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Fa- Er..Ahem...Autumn is Here! (Because we don't like to say "Fall" when houses are in the air!)


The cooler temperatures have arrived, so it seemed like the perfect time to have an entire house go up in a day.  The photos above show a custom BrightBuilt Home that was just set this week in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 

Slabs of glass, tall ceilings, a ground floor master bedroom, generous open-concept living spaces, and 3 bedrooms and an office upstairs round out this tidy modern farmhouse. It's all set and ready to get its winter jacket of bright white clapboards and standing seam metal roof. 

We're happily working with Decumanus Green on this home, and are so excited to see the finishes come together inside and out.  If you're interested in learning more about our options for fully custom designs, please don't hesitate to reach out.  

ADU, ADU, to You and You and You

The ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) craze is gearing up to rightfully take over backyards, side yards, rural landscapes, and suburbia, with the aim to address housing needs in cities and for multi-generational households.  


The latest addition to our own personal line of Accessory Dwelling Units - AKA the BrightBuilt Sidekicks (see our In-Law Flat & Guesthouse) - is a 420 square foot contemporary nod to accessory living.  With a minimalist footprint, the Sidekick Studio offers ample space for an individual or couple seeking to live on simpler terms, while still offering all of the comforts of a larger home.  To find out more about Sidekick design options or options for financing through a local lender contact us today. 

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Our Story


In 2005, Keith Collins, a visionary entrepreneur (that's him on the left, below) hired Kaplan Thompson Architects (and that's Phil Kaplan there on the right, below) to help assemble a team to design and build him a revolutionary, forward-thinking moonshot of a project disguised as a barn, on his property in Rockport, Maine. It was to have ambitious goals of environmental responsibility, adaptability over time, replicability, attainability, and education potential inside what had to be a beautiful, liveable, timeless structure that looked like it had always been there.


The result was the BrightBuilt Barn, one of the regions first truly documented net-zero energy buildings (every year since 2008), with live energy use visible online...and on the building itself. In order to spread the word and in the spirit of open-source collaboration, the plans were given away for free and downloaded over 7,000 times, inspiring a host of others across the globe to think more deeply about living more sustainably, and perhaps build their own. It was featured in the New York Times, USA Today, and NPR, earned LEED Platinum Certification, and won the LEED Innovative Project award for 2008 among other accolades.


After the recession lifted in 2012 and energy prices spiked, there was a tremendous pent-up demand for living more modestly with less environmental impact, and protecting future investments from another economic meltdown. BrightBuilt Home was launched in 2013 as a sister company to Kaplan Thompson to capture these inquiries and give an option to their clients with more modest budgets and speedier timelines who did not want to compromise on their goals to live in a better-built home. It has been 5 years since we officially decided to hang out the BrightBuilt Home shingle, and in that time, 78 new high-performance net-zero homes have either been built or are on the boards.

Auspicious beginnings...Here's to the future! 


A Custom Fit: Design Feature, the BrightBuilt Custom Home


If you love our designs, but have found that, due to your site, your needs, or just your spatial preferences, the designs in our portfolio don't quite work: fret not. At BrightBuilt, we can develop a fully customized house plan for you - from scratch - to be built off site and delivered to your (potentially-particular) site, and perfect for you, your needs, and your bottom line. 

In the above images, we demonstrate that high-performance doesn't have to look flashy or modern. This home, recently set and completed in Mid Coast Maine, looks like it's been there for 200 years!

Working with the BrightBuilt design team, these homeowners developed a layout derived from modern design trends and lifestyle norms, and set within a form that is straight out of the early 18th century.  With exquisite interior and exterior detailing, courtesy of the master carpenter who calls this home, the look, feel, form, and day to day are a perfect fit.  

In their own words: 
"We would like you to know that the house design and function inside and out makes it the best house that we have ever built and lived in. It is not only well-sited on the lot, receiving ever-changing light throughout each day, but the overall layout makes the house very easy to move around in and live in. Our heartfelt thanks again to you for the excellent design work on the house!"

The custom pathway allows homeowners to marry the advantages of off-site construction with the architectural insights our office has to offer - resulting in a perfect balance of vision and execution.  

To learn more about our process, or to find out how we can help you bring your ideas to life, please don't hesitate to get in touch! 

