Meet Colin Lindberg, builder of our most recent Jewell. He is owner of Shelterwood Construction, a general contractor out of Moretown, Vermont. He and his team completed this Jewell in 2018. Colin was gracious enough to answer our burning questions, and show off his fun-loving and hard working ethos, for all to enjoy.
What is your history with building high-performance homes? How did you get started?
I came to residential construction as a second career. My first career was in the bicycle industry and I was basically a bike bum who liked to ride his bike quickly. I don't sit still well so carpentry was a natural choice when I was ready to try something new. I ended up working with a great builder in central New Jersey, Pinneo Construction. They had an interest in energy efficiency as well as having insanely talented crew members who took me under their wing. Eventually I was ready for a change of scenery and ended up in Vermont. I worked for a few different companies when I first moved here and I was never quite satisfied. Too many corners were being cut due to budget or schedules. I started dreaming about a different and better way. What if a company only took on projects that were either net-zero, high-performance, and/or passive houses? The rest is history.......ok, well the rest has been a really great learning experience!
How did you and BrightBuilt Home come to find yourselves working together?
I was working with a great couple in conjunction with the fine folks at KTA [Kaplan Thompson Architects] to build a beautiful custom house on an extremely difficult lot. The home design was beautiful, but the site costs to get the house situated made the project goals have to be reconsidered and another path was chosen. The homeowners were an amazing couple close to retirement and the more they thought about what they really wanted, the more they realized that they wanted freedom from energy costs, a comfortable and healthy home, and also to have a smaller mortgage at the end of the project. BBH [BrightBuilt Home] was suggested by the architect and the rest is history. We collaborated on the project and the homeowners are absolutely thrilled with the outcome. It is so sweet to go back and visit them and just watch them glow with house pride!
What was the most fun detail to construct/puzzle to solve on the Jewell?
All of it! On that project, we had 6 inches to spare between a cliff and the house when getting dump trucks around the back to build the septic system. It was harrowing. I loved the well designed and thought out mechanical areas. Those small details really count in a smaller space. There isn't much room to spare and every space is well planned. I love how the Jewell just uses the space.
What sorts of things do you like to do when you’re not dreaming about R-values and embodied carbon?
I chase my 6 year old son all around our little valley from swimming hole to swimming hole, ride mountain bikes, watch the surf report and try to sneak over to the coast as much as I can. Basically, I am trying to hold onto my youth as long as possible while pretending to be a grown up. In the winter it seems like I move snow from one place to another while still attempting to build homes.
What’s the one thing that you’d love people to understand about high-performance homes?
While the extremely low or non-existent utility bills are amazing and the low carbon, earth friendly aspects are absolutely amazing, one other less talked-about benefit is really how comfortable, quiet, and healthy these homes can and should be. It really needs to be experienced first-hand to be understood. I can talk all day long to potential clients about the benefits, but once we step inside a past project for a tour there is a total "AHA" moment. At that point the difference can really be felt and is understood, (especially if it is -10 degrees outside). The ancillary benefits are just amazing.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I really appreciate being able to partner with folks like everyone at BrightBuilt. To be lucky enough to work with fun, organized, and professional people in this crazy world makes me feel really lucky. Building a new home can be really stressful so it is so important to have the right members on your team so that a strong level of trust is established and at that point the process can become really fun. It is so great to share a common goal of creating and crafting earth friendly housing and getting to work with such great team members along the way.