Energy & Efficiency

Why Build Now 

With all the dire headlines and uncertainty relating to interest rates, inflation and energy costs, why would anyone start planning to build a new home now? As builders of high performance homes, we at Unity have been pondering that question. We’ve come up with a few reasons why now is as good a time as any to plan for your new home.  […]

Unity Homes and Passive House

Ten years ago, the average home buyer or builder probably hadn’t heard of the Passive House standard – and they certainly couldn’t describe it. But during the past decade, this standard has gone from being an “extreme” on the fringes of homebuilding, to being commonly discussed – and increasingly achieved – in the world of high-performance homes.  

Although Unity doesn’t build Passive House certified homes, our approach is very similar, and the performance of our homes typically matches that of Passive Houses in certain key aspects. […]

A Healthier Way to Cook

If you’ve looked into buying a new cooking stove recently, you’ve probably come across options with induction cooktops. They’ve been popular in Europe and Asia for years, but have only recently begun to gain a foothold in the US. At Unity, we recommend induction ranges to all our clients, because of the benefits they provide for cooking, for indoor air quality and for the planet.  […]

Build More Walls – that Store Carbon!

In combating climate change, reducing carbon emissions from building operations is critical, because they represent such a large percentage of global CO2 emissions. […]

Wood Stoves In High Performance Homes

Yes, it’s the holiday season, and you’d have to be a Grinch not to like the idea of cozying up to a fireplace or woodstove with a cup of hot chocolate while snow drifts outside. More than a few prospective Unity clients have this image in mind when they come to us. We try to let them down easy! Fireplaces simply don’t make sense in a high performance home, and woodstoves have their own particular set of considerations. […]

Going Electric

No, we’re not referring to Bob Dylan’s iconic “electric” concert at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, when he first performed live with an electric guitar. That performance was reportedly greeted with boos from folk music fans in the audience. When Unity (or other home builders, for that matter) “go electric,” we think the move is worthy of cheers. […]

Indoor Air Quality: Breathing Easy in a Unity Home

A Whole-house Approach We rarely hear anyone these days arguing for drafty construction because “buildings have to breathe.” Building scientists have known for decades that […]

Looking to the Future at NESEA’s “Building Energy” Conference

Tedd Benson’s presentation at NESEA’s Building Energy Conference . “Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around—we can still fix […]

Built-in Comfort

We love this house because it’s so comfortable. Sandy and Mark, Unity homeowners in Guilford, VT Why is it that for many Unity homeowners, “comfortable” […]

Warm Homes for Cold Days

Here in New England, we’ve recently had several spells of brutally cold weather, and there’s more to come. The high temperature forecast for this Saturday […]

Building Tight and Breathing Easy with Blower Doors

At Unity we have strong tradition of education and training, because our work requires that we stay current with the latest tools, materials and systems […]

The Right Prescription: Connecting Health and High Performance in Homes

Several months ago we received the following comment from Unity clients in Connecticut who had been living in their new home for about two years: […]

Triple-Glazed Windows: Why They’re a Good Investment

When it comes to energy efficiency, triple-glazed windows clearly make a difference. But are they worth the investment? Every homebuilding project and each homeowner has their priorities, […]

Energy Ratings and Alphabet Soup: HERS, LEED, ZERH and more

Many programs have been established to measure the energy efficiency and environmental impact of new buildings. The plethora of options can make it difficult even for those […]

New Xyla exceeds Passive House Air-Tightness Standard

We recently did a blower door test on a Xyla in northern New Hampshire to measure its air tightness—i.e., how “leaky” it was. The result was .38ACH@50 pa, which […]

Living Green: Should I Build New, or Retrofit an Existing Home?

At some point in the decision to buy a home, there comes a critical calculation: Do I build a new house on my own land, […]