Materials Matter: Having a Light Bulb Moment

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The humble light bulb has come a long way since its invention. Modern bulbs are designed to consume considerably less energy while producing the same amount of light and lasting substantially longer. Recent improvements in light quality and the ability to dim have made non-incandescent bulbs a viable option in virtually any setting. Energy efficient alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs include compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs. They might come with a slightly higher price tag in the immediate future, but they can last for years and will help you save significantly on utility costs. 

Check out the links below for more about the latest improvements on Thomas Edison's mighty invention: 

Department of Energy: Lighting Choices to Save you Money

Consumer Reports: Choosing the Best Energy-Saving Lightbulbs




Materials Matter: Don't Let your Appliances Take You to the Cleaners.


Looking to find a replacement fridge, or outfitting an entirely new Kitchen?  Make sure you take a closer look at the energy consumption of any appliances you're aiming to purchase.  It will save you on your bottom line, and will keep those treasured plug loads low to keep your solar array cranking into net-positivity.  

There are guidelines and information galore, and it's important to read the fine print on all aspects of the product in question - from wattage consumption, to cycling, to sound generation, and more. 

Energy Star is the benchmark for energy efficient appliances in the United States and it is not difficult to find a broad range of options from almost every manufacturer. Although Energy Star appliances sometimes cost more to purchase, they will save you money on utility costs over the life of the equipment, and you can sometimes immediately save with local and national rebate programs.

Energy Star certifies almost every type of appliance, some types of building products, and various electronics. Many people choose Energy Star for major kitchen appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers, but do not necessarily think about other certified products, such as:

  • Air purifiers
  • Televisions
  • Telephones
  • Heat Pumps
  • Venilation Fans 
  • Ceiling Fans 
  • Light Fixtures & Light Bulbs 
  • Computers & Peripherals
  • Water Heaters
  • Washing Machines and Dryers 

A notable exception is that Energy Star does not currently certify residential ovens, ranges, and microwaves.

In addition to the Energy Star label, compare and contrast on the specifications between units. You may find that, while two fridges share an Energy Star certification, they may still perform very differently from one another. 

Chilling Out When the Heat is "On"


If you're currently suffering from the heat and humidity outside, like us, then you'll understand just how important the systems are in your home.  We often focus on how warm our homes can be during a frigid New England winter, but did you know that they function just as well in summer? A BrightBuilt Home keeps you cool and free from the oppressive humidity!

There are three main components, sun-shading, insulation and air-sealing, and mechanical systems, that work together to give you a break from the summer heat.

Sun-shading: Our homes are "solar-tuned", often facing due South, which means the sun can come streaming in through those large windows in the wintertime, to take advantage of the passive heat.  This is, of course, not ideal for summer, so every BrightBuilt Home is equiped with awnings or shading trellises to keep that summer sun from beating down on you while inside.  You'll still have that nice bright daylight, just without the heat. How can you beat that?

Insulation/Draft-free construction: Similar to how insulation and air-tightness helps keep you warm in winter, it also keeps you cool in summer, by limiting the transfer of heat though your walls, floors, and ceilings.  As a function of the high-performance envelope of the home, in summer time the cool will stay in, and the heat and humidity will stay out!

Mechanical Systems: The benefit of using Air-source heat pumps to heat your home is that they also have a cooling funtion - Perfect for getting a blast of cold air when you need it.  Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) also play a large part in mitigating that humidity - when the air exchange happens (bringing fresh air in, and taking stale air out) the ERV core does not allow humidity to transfer.  Pretty cool!

Of course, all of this to say, you can feel comfortable in your home no matter what's going on outside, AND it doesn't have to cost you much (or anything)!

(Our Vinalhaven, shown in the pictures above, serves as a perfect model to illustrate some of those cool features we speak of.  Take a peak at the design!)

Materials Matter: Going with the (low-) Flow

Good design and construction will help you improve efficiency by limiting the amount of heat that can transfer through the exterior, but a good green home also takes usage into consideration. Your home has a long life span. Start it off right with sustainable systems and materials that enable you to keep your environmental footprint small while still living comfortably in the modern world.



Water consumption is an important part of living a sustainable lifestyle. Low-flow fixtures and toilets help reduce water use during daily activities like washing dishes and showering. Virtually all major manufacturers offer low-flow solutions so you can choose from a broad range of fixtures to match your style. The technology has improved over the years so most of the time you aren’t even aware that you are conserving water.

