Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

GI Bill Benefits Good for Certificate Program

Yestermorrow is thrilled to announce that veterans of the U.S. military are now eligible to use their GI Bill benefits for coursework. The Vermont State Approving Agency has approved Yestermorrow’s Certificate in Sustainable Building and Design and Natural Building Certificate for the education and training of eligible military personnel, veterans and their dependents. For more information, please visit or call 888-442-4551 to find out how to enroll in the program.

Building Green Suite offer

We are excited once again to offer a special opportunity to friends of Yestermorrow -- discounted annual subscriptions to the BuildingGreen Suite for only $50! The normal retail price for this subscription is $199.00 and this offer is available only through a special bulk buy program if together we have more than 25 subscriptions. This program is not limited specifically to Yestermorrow so if you have friends or colleagues that you think would be interested as well, please spread the word!

The BuildingGreen Suite ( of online tools gives you the best information on green design in a subscription-based Web site format. This online resource features comprehensive, practical information on a wide range of topics related to sustainable building--from energy efficiency and recycled-content materials to land-use planning and indoor air quality.The BuildingGreen Suite integrates online versions of GreenSpec, Environmental Building News, and a database of more than 100 high-performance building case studies. This wealth of information is searchable and cross-referenced by CSI MasterFormat division, LEEDT credit, or green topic. Each article, product listing, and case study also lists related content and information sources.BuildingGreen Suite subscribers can also access the Environmental Building News (EBN) print resources at a substantial discount.

HOW TO SIGN UP:Once we have your money in hand ($50 per person) we will get a list of activation codes which we will distribute to everyone who is taking advantage of this great Yestermorrow/EBN offer and you'll be able to choose your own user name and password. If you have a current Building Green subscription, and want to use this offer to renew/extend your subscription, that's fine too. Contact to sign up. This is a limited time offer- after the December 1st we will likely not be putting together another bulk subscription this year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Upcoming Winter Term Classes

Turn the lull of winter vacation into a valuable learning opportunity with one of our upcoming Winter Term courses--a great educational experience in the context of a tropical paradise or a winter wonderland! It's you're pick, as we are continuing to offer our popular courses Design/Build in the Dominican Republic, Natural Design/Build, and Raising the Bar on Sustainable Design.

Deadline for enrollment to the Dominican Republic is fast approaching and we have just a few spots left. Please help spread the word!

Design/Build in the Dominican Republic

This 18-day design/build adventure will focus on building a unique community project in a rural part of the Dominican Republic. This year’s class will take place on the edge of Los Haitises National Park. Students will create a new pedestrian entrance to the park that will ultimately be utilized by the people of the local village of Gonzalo as a meeting site for eco-tourism expeditions into the Park. The class begins with a group design process culminating in a single design emanating from the collective ideas of the participants. The remainder of the course is an intensive sprint to build what has been designed, utilizing local, environmentally appropriate materials, while allowing the design and building processes to continually inform one another. This class will take place in a remote context; with rustic lodging, limited or no electricity, lots of nature, and tons of hard work. It will be the experience of a lifetime, providing an immersion into a unique Afro-Caribbean island culture, while fostering community development through hands-on action that meets the needs and furthers the goals of a grass roots organization. Tuition includes travel within the Dominican Republic, camping facilities in wall tents, and all meals.

View a slideshow from the 2008 class:

View a slideshow from the 2007 class:

Natural Design/Build

This course provides students with a comprehensive exploration of all facets of creating an energy efficient, climate-specific natural structure. In this two-week intensive, we will engage in studio sessions, hands-on construction experience, lectures, slide shows, and site tours. In the studio, students will develop a comprehensive design of a project through the creation of drawings of elevations, sections, plans, and scale models. In the shop, students will build a variety of insulative wall systems, examining critical details such as doors and windows, wall to roof connections, air sealing, framing options, plastering, and much more. Topics include straw bale construction, fiber-clay infill and other natural wall systems, clay and lime plasters, natural roof options, alternative foundations, water and energy conservation systems, permaculture and building-site relationships, and social and cultural contexts. Emphasis will be paid to designing and detailing for success in cold, wet climates. Beginner to Intermediate.

