We are in the habit of hosting Open Wall Open House tours of our new Net Zero homes and Deep Energy Retrofits of existing homes while the framing is open so folks can see and we can explain just what makes these homes so different, and why that matters. These are attended by folks who are fascinated with what we are building and eager to learn more about how its done and they all leave exclaiming, “every home should be built this way!”

We had the opportunity to host a dozen students from Vinal Tech High School in Middletown on a tour just for them and their interest in learning about how and why we design and build high performance homes. It was fun to share what we are doing with these students, especially after doing a presentation in which we explained just what makes this home so different than the homes of the past, how we bake in comfort, health, durability and of course the remarkable energy performance and why that all matters. 

It was great to experience them becoming animated about  the house as they wandered around asking questions after the presentation. As they head out into their new careers, we hope they’ll be inspired to create homes like this. We need them to know this is possible.

I asked Vinal Tech Program Director Tony Adamczyk about the students and the program and he explained that for the past several years, the students have been involved in Architectural Construction Engineering (ACE) Mentoring. The program connects students with professionals from all fields related to the Building trades. Our Work Based Learning program allows qualified juniors and seniors to spend time during the school day working in their chosen Trade. The Trade students attending the Open House included:


Mechanical Design students have expressed a desire to attend and some are employed and/or interested in an architectural career path. WBL placements include Architectural and Interior Design firms, and some of my graduates are studying and/or working in Construction Management, Interior Design, Civil Engineering, and Architecture.


In addition to their WBL placements with area contractors, Carpentry students perform outside “production” work – home additions, garages, etc. Their interest would likely be the innovative construction methods utilized in your homes as well as the particular millwork challenges.


Also working through WBL for contractors and on “production” doing renovations and new construction. I envision our Electrical students handily and eagerly participating in a discussion of the energy system of the house.


The only sophomores of the group, they have not yet begun WBL or Production in their shop. Due to their aptitude and interest thus far however, they were selected by their Department Head to join us.