Water reclamation systems that reclaim greywater from sinks, dishwashers, tubs, and showers are a great way to conserve water, especially in areas that are subject to drought. However, these systems tend not to be cost-effective in New England because water shortages are rarely a problem. Of course, water conservation is always a good practice, so if you want to invest in these systems it is always an option.

Materials Matter: Use the Right Stuff in your High Performance Home


Good design and construction will help you improve efficiency by limiting the amount of heat that can transfer through the exterior, but a good green home also takes usage into consideration. Your home has a long life span. Start it off right with sustainable systems and materials that enable you to keep your environmental footprint small while still living comfortably in the modern world.


Building elements are made up of all sorts of materials, and some are more eco-friendly than others. In addition to having a negative environmental impact, poor quality building materials can also affect your indoor air quality and the healthiness of your home. Make sure your builder uses materials that are labeled no- or low-VOC and do not have added formaldehyde. Some of the materials that might have unwanted toxins include:

  • Adhesives
  • Insulation
  • Sealants
  • Caulk
  • Flooring
  • Tile
  • Carpet
  • Countertops
  • Plywood
  • Sheathing
  • Paint and polyurethane

Eco-friendly options are almost always available and have become equal or nearly equal in cost, but if your builder doesn’t know that it is important to you, they might use whatever they have on hand or the cheapest option.

The Breakdown on Thermal Breaks

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A thermal break is a building element that limits the flow of heat between materials. Think about your morning cup of coffee. If the paper cup is too hot, you put a sleeve on it so you don’t burn your hand. That sleeve is a thermal break. However, the base of the cup and the open top are still allowing heat to escape. 

Of course, if you’re being sustainable, you use an insulated travel mug that has a thermal break all around it. When the lid is off, heat flows out, but when you put the lid on, you have just maximized the thermal breaks on your coffee cup. 

You have to do the same thing when building a green home – maximize the thermal breaks. This means ensuring that there are thermal breaks around the entire exterior, including under the slab so heat can’t escape into the ground.

There are many types of thermal breaks employed throughout a green home. Every single wood stud or rafter that makes contact with the inside drywall and the outside sheathing of the home is a potential location for transfer of cold air and needs an additional continuous blanket of insulation outside of it (or in between members) to ensure substantial heat loss doesn’t occur. Triple-pane windows use the inert gas between the panes as a thermal break. Energy efficient windows and doors are constructed from less conductive materials on the inside and outside to ensure that heat does not flow through the frames. Areas without thermal breaks are weak spots that counteract all of the other measures you have taken to minimize heat transfer. 

It might not be the most glamorous part of the project, but it is critical to consider this important concept when building a new green home.

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Crushing on the Cushing: Week One of this Month's Featured Design


The Cushing is our nod to the classic New England Farmhouse.  With a generous open-concept first floor layout, a ground floor master suite, banks of sun-soaking windows, and room upstairs for 2 bedrooms, laundry, 1-2 baths, and a bonus room (which also could become another bedroom), this design packs a lot into its compact, classic form.  

The Cushing shown above perches on a hillside with optimal southerly exposure - allowing the home to be passively heated well into the colder months of the year.  The living space provides a light-filled, tree-bounded respite for the home's family, and the 2-floor distribution of sleeping spaces allows for all to have a solid sense of personal space. 

In his own words, the home's co-owner (and carpentry detailer and systems explainer extraordinaire) remarks on his experience of living in this variation of BrightBuilt's Cushing design: 

"We are loving the last couple of weeks. Sunny days are keeping the house at 65-70, and the temp only dropped 4 degrees last night when it was 24 degrees out side. Wondering how long we can hold off on using the heat."

If you're keen to learn more about ways to tailor this design to your family and your aesthetic preferences, please let us know.  Opportunities abound for turning this design into a warm, inviting, personalized, and relaxing respite for all to enjoy.

Insulation: The Puffy Coat of the Built Environment


Increasingly, wall and roof thickness to accommodate additional insulation plays a major role in limiting heat transfer. A green home with a roof and walls that are thicker than a conventional home has better thermal comfort because less heat is allowed to escape in winter. You also get the bonus of having a much quieter home since thick, insulation-filled walls and roof filter out more sound from the outside.