Raising the Bar on Sustainable Design: Designing for Beauty and Sustainability

This intensive course guides students through the process of designing their homes and landscapes to be harmonious, efficient and resilient. In the face of a changing climate and economy, we have the ability to shape our lives in a way that provides the comforts we want along with the food, water and energy security that we need. This course will help each student to develop beautiful and affordable plans for localized sustainability.

We will review historical and contemporary design solutions and technologies in order to help each student find their threshold for design response. We’ll focus on integrated-design: how to create multiple benefits with single expenditures. How can the landscape provide perennial food and regulate temperature? How much energy and money can you save with extra insulation and high-performance windows? What techniques can you use to improve comfort and dramatically reduce resource consumption?

This class will build on Yestermorrow's time tested model of Design/Build to focus participants on designing custom projects that demonstrate advanced performance. The class will be split between lecture and application, with many of Yestermorrow's preeminent instructors adding their expertise. Students will leave the course understanding best-practices for sustainable design and plans for the project of their dreams. Beginner to Intermediate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Requesting Submissions for "30th Anniversary" Logo

In 2010 we will be able to add to our list of accomplishments thirty years of inspiring people through hands-on education in building and design. Thus, in effort to celebrate our coming of age we are now soliciting design submissions for our 30th Anniversary logo. The prize for a selected design, aside from the glory, is a free one-week Yestermorrow class! The guidelines for entries are as follows:

-Your design should be inspired by Yestermorrow and incorporate some mention of the 30th Anniversary. Additionally it should take the opportunity to riff on, adjust, or completely rethink the logo, suggesting a coming of age.

-Your design should be printable on t-shirt (one-sided). It should be monochromatic or two-tone. And be universally attractive, something that everyone non-Yestermorrow folk would want to wear.

-It would be great if your submission is in some Adobe format (like Photoshop, Illustrator, or PDF). Submissions should be no larger than 5mb. If selected we will contact you for a higher resolution copy.

-Your design should be completely original.

Have fun, and we look froward to seeing your entries. Deadline for submission to is (extended to January 31st, 2009).

(We can send you an Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop t-shirt template to get you started and/or our style guide)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Thinking About Energy

This week has brought a flurry of thought to Yestermorrow about energy. On Tuesday I attended the monthly meeting of the LocalVolts- the energy subcommittee of the Valley Futures Network. One of the volunteers unveiled the Mad River Valley Energy Wiki- an amazingly information-filled resource about energy-related projects happening around here. There are folks looking at biomass- how much wood could we sustainably harvest from within the valley, and how would we distribute it; others are looking at energy conservation and weatherization; still more are interested in barn-raising type events to help homeowners install solar hot water and photovoltaics. Pretty neat!

On Thursday I was lucky enough to tag along with the Farm Design class for the morning on a field trip to see Gaelan and Jasna Brown's experimental woodchip water heater affectionately nicknamed "the brown mound". Based on what's called the "Jean Pain Method" they have created a large packed pile of wet woodchips with a coil of 1" water pipe in the middle which preheats the water coming out of their well before it goes into their hot water heater. So far he's been getting water out at 120 degrees F. In addition to domestic hot water, they're hoping eventually they could use it for space heating as well. Gaelan has been blogging and documenting the whole process in order to help spread the word about this fascinating low-tech system- check it out!

Back at Yestermorrow everyone was buzzing over lunch about how we might get involved here at the school. One possibility is to run a workshop with Gaelan next summer and create a woodchip pile for the Chalet's hot water. While the current focus on campus is getting our solar hot water system and PV array installed this winter, we also started talking about how we could transition to solid fuels for heating our main building (right now we have high efficiency propane boilers). That's a bigger project, obviously, but one worth starting to think about as we plan our campus expansion. On November 23rd from 7-9 pm we'll host a free Button Up Vermont workshop for the local community to learn about energy conservation and money saving techniques to weatherize your home. The interns have been tackling the Chalet (certainly a weatherization challenge) and already it's more comfortable and better equipped for the dropping temperatures to come, and we've started replacing our 30-year old donated refrigerators with new Energy Star rated models, amongst other energy efficiency improvements.