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, February 25, 2010

Shed Nation- Coming to a Bookstore Near You

Yestermorrow's own Dan Eckstein, Curriculum Director, has recently edited a book entitled "Shed Nation: Design, Build & Customize a Shed for Your Yard". The book includes plans and photos from past Popular Mechanics magazine articles as well as a couple of Yestermorrow projects, including a garden shed and the garden folly. We just saw the first copy but it should hit bookstores nationwide in May 2010, so keep an eye out for it. We'll also be selling it here at the Yestermorrow bookshop. Congratulations Dan!

Winter Wonderland

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wondering how to help in Haiti?

Many people have been how they can help in Haiti. Haiti will need a lot of help in the rebuilding process, and there are many organizations looking for skilled people to lend their expertise. Thanks to SEI for providing this list:

Natural Building Network is helping to coordinate skilled natural builders with relief organizations. NBN does not directly manage such efforts, but help coordinate skilled people with relief organizations such as Builders Without Borders, Engineers Without Borders , Groundswell International, Permaculture Haiti and the Permaculture Relief Corps. Interested in getting involved? Email NBN director of events Max V. Jensen at If you have natural building or permaculture expertise and would like to donate phone or email consultation time to organizations supporting rebuilding efforts in Haiti and elsewhere please click here. If you have a high need project that could use this list please contact us at

Colorado Haiti Project is looking for structural engineers.

There is also a one-day workshop on Rebuilding Sustainable Communities in Haiti after the January 12 Earthquake being held on April 9, 2010 in Boston. Contact The Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters (CRSCAD.

Last Chance for Scooter Raffle Tickets


Innovative Homes of the Mad River Valley TourPurchase your raffle tickets for a chance to win a 2008 YAMAHA VINO 125 SPORT

The specs:
· Up to 96 miles per gallon (EPA rating)
· 124 cc 4 Stroke Engine, 1.2 gallon tank
· Great for commuters, students or professionals

Tickets are $10.00 each or 6 for $50.00
Purchase your raffle tickets online through our secure donation site. Be sure to specify "scooter raffle" in the memo line and include all of your contact information so we can get in touch if you are the WINNER! Winner will be drawn March 6, 2010.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Sign Design Competition

We need a new sign!

Yestermorrow is announcing a design competition for a new sign for our driveway entry. Our existing sign has seen many good years, but is starting to deteriorate and we are looking for a new look!

The winning design will be constructed in summer 2010.

What we’re looking for:
  • Visibility and legibility – for cars driving by at 50 mph, visible day and night
  • Beauty – exemplifying Yestermorrow’s unique design aesthetic
  • Durability – low maintenance
  • And a good first impression for the school
Winning designs must include the words "Yestermorrow Design/Build School", the e-911 address "7869", a plan for placement of our mailbox, and incorporate lighting.

The details for permitting by the town of Waitsfield:

  • Total square footage not greater than 16 s.f.
  • Supports cannot add more than 2’ to the width or height
  • Not taller than 15’ high
  • Not less than 15’ from the edge of the road (*unless existing foundation is used and sign is only being “replaced”)
  • Must not obstruct the view of cars entering or exiting the driveway
  • Lighting must be downlit, shielded and directed onto the surface of the sign with no glare. No neon or flashing lights. (Assumption is that lighting will be solar powered, so any associated components must be included in the design)
Budget: $1500 (including solar lighting, assuming some volunteer labor)

To submit a design for the competition:

Deadline: April 1, 2010
Submit documents via email to:

Submittal must include dimensioned sketch of sign, site plan showing relationship to Rte 100 and driveway, materials list and rough budget estimate.

The winning design will be submitted for permitting by the Town of Waitsfield and constructed over the summer of 2010 to celebrate Yestermorrow’s 30th anniversary! The winner will receive a gift certificate for a 1-week Yestermorrow class valued at $750 AND the great feeling you’ll get every time you drive by and see that awesome new sign!

