Efficiency workforce charts a path toward “No Emissions” in buildings

South Burlington, VT

Annual Better Building by Design conference celebrated Best of the Best and connected industry experts

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – Over 800 building and efficiency experts are coming together this week for the region’s premier sustainable building conference. Efficiency Vermont hosted the 25th annual Better Building by Design conference, gathering the industry to learn, network, and celebrate around the theme of “Mission to No Emissions: Connect, Create, Innovate.”

In his opening remarks, Efficiency Vermont Managing Director, Peter Walke noted the conference’s small but important name change, from Better Buildings by Design to Better Building by Design. “This conference isn’t just about buildings… it’s about building better from the ground up. We have the people – and the ideas – in this room to unlock this future. A future where efficient design looks and feels quite different than it did in the past. A future where we build in harmony with the world around us, and where what we build doesn’t cause further harm.”

A keynote address from USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director, Sarah Waring set the tone for the conference. Waring challenged attendees to think about their work through the lens of complex system change and getting beyond the noise of day-to-day challenges. “We face an incredibly intimidating challenge in addressing the impacts of—and preparing for—climate change and striving for decarbonization.

Walke called for attendees to focus on how to extend the benefits of energy efficiency to the broadest possible audience. “How can we ensure that new technology can reach every home and business? How can we help the most people feel the benefits of efficiency? We have an imperative to answer these questions quickly. If we don’t answer these questions – if we don’t build in equity today – we will leave people behind.”

Over the two-day conference, attendees will hone their skills in technical workshops, shared ideas about overcoming workforce development challenges, and work together to address diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges across the industry.

Conference highlights include:

  • Discussions on how to consider diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring practices and workplace settings, and address issues as they arise.
  • Sessions on adapting and maximizing energy efficiency practices in unique settings including cannabis cultivation, historic buildings, multifamily homes, and affordable housing.
  • Technical trainings on evolving technology and services including heat pumps, weatherization, energy modeling, and low-carbon building materials.

Efficiency Vermont also celebrated companies and individuals leading the way on efficient buildings with the Best of the Best Awards. Each of these projects demonstrates a comprehensive approach to energy efficiency that benefits building occupants, reduces operating costs, and avoids greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2023 Best Of The Best Awardees are:


Residential New Construction – Best of the Best Award

Project: Ridge Road

Company/Owner: Christopher & Amy Carey

Location: Cornwall, VT

Partners: Sheehan Construction, Vermont Integrated Architecture

Residential New Construction – Affordability Award

Project: Stonewood Farms

Company/Owner: Peter Stone

Location: Orwell, VT

Partners: Pill-Maharam Architects, Tru Engineering, Harvestar

Residential New Construction – Healthy Homes Award

Project: Morningside Drive

Company: Turnkey Builders

Location: Charlotte, VT

Partners: Will Bown – Designer

Commercial Building Design & Construction – CEA Cannabis Cultivation Facility

Building: Clean Cannabis Cultivation Facility

Owner/Entrant: The Clean Cannabis Company

Location: Hardwick, VT

Commercial Building Design & Construction – Small New Construction

Building: Upper Valley Community Transit Center

Owner: Tri Valley Transit

Entrant: Black River Design, Architects

Location: Bradford, VT

Commercial Building Design & Construction – Large New Construction

Building: South Burlington City Hall, Library & Senior Center

Owner: City of South Burlington

Entrant: Wiemann Lamphere Architects

Location: South Burlington, VT

Commercial Building Design & Construction – Small Renovation

Building: Springfield Food Co-op

Owner/Entrant: Springfield Food Co-op

Location: Springfield, VT

Efficiency Excellence Network – Partner of the Year

Company: Vermont Foam Insulation

Contact: Will Reed

Location: Chester, VT 

Efficiency Excellence Network – Leadership Award

Company: Al Jeffers & Sons

Contact: Tim Jeffers

Location: Townshend, 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 www.efficiencyvermont.com.

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