Blog

Heat Pumps: Your Cool Summer Companion

When we think about summer, images of beach days, barbecues, and perhaps a cooling dip in the pool come to mind. But let's face it, the reality often involves sweltering days when the air feels downright oppressive. Keeping cool becomes the top priority, and this is where a heat pump can be a game-changer.

June 14, 2024

The Ventilation Showdown: ERV, HRV, and CERV - Decoded

In today's modern world, the significance of healthy air quality and energy efficiency cannot be overstated. Beyond mere comfort, they are pivotal elements for maintaining both physical well-being and environmental sustainability. Healthy air quality ensures that indoor environments are free from pollutants and allergens, safeguarding respiratory health and overall vitality. Moreover, prioritizing energy efficiency not only reduces utility costs but also minimizes carbon emissions, contributing to a cleaner, greener planet. By fostering clean air and energy-efficient practices within homes, individuals experience a profound enhancement in their health and happiness. Breathing clean air promotes better sleep, boosts cognitive function, and reduces the risk of respiratory illnesses, ultimately fostering a sense of well-being.

April 5, 2024

Making Your Kitchen the Star of Your Home’s High Performance

The season of frenzied cooking and colossal meals is fast approaching - can your kitchen keep up? High performance home design considers the efficiency and functionality of every detail, including the layout and outfitting of the rooms we use most. A well-designed kitchen improves not only the aesthetics of the space, but also its comfort and usability. To everyone who has ever dealt with a sink too small to wash pans in, or had to banish a partner from the room so there would be enough space to open the oven door; we see you, and would never do you dirty like that.

March 6, 2024

The Top 3 Financial Incentives For You to Build Green Now

For many homeowners, the decision whether to build a high-performance home is a financial one. If you have to make the decision between installing solar panels or getting a few more of the amenities on your wish list, it can be a difficult choice to make. However, if you look at your home as the long-term investment that it is, building green just makes sense.

August 25, 2023

Is Your Backyard Ready? Prepare Your Property for an ADU

If you’ve been following our blog and newsletters for a while, you’re probably fairly familiar with the concept of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). So, let’s say you’re interested in the potential they could bring to your property. What happens next? To help simplify your fact-finding process we’ve put together a few key things to have in place to prepare for the addition of an ADU.

June 3, 2022

What's a Green Home Worth? Financing a BrightBuilt Home, Part III

You have your team together, and now it’s time to go to bat. So it’s important to know the rules of the game. This boils down to one document: the appraisal. In evaluating a green home, the appraisal process aims to acknowledge the long-term value of your home. When the value is appropriately recognized by the appraiser, lenders will grant a higher sum to finance a green home’s construction, acknowledging that the long-term safety net of predictable (or no) monthly costs is far superior to that of the average home. Assigning value, though, is complicated by the fact that not all high-performance homes are equal and that few of them exist for setting the standards in this data-driven numbers game.

December 30, 2020

What's In A Number? Part III: The "Extras"

Today we complete our 3-part series on building costs – what to expect, and what to include, as you weigh what you want to build and what your budget should be – and whether those numbers from other vendors are truly apples-to-apples. If you’ve been following along with our last few blog posts (or newsletters), you’ve glimpsed some clues to what’s hidden in the costs behind door number 1 (site) and door number 2 (house) already. To close out the series, we will explore what hides behind door number 3: the costs of those seemingly elusive “extras”…

July 31, 2020

What's In A Number? Part I: Site Costs

Today we launch a 3-part series on building costs* – what to expect, and what to include, as you weigh what you want to build and what your budget should be – and whether those numbers from other vendors are truly apples-to-apples. Without a doubt, one of the hardest questions to answer in the architecture and construction world is: “How much will it cost?” Invariably, and with good reason, the answer is: “It depends!”

July 3, 2020

What's In a Number? Part II: The House

Today we continue our 3-part series on building costs – what to expect, and what to include, as you weigh what you want to build and what your budget should be – and whether those numbers from other vendors are truly apples-to-apples. While we explored the mysteries of site costs in our last newsletter (and on our blog, read it here), this time we're diving into the good stuff: the house itself.