Insulation also helps reduce unwanted heat loss and heat gain in a home. The more insulation there is, the less heat can transfer through the walls and roof. A green home has more insulation than a conventional home, sometimes up to twice as much, which makes it warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Environmentally friendly insulation materials like natural cellulose are proven to safely insulate homes without risk of fire or unwanted toxins. Spray foam is also an effective insulating material, but because it has potential toxins, particularly during and immediately after the application process, it is less desirable. Many homeowners who want a sustainable, healthy home choose to limit its use to only the areas that are the most difficult to access. Although sometimes effective, some batt (or blanket) insulations like fiberglass have greater potential health impacts and can leave gaps within the wall cavity even in the best installations.

Regardless of the type of insulation you choose, it is important to properly insulate the entire exterior shell, roof, and slab to limit thermal transfer, ultimately limiting the potential for condensation and mold growth inside the walls. Ice dams, a common roof problem for New Englanders in wintertime, can be prevented by specifying sufficient insulation and applying it properly.

Creating a Draft-Free Home

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You already know that one of the major challenges when building a green home in New England is heat loss in winter, but there is less concern about heat gain in summer. One of the reasons for this is the difference between standard comfort levels and the outside air temperature. When you consider that 65° to 72° is comfortable for most people, a hot summer day is only a 20° to 25° difference. On the other hand, a cold winter day might range from a 35° to 80°+ difference in temperature. That’s quite a leap to get from the outside air temperature to your indoor comfort level, and any lost heat will require more energy to maintain the desired temperature.

One of the primary ways to combat heat loss in a home is with good air sealing, particularly at the corners and transitions, such as where the walls meet the roof, windows, doors, and foundation. During construction, you can test for air leakage with a blower door test to ensure all the gaps are sealed before the home is finished. A blower door test works by creating a pressure differential between the inside and outside of the building. This difference in pressure forces air through of all the holes in the structure, and a tighter building requires less air to achieve the desired pressure differential. A blower door test also allows you to find out where the holes are so they can be sealed properly, for both air and water.

There are several ways to calculate how well a home is sealed, but the two most common are ACH50 and effective leakage area. ACH50 stands for air changes per hour at 50 Pascals. For comparison, common ACH50 numbers include:

  • An older inefficient home might have 8-15 ACH50
  • The current building code requires 7 ACH50
  • A green home might have 3 ACH50 (likely the threshold of the forthcoming new code)
  • Net-zero and Passive House homes have less than 1 to 1.5 ACH50
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Another way to evaluate the air leakage in a home is with the effective leakage area (ELA) metric. This number tells you the area of a hole that the building would leak if all of the small holes and gaps were combined. For example, a higher ELA might be like having a hole the size of a manhole cover constantly open in your home. On the other hand, a lower ELA might be like having a hole the size of a small jar lid. Obviously it is more desirable to have a smaller hole constantly allowing air to pass in and out of your home, which is why it is so important to ensure that proper air sealing is done while the house is being constructed. A tighter home with good air sealing means you will have lower energy bills, better comfort levels throughout the year, and a draft-free home.


Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about fresh air and ventilation, a key component in the conversation about air-leakage and air-tightness in your home!

Opening the Door (or Window) to Performance Possibilities

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While paying close attention to the shape and volume of your new high-performance home, it's also important to pay attention to the holes you punch through its shell.  The openings in a home are yet another chance for air to escape or enter. On a clear spring day you want your open windows to bring in fresh air, but on a cold winter day you want as little heat as possible to escape your cozy home. Even the best window is not as energy efficient as the minimum standard wall. Windows and doors are the primary source of both heat loss and gain in a home.

Consider these three factors when making design decisions about windows and doors for your new green home:


You want to strike the right balance of natural light and ventilation without risking the chance of too much air leakage. Too many windows might allow too much solar gain, and too few will not allow enough natural light and ventilation.


To maximize solar gain in winter, more windows should be placed on the south side of the home, with fewer on the other sides. Consider where shade will fall on the south face during summer. Windows on the east and west offer less opportunity for shade control as the sun angle is so low in morning and late afternoon. Grouping windows together also helps reduce the opportunity for heat loss because it reduces the number of transitions between walls and windows.


