Montpelier Construction of Barre, VT
Interview with Malcolm Gray, Founding Partner
Green Energy Times staff
- What is your area of expertise? I’ve been building energy-efficient homes since the late 1970s. The definition of energy efficient has been a moving target the whole time. We keep getting more ambitious, and now we are talking about building energy-positive structures (zero energy homes that are so efficient, they produce more energy than they consume). I have been a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) contractor since 2006 and a certified Passive House consultant since 2015. Montpelier Construction has built a number of Passive House certified projects, along with Efficiency Vermont’s (EVT) High-Performance program.
- What projects do people try to do themselves that really should be done professionally? Building high-performance structures can create difficult balance points. A professional should be consulted to avoid moisture problems, determine where you insulate and how much, and to ensure good air quality and human comfort. Montpelier Construction can manage those issues with the latest techniques and products. Our Efficiency Excellence Network (EEN) certification tells clients that we have the training to successfully complete complex projects.
- If you could only choose one type of project to reduce someone’s carbon footprint or improve efficiency, what would it be and why? EVT’s High-Performance program gives us a path to building comfortable, low-carbon homes. We evaluate our choice of materials and mechanical systems to reduce carbon while creating comfortable spaces for our clients. Montpelier Construction looks at all the unique conditions in each project, creating the best combination of materials and systems, so clients get the best product and highest satisfaction.
- What in your field of specialty is most valuable for our readers to know? Montpelier Construction uses the latest building science and best available products and systems to ensure our clients get the highest quality finished project. Through our certifications and constant training, we keep up-to-date on all the latest technology and knowledge.
- Why should people use an EEN member over someone else? As an EEN member, we have been vetted to always use building science and the highest levels of best practice. EVT offers trainings in a wide range of the latest building science topics, keeping all of us abreast of the leading technologies and products.
- What are the best ways to finance projects (or what incentives are available) for residential or commercial projects? There are low interest loans available, some with even lower interest rates for low- and moderate-income households. Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) offers the Home Energy Loan at very reasonable rates. Doing the work through a certified EEN contractor gives our clients access to this loan and others. Montpelier Construction is always kept up-to- date on any incentives through EVT, utilities, and any state or federal programs.
- What are some questions you recommend customers ask when selecting someone to do work to meet energy efficiency goals? Montpelier Construction gives prospective clients our referral list, suggesting which completed projects would match some of their needs. We suggest asking about how it was to work with us, how we problem solved together, did we stay on budget, how knowledgeable we were in the various trades and products that go into reducing their energy needs.