Category: Energy Efficiency

Byggmeister’s 2024 Charitable Giving: Supporting Mission-Aligned Organizations That Make a Difference

Harvard Square Homeless Shelter build

by Rachel White When Byggmeister transitioned to worker-ownership, we committed to donate 5-10% of our annual net profit to organizations that focus on climate change, affordable housing, workforce development in design and construction, and justice and equity. A charitable giving  committee selects recipients from proposals submitted by employees. In 2024, we donated a total of… Read more »

The Goldilocks Approach to Residential Retrofits

by Brendan Kavanagh Rachel and I were honored to give the Day 2 keynote at NESEA Building Energy Boston conference this past March. In our presentation, Why We Stopped Doing Deep Energy Retrofits, we shared the story of how and why Byggmeister has shifted away from super-insulating homes to lighter envelope improvements coupled with a greater… Read more »

Our Evolving Approach to Energy Retrofits

by Rachel White This post was originally published in April/May 2023 issue of Fine Home Building under the title “The End of Deep Energy Retrofits.” We decided to post it to our blog with a new title (as well as a few minor edits) following feedback that the original title misrepresented our nuanced approach to… Read more »

Finished Attics: A Lower-Carbon and Lower-Cost Retrofit Approach

by Brendan Kavanagh When Boston area homeowners need more space, often the first place they look is up. The problem is that many attic conversions, even those done relatively recently, have little to no air sealing, poorly installed insulation, and ineffective roof venting. The result is finished space that can be hard to heat, cool,… Read more »

Energy Efficiency and Home Health: What’s the Connection?

protocols for home energy upgrades

by Rachel White It may seem counterintuitive, but energy efficiency and home health are intimately connected. Let’s start with some basic building science: a house (or any building) is a system. What this means is that each subsystem in your house-from ductwork to windows, from foundations to bath fans-exists in a complex and dynamic interrelationship… Read more »

Operating At Net Zero Energy

net zero by Paul Eldrenkamp and Rachel White A few months ago we completed a deep energy retrofit of a house that we hope will be net-zero energy—in other words, that we hope will produce as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis. If we succeed this will be our first net zero project. There... Read more »

Sustainability, Scandinavian Style

Scandinavian apartment building by Paul Eldrenkamp This past October I was in Sweden and Denmark with four colleagues from the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA). We were on a study tour of sustainable design and green building practices in Scandinavia, a trip inspired by a similar tour we did of Upper Austria and Saxony four years ago. My traveling... Read more »

Preparing a Historic Home for the Next 100 Years

historic home

by Paul Eldrenkamp We’re passionate about fixing older homes. Most if not all of our projects could be summed up as follows: we adapted a dated, inefficient, and dysfunctional, but otherwise solidly-built home to meet the needs of its 21st century occupants. But what does it mean to prepare a house for the 21st century?… Read more »