It may seem counterintuitive because the glass in a window
is thinner than the surrounding frame, but in most windows
the glass is actually thermally better than the frame, as the air between panes has an insulating effect. Also, the edge of the frame is a transition spot where air leakage and heat loss can occur. This means that having a few larger windows is better than having a lot of small windows if reducing heat loss is one of your goals.

A lot of factors come into play when deciding how many windows your new home should have, where they should be placed, and how large or small they should be. This is yet another case when an experienced architect can provide guidance for optimizing natural light and ventilation while balancing with energy efficiency.

What's Your Ratio? Your home's surface to volume ratio counts for more than just math!


Last week we took a look at the how the number of surfaces (different planes, an abundance of corners, etc.) can impact a home's performance. In addition to the number of surfaces, the surface area-to-volume ratio is also an important consideration when building a green home. The more surface area a home has (the total area of the exterior walls, roof, and floors), the more opportunity there is for heat to escape or enter. Likewise, the higher the ratio, the greater the risk of loss.

The geometric shape that has the minimum surface area to volume is a sphere, but that’s hardly practical for a house. A cube is the most reasonable, compact shape for a home to minimize heat transfer. Of course, other factors come into play, such as optimizing glass area on the south-facing wall and ensuring that sufficient light can penetrate to the interior spaces, often making a rectangular shape more desirable than a cube. Plus, sloped roofs make more sense in regions that receive a lot of snow, such as New England.

The key is to strike the right balance between all of these factors to produce a green home that’s right for you and your building site. An architect with a background in green building can use sophisticated modeling tools to calculate how adjusting various factors, including surface area and volume, will impact the performance of the building.

To illustrate why this metric is so important, consider two shapes that have the same volume but a very dfferent surface area:

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Both a 10’x10’x10’ cube and a 10’x50’x2’ rectangle have a volume of 1,000 cubic feet, but the surface area is quite different. The cube’s surface area is 600 square feet and the rectangle’s is 1,240 square feet. That’s more than twice the opportunity for heat loss on the rectangular building. The rectangle in this example also requires more building materials for the walls, roof, slab, and flooring, which means a higher cost for the building.

Designing an Energy Efficient Home: Simple is Good

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If you are building a custom home, you have the freedom to implement the design features that suit your aesthetic and optimize the natural characteristics of the site in order to develop a structure that meets your needs while respecting the environment at the same time. 

A structure that is simpler will have fewer opportunities for failure than one that is more complex. In the context of a green home, failure primarily means air and/or water leaks. The more transitions a home has, such as corners and connections between the walls and roof, the more likely it is that unwanted water and air will be able to enter your home. Air leakage is a concern when building green homes because when warm air escapes to the colder outside air, mechanical systems have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. The same is true when warm air comes into the house in summer and cooling systems have to run more frequently. This leads to more energy consumption, higher utility bills, and a bigger environmental footprint.

To reduce the chance for air leakage, the exterior of a green home should have no more than three to four roof planes and six to eight corners. To put it in visual terms, a cube or rectangle has four corners, an L-shaped building has six, and a U-shaped building has eight. Additional features like dormers and bay windows add more corners and roof planes, adding complexity and increasing the chance that warm air will leak out of your home.

It’s worth noting that simpler structures also cost less to build because fewer materials are required. So, you not only get the bene ts of long- term savings from less energy consumption, but you also save on construction costs.


Site, Undisturbed: How to lessen your impact on a building site.


Building a green home requires considering more than just the structure itself. Even the greenest home couldn’t be reasonably considered sustainable if you had to cut down an entire forest to build it and then covered half the site in an impervious parking area. This is an extreme example, but how much you need to disturb the site is a factor that must be weighed if your goal is to minimize your environmental impact. 7 

The greenest solution is to build on an area that has already been developed so that you don’t have to remove any additional plant life. However, this isn’t always possible. If your property has a lot of trees, think about ways you can position the house so that you have to cut down as few as possible. Can you use that wood in the construction of the home or for some other beneficial purpose? 

Think about all of the possible options for the placement of your new home and choose the one that requires the least amount of tree removal and blasting, while still allowing you to optimize the orientation and shading. 

