US Green Building Council Membership

April 27th, 2010 by Peter Schmelzer

VIVUS Architecture + Design has renewed its membership in the US Green Building Council as an indicator of our interest in , expertise regarding, and support of the sustainable building movement in the United States.

Ask us how we can help you measure how sustainable your project can be!

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Quote: Helen Keller

April 23rd, 2010 by Peter Schmelzer

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
– Helen Keller

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Architect/User Preference Difference?

April 23rd, 2010 by Peter Schmelzer

Just read a research summary from the University of Minnesota’s InformeDesign that discussed the apparent difference in aesthetic preferences between architects and building users. To cut to the quick:

Based on the report, building design that would satisfy both architects and building users would include:

  • pitched roof
  • traditional wall materials
  • strong architectural character
  • I invite you to check out our portfolio; you’ll find that our projects appeal to both the users and the architect!

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    See us at the Northfield Home Expo on Saturday

    April 7th, 2010 by Mary Schmelzer

    This Saturday, April 10, is the Northfield Home Expo, the local show of home, garden and Northfield area life. There promises to be a great selection of goods and services for everything you may need, including some items you didn’t know were available in Northfield.

    We’ll be drawing for two hours of free design service–architectural or interior design–so be sure to stop by, say hello and enter your name for a chance to win. If you’ve worked with us in the past, you know we can provide many ideas and much information in two hours. Plus, we have many new completed projects to show you that might spark some new ideas for you and your home.

    The Expo is at Bridgewater School (click here for directions) and is FREE! The hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with plenty of parking on the south side.

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    Passive House in North America

    April 6th, 2010 by Peter Schmelzer

    I’ve been reading about and researching the Passive House standard lately, and came across a good article on the topic through

    Passive House was launched from Germany under one basic premise: Invest in the building’s envelope to save energy. Through an air-tight, highly insulated building shell, heat transfer is dramatically reduced, requiring less energy to heat and cool the space. Ideally, the envelope’s high performance would offset the need for a large central heating/cooling appliance and that savings would offset the higher cost of increase wall thickness, added insulation, and imported windows and doors. Cooling would be provided through ventilation and supplemental heat could be added to the incoming fresh air when needed. It is a compelling argument for low-energy homes.

    One question in my mind is about our severely cold winters in Minnesota. Is it cost effective to avoid a heat plant? There are decreasing returns on efficiency with extreme insulation and with the continuous use of fresh air for ventilation, outside temperature has a larger impact. How does an architect strike a balance and still meet the criteria?

    The article suggests that Germany and Minnesota are not equal and may require different standards, whether the Passive House Institute agrees or not. In the end, the goal is low energy, sustainable housing. Passive House is a leader in promoting low-energy homes, but the jury is still out for it’s widespread use in Minnesota.

    We look forward to our first chance to embrace and test the Passive House standard.

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