June 17, 2020

5 Questions to Ask when selecting a builder for your high-performance Home

Building a new home is a big deal, and when you make such a major investment, you want to feel confident that the people performing the work are doing it right. As with any other types of products or services, builder quality can vary significantly, especially if you are building a high-performance home. How do you know if you’re choosing the right builder for your new home? Ask these important questions.

May 22, 2020

From the Ground Up. Excited Homeowners Reflect on The Design Process and Look Forward to Moving In.

Our latest Little Diamond is coming together nicely, getting some final finishing touches (by the team at Island Carpentry) as it gets comfortable on its new site on the Kennebec River. The homeowners, Mike and Pattee, have been so excited to see their dream come together, so we asked if they might answer some questions, and share some reflections on their process to date (and perhaps a dose or two of that contagious, much-needed-right-now enthusiasm!).

May 8, 2020

Clients and Project Coordinator look back on what makes for a great project

1.) Do you remember the moment that you decided you wanted a BrightBuilt home? What lead you to that decision? J&L: Joe knew early on that looking at energy efficient/green technologies in our next home was the way to go. Our millennial kids where pushing us to shrink our carbon footprint at the same time that we were looking to downsize. Every thing came together when we met with J.

March 27, 2020

Ask BrightBuilt

This week's question was fielded by our founder, principal, and architect extraordinaire, Phil Kaplan... "I sell new construction, and am seeing homes that are steeply increasing in price due to rising costs in materials. Since BrightBuilt is made in a controlled environment, does this help offset some of these increases?" -B. Morrison, New Hampshire

February 1, 2019

Searching for the Right Site? Class is in Session!

How to choose a site for your high-performance home: 101 Welcome to your first day at BrightBuilt Academy! We’re so glad you are here learning with us. Today’s lesson is going to be about how to choose a new site for your BrightBuilt home.

Ask BrightBuilt

Do you have one level houses? - Janis G.Thank you for this great question, Janis! We do indeed have 3 designs that are specifically one level, and another 4 that are primarily geared toward single-level living, with ground floor master suites. Some examples of these designs are shown in the images above, and to learn more about each of them, you may see more images and download plans via the links below.

Looking to Build? The time is now!

The number of building permits issued post-recession has grown steadily nationwide, according to a recent article in Maine Biz. It’s not often that retirees and Millennials necessarily find themselves on common ground, but these two groups are working together to drive this trend. What does this mean for you, a forward-thinking person wanting to build a net-zero home? Open your planner, your smart phone calendar, or just grab a sharpie and write “START PLANNING OUR NEW HOME NOW!”

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.

Materials Matter: 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!

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.

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.

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:

How to Know if your In-Law Flat is a Go: Deciphering your town’s zoning laws for accessory dwelling units

Ever since we came out with the In-Law Flat and Guesthouse, a number of our respective Mother-In-Laws have been dropping hints that they’d love to set one up in our (respective) backyards. It’s a compelling idea for a lot of reasons, and some of us do have some space on our lots for potential expansion, but questions abound. Do the lots suffice for an accessory structure? Does the town permit ADUs, and under what conditions? Are cookies and free childcare implied in the arrangement?

Six tips when considering a HELOC for Home Renovations [or an In-Law Flat!]

Homeowners looking to undertake home renovations [or built a new In-Law Flat and Guesthouse] can often use a home equity line of credit or HELOC to finance their projects. Here are six quick tips on how to shop for and manage a HELOC.

SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON FINANCING YOUR AWESOME NEW IN-LAW FLAT

You may have cash in hand, or you may be going to your local lender, but in either case, it's wise to know some options for how one can come to own his or her own BrightBuilt Home In-Law Flat and Guesthouse. We’ve been talking to local banks, and have honed in on 3 of the most straightforward ways to add this tidy little living space to your property.

How A Green Home Reduces Monthly Costs

Many people depend on having predictable monthly expenses as part of a household budget. The more you can decrease those expenses, the more money you’ll have to save, invest, and enjoy. Many people also make the assumption that a green home costs more, but the truth is, building a new green home can actually help you reduce your monthly expenses.

How A Green Home Keeps You Warm In Winter

No matter how charming or attractive a home is, if it doesn’t feel warm in winter, it’s not doing its job. If you have to wear extra layers inside or can’t read a book in the window seat because the draft is too cold, you’re not receiving the full benefits of your home.