A view of our current sign:

Join us at NESEA's Building Energy 10 Conference

Free for all friends of Yestermorrow- a day pass to the trade show at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's annual Building Energy conference coming up March 9-11, 2010 in Boston, MA. We'll be hanging out at Booth #1052 with our friends from Stone Soup Concrete. Hope to see you there!

To get your free pass, register online before March 5 at noon.
Here’s how:
Go to and click on “Conference Registration.”
When prompted, enter the promo code GUEST_PASS_TS
Finish the registration and receive an email confirmation. Print your confirmation and bring it to our registration lobby at the Seaport World Trade Center on Thursday, March 11. Enjoy the show!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February E-Newsletter

Our February e-newsletter is now online.
This month's features include:
  • 30th Anniversary
  • Yestermorrow Goes Solar
  • Woodshop Improvements
  • Thank You Forbo
  • Featured Class: Renovation
  • UVM Summer Courses
  • Connect With Yestermorrow
Check it out!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Alumni Featured in Deep Energy Retrofit Case Study

This great case study features two Yestermorrow alumni in a Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources- RESIDENTIAL CASE STUDY
(online at Deep Energy Retrofit, Westborough, Mass. with photos)

The deep energy retrofit of a house in Westborough stands out as an example of how an owner’s individual motivation and the historic nature of a building can shape and challenge an extensive retrofit. Owner Caroline Fisher, a designer, did not pursue the home’s retrofit so she could benefit from the anticipated energy savings. Rather, she was motivated by her belief in the social value and marketability of an energy-efficient home. Fisher noticed that certain homes within the community frequently changed ownership. This led her to think about the features that make some homes more comfortable to live in than others, which led her to classes in super-insulation at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. There she learned that an energy-efficient home not only saves energy, but also creates a home that is comfortable, quiet, and healthy — a wonderful home to live in. Fisher’s Westborough house is an early 19th century Greek Revival antique. This made it a challenging project that required innovative and creative construction techniques. However, Jay Hartnett, the builder for the retrofit, did not have experience in energy retrofits and needed to be convinced of the value of super-insulation. On Fisher’s recommendation, Hartnett took a class at Yestermorrow, where he learned about the inefficiencies of standard insulation, as well as the money-saving benefits of closed-cell foam. Super-insulating the antique home was not an easy task due to the construction history of the house. Harnett installed two layers of rigid foam insulation to the back half of the house. On the front half, he added extra space to the wall cavity and blew in cellulose insulation. He then had to reframe the windows and doors to accommodate the additional insulation. Last, he attached the clapboard siding. Despite the complexity, Harnett has been eager to work on another super-insulation retrofit ever since he finished the project. The project was completed in the summer of 2009. Fisher has put the newly retro-fitted house on the market. She hopes a new owner will soon enjoy the comfort and benefits that this energy-efficient home offers.


WALLS: R-40 rigid foam & blown-in cellulose insulation
ATTIC: R-60 insulation (28’’ R-100 in gables)
BASEMENT CEILING: Soy foam insulation
WINDOWS: Pella triple-pane, U-0.26
HEATING & COOLING:Heat-recovery ventilation system for forced hot-air distribution system
LIGHTING: Compact fluorescent
APPLIANCES: ENERGY STAR refrigerator & dishwasher

Friday, February 12, 2010

groSolar and Yestermorrow Partner to Provide Solar Seminars

Yestermorrow Design/Build School and groSolar are pleased to announce a new partnership to educate Vermont property owners about solar power systems. groSolar recently installed a solar hot water system (SHW) on the campus headquarters, as part of Yestermorrow’s campus master plan to implement and promote renewable energy systems and transition from fossil fuel use. The educational partnership is now part of Yestermorrow’s educational mission to demystify sustainable design and renewable energy.

