations to this 1800's era farmhouse, located in the historic village of Waitsfield, balanced concerns for preserving historic character and reducing energy demands. Insulating within the existing walls and roof preserved the historic quality of the building exterior, while improving efficiency. Similarly, high-performance, triple glazed windows were installed within existing frames. Energy reducing appliances, an air source heat pump, and heat recovery ventilation further reduced building loads.  These measures improve thermal comfort and indoor air quality to a micro-load building that is ready for an 8.5kW photovoltaic system to be installed in 2010 or 2011. This house is next to Maclay Architects offices which will be net-zero in 2010 with the addition of a 17.5 kW photovoltaic installation.

      Putney School Field House, Putney, VT

      The Putney School desired a new field house to meet their growing needs for high quality sports, wellness and social spaces, while seeking to create a model for the future that could be used as a tool for learning about the school's core values of environmental based learning, sustainability and social consciousness.

      The school also asked the design team to provide a building well-integrated into the existing campus and character of the local Putney community. With its 36.8 kW array, it is projected to be a net-zero building in 2010.

      Learn more about these projects at

      Special thanks to William Maclay for writing this, and to Lisa Sawin, Kevin Dennis & Eileen Hee of William Maclay Architects & Planners for their support in bringing this piece to press.

      To list or look for central or northern Vermont real estate, email,  call toll free 1-800-525-7965 or visit