Another factor to consider with respect to site disturbance is the amount of impervious surface you will create. Features like driveways and walkways are practically necessary, but you have the option to limit the space you will cover. You can also choose materials that allow water to penetrate into the ground, limiting runoff from your property.

Your home’s distance from the road will also impact site disturbance, especially if you will require a long driveway or significant digging to install utilities and other services.

Making the Grade: A couple quick considerations around site drainage & durability.


Ensuring proper rainwater drainage on the site is critical for the longterm durability of your home. If water is allowed to flow into the house, you might face problems like damage to surfaces, hidden moisture in your walls, and eventually, mold growth. Of course, quality construction also plays a role in durability, but good drainage is the first step in avoiding these problems. Some of the factors that will play a role in drainage on a building site include:

• Soil type

• The presence of ledge

• The level of the water table

• Surface and subsurface water

• Slope shape and direction

In most cases you can overcome any drainage challenges the site presents with some combination of grading, sophisticated drainage techniques, and internal pumps. However, some of these solutions also come with a higher price tag for site work and require additional site disturbance.

Throwing Some Shade - Strategies for Striking a Healthy Balance of Sun and Shade

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Most homes do not sit on top of a barren hill without any surrounding landscape features. In reality, most sites are surrounded by buildings, mountains, trees, or other features that create shade. Where your home is positioned on the site and how it is oriented will impact how much sun reaches the house at different times throughout the year.

If you are trying to maximize solar gain in winter, you will want minimal shade on the south side so as much sunlight as possible can enter the space. This means avoiding situating the home where buildings or evergreen trees will block the light on the south side of the home. If you do want to take advantage of shade in summer, try to position the home so that mature, deciduous trees are on the south side to block the intense summer sun. When it comes time for their leaves to fall in the cooler months, they will not block sunlight when needed.

You can also build strategically sized roof overhangs to minimize solar heat gain in summer as the angle of the sun is much higher during these hotter months. A designer can determine the ideal length of your overhangs — or trellises — to block out just enough unwanted summer sun. Additionally, if too many windows are placed on the western face of the home, overheating in summer months will most certainly occur, even in New England, since the sun will be too low at that point to be blocked by a reasonably sized overhang.

If you plan to install rooftop solar panels, you also want to be sure that a sufficient roof area is not shaded so it can receive adequate sunlight all year long.

A BrightBuilt Home for (Almost) Every Apocalypse

Though we live in an increasingly polarized society, one of the few things that
we can all agree on is that the world is becoming more and more perilous, our
prospects are unsteady, and the future is impossible to predict. Between the real or imagined threats of climate change, nuclear war, and zombies, it’s sometimes difficult to see past the parade of horrifying news stories, devastating storms, and overzealous Second Coming preachers that batter us with their end-of- days prophecies. We don’t have to agree on how or when the world will end, but let’s be honest – we’re all wondering how we’ll get through it.

If you are hoping to build a new home, but are concerned that there may be no point in trying to survive the coming horrors, I have good news. BrightBuilt Home understands these concerns, and will work to create a home for you that can keep you and your family safe through (almost) any apocalypse.


Environmental Disaster

BrightBuilt Home was started as a way of mitigating the environmental destruction that is wrought everyday by the building industry. The intention is that every home is capable of supplying its own power, and as such, the homes are well insulated, air sealed, and equipped  with energy efficient systems designed to smooth out the whims of the weather and harness the ever more sinister power of the sun to ride out progressively more erratic winters. It’s like environmental Tai-Chi, with triple pane windows.

While you can’t predict typhoons in November, you can be sure that you will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and that the storms raging outside your window will seem quaint from inside your cozy BrightBuilt Home. Passive solar design will ensure that you collect as much heat as possible from the winter sun, while the summer sun is blocked from cooking you on your living room couch. Deep insulated walls have the dual effect of holding the temperature steady, and silencing the crack of thunder outdoors. Grow happy houseplants on your generous windowsills to distract from the tendrils of man-made desert drifting across your yard, and water them with our standard low-flow water fixtures.