Beginning in March 2010, Yestermorrow will host free “Solar Made Simple” educational seminars for the general public, to be held on the first Thursday of every month at the school’s Waitsfield campus on Route 100. The seminars, led by groSolar representatives, will provide an overview of solar power, including a review of Yestermorrow’s solar system and tips on how state grants and federal tax credits can help pay for a system. The seminars will also cover guidelines for assessing whether a home or business is right for solar, along with a preview of the long-term savings in utility costs property owners can expect from solar.

Upcoming seminars will be held from 6:00-7:00pm on March 4, April 8, May 6 and continuing throughout the year on the first Thursday of each month.

Interested homeowners are encouraged to bring a copy of recent utility bills as well as photographs of their properties if interested in discussing solar in more detail with groSolar representatives.

“groSolar treats most of our marketing outreach as education, so this is a great partnership,” said Gaelan Brown, Vice President of Marketing for groSolar. “groSolar is a big supporter of Yestermorrow’s mission, and we’re thrilled to help bring solar power to their operations and community outreach.”

groSolar recently completed the installation of a solar hot water system at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School’s campus. The system provides hot water for use in the kitchen, showers, and sinks for the School, which hosts over 1,000 students each year from around the country. The system is designed to provide an average of 150 gallons per day of hot water, with a storage capacity of 240 gallons. The panels are estimated to produce 100,000 BTUs per day, saving more than 400 gallons of propane per year and reducing Yestermorrow’s fossil fuel use by approximately ten percent.

”Yestermorrow is pleased to have this opportunity to partner with groSolar to help people understand their energy options in solar power. Solar systems are a clean, sustainable energy solution to reduce fossil fuel use, and an investment in solar is one of the wisest energy decisions people can make for the long term,” said Kate Stephenson, Yestermorrow’s Executive Director. “Domestic hot water is the second highest energy cost in a typical household. A solar hot water system can provide enough energy to meet 70% of a home’s annual hot water needs, even in cold climates.”

Yestermorrow’s solar hot water system was funded in part by a Vermont Community Climate Change grant.

The Yestermorrow campus is open to visitors seven days a week and free tours of the solar hot water system are available with advance reservation (call 802-496-5545).

Friday, February 05, 2010

Many Thanks to Forbo!

We'd like to offer our sincere thanks to Forbo for their donation of Marmoleum flooring for our new kitchen floor. We chose Marmoleum for our kitchen floor because it is one of the few flooring materials available today which is 100% all-natural, meaning that all its ingredients are derived from natural raw materials. Ingredients include: linseed oil, rosin, wood flour, cork flour, limestone, pigments, and jute.

Here are a few shots of the new floor (and our happy staff and interns!)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

30th Anniversary Logo Competition Winner

Yestermorrow is excited to announce the winner of our 30th Anniversary logo competition. Peter M. James of Silver Spring, Maryland was the designer of the winning entry. Peter is a graduate of the 2008 Community Design/Build class and is an architecture student at the University of Maryland. Peter will receive a free one-week Yestermorrow class in recognition of his efforts. We received a dozen very creative entries and want to thank everyone who submitted a design. The winning design will be printed on our 2010 t-shirts and used in other 30th anniversary materials.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Concrete Decor features Fabric Forming Instructors

This month's issue of Concrete Decor magazine includes a feature article on the topic of Fabric Forming, with references to Yestermorrow instructors Sandy Lawton and Kyle Bergman. The story also includes images of the class project from the 2008 Dominican Republic Design/Build project which also featured the use of fabric forming. This innovative construction technique is taught in very few schools, and Yestermorrow is excited to be one of the locations of a week-long course and a demonstration project. Started in the summer of 2009 and scheduled to be completed by courses over the next two years, Yestermorrow's concrete cabin will provide housing for students as well as a demonstration of the technology and its diverse applications in walls, beams and roof panels.

Yestermorrow's 2010 class "Innovations in Fabric Forming with Concrete" will be held June 27 through July 2nd. Tuition for the course is $750.

You can read the whole article online at:

YM alum featured in Yale Daily News

Yestermorrow Home Design/Build alum Elizabeth Turnbull's "tiny house" project was featured in this week's Yale Daily News: