Construction Design

Our overall goal is to design our homes in the most cost effective way to build truly affordable housing that is easy for volunteers to build, affordable and easy for homeowners to maintain, attractive, that fits well in the neighborhood, and is a model design for basic housing in our community.  We strive to find the ideal balance between initial construction cost, and affordability for the long-term. 

Construction Basics - Our first concern is site safety.  Second, our homes are designed, to be affordable for the long and short-term.  Our homes are designed so they can be built well by volunteers.  This Fine Home building website contains excellent information.

We have included some links to excellent HOW TO articles that cover everything from site safety to basics of roof work, framing, nailing, siding, painting, and drywall.  These articles are good resources for volunteers and for future reference when you need to do work around your own home.

Install drywall             Interior painting                       Interior painting tips                 

Site safety                   Table saw basics                    Nailing basics

Asphalt roofing          Asphalt roofing layout           Safety on a roof     

Rules for framing       Layout for walls   

Tiling a bathroom      Grouting tile                             Installing a toilet

Installing cabinets     Installing pre-hung doors    Installing baseboard          Installing vinyl siding

Insulated Concrete Forms

Design Team- Larry Kolloff, designed the home we built on Silver Street in Bennington, that we built on Furnace Brook Road in Shaftsbury and a home that we built on Jennifer Lane in Manchester.    Cliff Beebe designed the homes we built in North Bennington, Rupert, and West Rupert.   Greg Boshart designed three homes for Jennifer Lane in Manchester, Ramsay Gourd and Bill Badger designed two homes we built on Jennifer Lane.  John LaVecchia and builder, Russ VanVleck, designed the home in which Russ and his family live on Jennifer Lane in Manchester.

We work closely with an excellent design team.   The goal is to design a home that works for the family and that serves as a model for all construction in our community.  The Design Team developed four designs for Jennifer Lane in Manchester with the goal of determining the most cost effective way to build truly affordable housing that is attractive, that fits well in the Jennifer Lane development, and is a model design for other basic housing in our community.

Our design team includes

  • Thomas and Jamie Hand of Hand Energy Services
  • Bill Badger of Badger & Associates
  • Alan Benoit, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Greg Boshart of New Leaf Architects
  • Ramsay Gourd, Ramsay Gourd Architects
  • Larry Kolloff
  • Cliff Beebe
  • John LaVecchia, Building Designer, r.k Miles

Our homes are designed to

  • be affordable to build and easy
    • for volunteers to construct
    • for new homeowners to maintain
  • utilize energy efficient and environmentally responsible  materials.  The home pictured below was built on Silver Street in Bennington in 2010. and now houses a family of six.  We received a 5+ rating from Efficiency Vermont on that home and the first two that we built on Jennifer Lane.  Click to see the Home Energy Rating Certificate.

reed-house-elevCharacteristics of our homes are

Size -The living space provided—excluding stairwells (except to a basement) and exterior storage—should not exceed:

• 900 square feet - two-bedroom house
• 1,070 square feet - three-bedroom house
• 1,230 square feet - four-bedroom house

  • The basic house will have only one bathroom and is accessible to persons with disabilities.  Three-bedroom houses may have an additional half bath. Houses with four bedrooms, or five or more people, may have an additional full bathroom.
  • A budget is established with a predetermined limit (e.g., $1,000) to allow the family to personalize their home with such features as appliances, fencing, shed, etc.

Solar Design

Passive Solar - Whenever possible, we design our homes to take advantage of passive solar benefits.  Often, setback requirement do not have much flexibility with how we site our homes. 

9-19-09-solar-panels2Solar Hot Water Heat - we worked with Jim and Karen Lee of Solar Pro to install solar hot water heat in the North Bennington home.  We are completing a cost benefit analysis to see if it makes sense to continue to install solar hot water heat in the future. Such decisions take into account the initial outlay of cash and the payback benefit to the homeowner.  As our mission is to help many families, we cannot spend too much money on any one home.    Narrative description --- Specs --- Brochure


These slides show the specific dimensions of the home we built on Silver Street in Bennington. The home was designed by Larry Kolloff. board member and chair of the Building Committee.  The area of the First Floor is 720 square feet and the second floor is 600 square feet.   The attic space is 600 square feet and the attic over the first floor bedroom is 120 square feet.  This is one of four designs that we plan to use on the Jennifer Lane project.  It can be easily modified to be a three or four bedroom home.  Go to the Photo Gallery and view the Silver Street page to see how this home turned out. 

On October 1, 2011 Jim Hand, Paul Myers, Greg Boshart, John La Vecchia, and Dick Malley visited three homes that were built in Charlotte, Vermont by the Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity Affiliate.  This slide show focuses on some of the prominent features we observed. 

Click to read a summary of some of what we learned.

Are you interested in learning how to save energy on your home or place of work?  If so, Click to go to Energy.Gov. This site will give you everything you need to know about home energy audits, including what energy auditors look for and the special tools they use to determine where a home is wasting energy. 

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