Better Buildings by Design conference expands workforce skills, promotes energy affordability

Burlington, VT

Nearly 1,000 building trade professionals gathered Feb. 5-6 for Efficiency Vermont’s annual Better Buildings by Design conference to celebrate the best in energy efficient design and construction, make new professional connections, and learn about cutting-edge technologies and practices.

With more than 40 workshops during the two-day conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Burlington, building professionals from across Vermont earned continuing education credits from numerous trade organizations, helping to broaden their skills and expertise to better serve Vermont customers. 

This year’s conference theme was “Affordable Energy.” During her opening remarks, Efficiency Vermont Director Rebecca Foster thanked attendees for their partnership in helping Vermonters use less energy to save money, especially through weatherization.

“We know that nearly every home in the state stands to benefit from weatherization, and yet the upfront cost of weatherization can feel out of reach for many Vermont families,” said Foster. “With authorization from the Legislature, Efficiency Vermont increased our investment in weatherization and saw hundreds of additional Vermont families taking on projects in 2019. This successful acceleration could not have happened without the building professionals at this conference, and our partners around the state.”

Keynote speakers Chris Magwood of the Endeavour Centre in Peterborough, Ontario, and Jacob Racusin and Ace McArleton of New Frameworks in Burlington, Vermont challenged conference goers to consider the carbon-storing potential of the buildings they design and construct. By carefully selecting materials and preparing building sites, buildings can be transformed from being one of leading emitters of carbon to “carbon sinks” that help reduce atmospheric carbon. In line with the conference theme, the presenters demonstrated the affordability of using sustainable materials and practices to protect the climate.

Best of the Best 2020 Awards
Outstanding projects and building professionals throughout Vermont were also recognized at the conference through the Best of the Best 2020 awards ceremony. (Photos of award recipients are available to media upon request):

Projects awards

Large Commercial Honor Award
o Firm: Vermont Integrated Architecture, Middlebury, VT
o Project: Pierson Library & Historic Town Hall, Shelburne, VT

Small Commercial Honor Award
o Firm: Wiemann Lamphere Architects, Colchester, VT
o Project: Worthen Library, South Hero, VT

People’s Choice – Commercial Building Design & Construction (chosen by conference attendees)
o Firm: Vermont Integrated Architecture, Middlebury, VT
o Project: Pierson Library & Historic Town Hall, Shelburne, VT

Residential New Construction Affordability Award
o Firm: George White & Company, Tunbridge, VT
o Project: Private residence, Strafford, VT

Residential New Construction Innovation Award
o Firm: Vermod Homes, Wilder, VT
o Project: Private residence, Wilder, VT

Residential New Construction Overall Best of the Best Award
o Firm: Montpelier Construction, Montpelier, VT
o Project: Private residence, Craftsbury, VT

Efficiency Excellence Network Member Awards

Leadership Award
o Bill Chidsey of Solar Harvester, Newport, VT

Partner of the Year
o Jacob and Jessica Robichaud of Analyzing Energy, Mount Holly, VT

About Efficiency Vermont

As the nation’s first Energy Efficiency Utility, Efficiency Vermont has helped Vermont avoid over 13.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence award for the last eight consecutive years. Efficiency Vermont works with partners to help our state transition to more affordable, low carbon energy use through education, incentives, and support for our clean energy workforce. Learn more at

Efficiency Vermont Press Contact
Matthew Smith
Phone: (802) 540-7662
[email protected]