Model to Choose: The Foxbird. Let’s face it, you’re probably going to die in
this house, so take life easy with single level living, firmly rooted to the good

Recommended Modification: Upgrade to a recycled fly ash siding. It’s
impervious to water, will hold its paint longer than wood siding, and won’t


Economic Collapse

With all the uncertainty in the world, it’s good to know that you will
never be surprised by your utility bill. When stocks are going crazy and a
gallon of milk costs $16, you don’t want to have to sell your youngest child to
keep the lights on. It might cost money to build your home, but remember
that when it really counts, it will be worth a herd of cattle, 5 dairy goats, 27
rolls of barbed wire, 3 boxes of shotgun shells, and a machete. That’s a
capital gain by any definition, right?

If everything else goes wrong, at least you and your family will be safe
and warm between scavenging trips. Remember that the ROI on smug
superiority is immediate.

Model to Choose: Vinalhaven. With plenty of square footage and 4-5
bedrooms, you will have lots of room to house your destitute children and
their offspring until they are 47, which is the average age that the next
generation is expected to move out of the basement.

Recommended Modification: Hold the utility at arms length with an ample
battery supply and break up with the grid when Wall Street gets too hairy.


Super Virus Rampage

Population keeps rising, and it’s only a matter of time before a super
virus sweeps through the unwashed masses, leaving a crippled economy and
decimated infrastructure in its wake. It’s a good thing that your impeccably
detailed home keeps you off the grid, and your filtered HRV keeps your air
clean. Leave crowded, contagious society behind, and when the virus has
passed, you’ll be the one left standing, albeit surrounded by the emaciated
corpses of former neighbors with less foresight.

Model to Choose: BrightBuilt Barn. You only need a small home to live that
isolationist lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of.

Recommended Modification: Upgrade to a medical grade filtration system. If there’s anyone  you want to take with you (provided they haven’t been infected yet) spring for the two bedroom model.



Just because the world has been overrun with the shambling undead,
doesn’t mean you have to crouch in the dark behind boarded up windows,
whispering to your one companion about the next place to scavenge for
twinkies. In a BrightBuilt Home, you can talk with your outside voice. The
zombies can’t hear you, thanks to 10 inches of cellulose insulation, and that’s
good, because it means that you don’t have to listen to their pathetic
moaning. Relax in the ample natural day-lighting that is typical for passive
solar homes and pretend, while you enjoy the squirrel you caught for dinner,
that the world has not become a horror movie hell landscape.

Model to Choose: Great Diamond. With an optional finished attic space, you’ll
have a great vantage point for target practice.

Recommended Modification: Have your builder relocate your fresh air intake
near the roof so you don’t have to smell the rotting corpses of the walkers
you shot. Swapping the living space of the first floor with the bedrooms on
the 2nd floor will place your big windows high above the ground, which will
come in handy if you find yourself dealing with fast and mean 28 Days Later
zombies rather than the clumsy and slow Walking Dead variety.


Nuclear War

If you were under the impression that a nuclear apocalypse means certain
death, we have good news! When it comes to surviving nuclear attack,
location is everything, and with the right modifications, you can have the
dubious responsibility of repopulating the planet. BrightBuilt Homes are well
suited for modification into a bomb shelter. Sturdily built with hefty high
performance windows, they will withstand more heat and blast pressure
than most of the buildings around them, and the strength of the blast
decreases quickly the further you are from ground zero. Once the more
insidious radioactive fallout takes over as your primary risk, you can rely on
airtight construction and 24/7 air filtration to ensure you breathe easy. Build
at least 5 miles from any likely strike targets and plan to stay indoors for at
least 2 weeks.

Model to Choose: Bungalow. A low profile means the surrounding landscape
can offer you some protection from the initial blast, and a full basement
provides a great opportunity for that inner refuge where you can hide out for
those first few critical days.

Recommended Modification: The sun won’t shine much during nuclear
winter, so your solar panels won’t be much help until the dust settles. Opt for
a well-sealed high performance woodstove with its own intake air to keep
you cozy until the heat pumps come back on.


Remember, when discussing your construction budget with your BrightBuilt Project Manager, that garages, cinder block walls with broken glass toppers, razor wire fences, pointy stick barriers, decks, and porches are not included in the base pricing, and will require additional estimating by your builder.

With a BrightBuilt Home as your base of operations, your chances of outlasting whatever is coming are greatly increased, and nothing beats the peace of mind of knowing that you will probably survive an imaginary future catastrophe. Give us a call to get started, and whisper “the sky is falling” repeatedly into the receiver until you are transferred to the individual who wrote this post.