Geothermal beats gas prices

August 31st, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

Geothermal Heat Pumps still remain an efficient and cost effective way to heat and cool your house.

The basic idea is to exchange heat with the earth itself! How does it work?

Fluid filled tubing is buried in the earth, which remains at about 55 degrees year-round. If this 55 degrees is transfered to your house, those 55 degrees are free! To raise the temperature, the heat pump moves heat out of the tubing’s fluid and into your house (like an air-conditioner moves heat out of your house). Cooling is accomplished in reverse. The earth’s temperature remains constant within a degree or so, so the system remains efficient in either mode.

So, fuel is unnecessary, except for the electricity to run the pump and fans.

To learn more and get a higher-tech explanation, see the GeoExchange Consortium’s website. (Thanks Marlene!)

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New line of bathroom fixtures

August 31st, 2005 by Mary Schmelzer

Montaggio Showroom
Montaggio is unveiling the new LULU series of bathroom fixtures on September 9th at their Minneapolis showroom. These are great looking fixtures; we can help make your bathroom one-of-a-kind!

Posted in All Entries, Materials, Products + Finishes Comments Off on New line of bathroom fixtures

Multi-Media Visualization Tools

August 30th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

Medin0401 Farm Sketch

To keep our process direct and to help visualize design possibilities, we use various tools. In this case, a rough computer model provided the background for a quick sketch. Upon the client’s approval, we completed the model for a more realistic, viewable-from-all-angles presentation.

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Northfield Professional Resource Exchange

August 25th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

VIVUS has joined the Northfield Professional Resource Exchange!

NPRE is an alliance of business people interested in providing exceptional service to our clients. The group works together to help develop best practices for business and to broaden our collective understanding of the professional capacity of Northfield. Both equate to a heightened ability to refer clients’ needs to trusted resources, helping you get the help you need and helping us help you.

If you would like to learn more about the Resource Exchange, we welcome your call!

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New house looking good!

August 17th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

Today I visited David and Laurie Hougen-Eitzman’s Big Wood Farm, where construction of their new house is well underway and looking good.

Duden-Vikken Construction is doing a great job of building the house.

Energy efficiency was designed in from the start. The walls are structural insulated panels, and the windows are triple glazed on the north. The main floor features a Tulikivi wood stove, reknowned for efficient combustion and high thermal mass.

The house is designed to be heated all year with 3 cords of firewood and the south sun. Following the principles of “The Not-so-big House”, we worked with David and Laurie to design a house that would fit their needs and budget, without a lot of extra space.

Kudos to Laurie and David for building according to their values of sustainability, conservation, and energy efficiency!

More photos to come as the interior is finished!

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Architecturally Integrated Solar Heating

August 16th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

The Sun
When you think of solar heat, do you think of unattractive rectangular panel bolted clumsily to a south-facing roof? Dawn Solar Systems recently caught my eye, because, ironically, they can’t be seen!

This clever system is installed below a metal roof, so you can’t tell it is there. The sun heats the metal roof, which in turn heats fluid-filled tubes below the roof. These tubes transfer the heat to your domestic water system or radiant floors. Honestly, the system looks much like a radiant floor system applied to the roof.

Clever idea, that looks and functions well!

Posted in Sustainability Comments Off on Architecturally Integrated Solar Heating

Low Interest Loans to Fix-up your Home!

August 11th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

VIVUS Architecture + Design can help you design your next home improvement to tailor your house to your lifestyle. Funding for the work can come from a variety of sources. Thanks to Travis Nettum (507-645-4418) of Premier Bank Minnesota for telling us about this possible source:

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency works with local lenders to provide low-interest loans for modest ($35,ooo or less) Home Improvements, Energy Efficiency Upgrades, and Accessibility Upgrades.
The loans are below-market fixed-interest rate loans, with no downpayment or early-payoff penalty. There are some requirements for the loans about which Travis will be able to tell you more.

Who knows, these loans may be the right way to make your home improvement idea fit your budget!

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