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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer is a busy time at Yestermorrow

Here are just a few shots from the past few weeks at Yestermorrow. We've been super busy with the all-time record number of students on campus this month- over 45 at one point! Our Natural Building Intensive is in full swing and has now transitioned to working on the jobsite in Middlesex everyday, and will continue through mid August. Our gardens are looking great, and the new stormwater pond has been seeded and things are starting to look better on the north edge of campus where we have been doing a lot of clearing and excavation over the past year. The next step is to build Cabin #5 which is high on our project list this summer. We also have a new mini yurt on campus thanks to the Yurt Design/Build class, and a new planting of fruit trees thanks to the Edible Forest Gardens class. All in all our fabulous intern crew has been hard at work with many new and ongoing maintenance projects and priorities, keeping the place running day to day.
The Natural Building Intensive's timberframe raising went off without a hitch on the 19th.

The new perennial beds we planted on May 15th at the reunion are really taking off! Lots of bees and insects enjoying the flowers.

The new pond and cabin site in the background (you can see the Strawbale cabin for a little reference on location- this is near the north edge of campus). Interns have been doing lots of seeding and mulching to reduce erosion.

Fabric formed concrete project in action 6/29

The solar trackers are really raking in the sunshine on days like today

The Willow-Ribbed Canoe class (a Yestermorrow first!)

We invited the interns over from the Center for Whole Communities for a little inter-intern bonding. Then our interns got to go up to Knoll Farm to check out their operations.

The Cabinets and Built-Ins class finished up their project last Friday

Yes, it looks like a bunch of zombies but really it's the Regenerative Design class in the midst of a tracking and observation exercise.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Yestermorrow Named As Finalist in Revelation to Action Competition

Dear Friends,

We’ve just received exciting news! Yestermorrow is a finalist in the Revelation to Action competition, sponsored by Green Mountain Coffee and Ashoka's Changemakers. The contest was launched “to find and help fund the most innovative ideas to inspire community action in the Northeastern US” – and our proposal for a groundbreaking Semester in Sustainable Design/Build has been selected by a panel of judges for the final phase of public voting. Now we need your support to go all the way.

You can help make this pioneering new program a reality by voting for our proposal at The voting period starts June 9 and ends on June 30. We’re spreading the word via the Yestermorrow blog, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and email, and we need your help to do the same, in order to get as many votes as we can in the next three weeks.

What’s our idea?
Yestermorrow's new Semester in Sustainable Design/Build will be the first program of its kind in the country, giving undergraduate students a chance to immerse themselves in the hands-on process of collaboratively designing and building an innovative, high performance “green” building for a deserving community client. Students from a variety of disciplines and majors will work closely with Yestermorrow's renowned design/build faculty and Vermont community partners, and engage with an academically rigorous, practical and inspiring curriculum. In the process they will receive a full semester's worth of credits at their home institution. The program is currently in the planning stages, and slated for its inaugural session in fall 2011.

Who is it for?
The program will be open to undergraduates of any major, provided they have taken certain prerequisites. The “clients” will include Vermont nonprofit organizations and community members, who will become partners in the collaborative process of identifying a pressing local need and then creating an innovative built environment to address it. Yestermorrow will design and administer the program in close consultation with faculty from a credit-granting partner institution of higher education.

Why is this worth supporting?
Few undergraduate architecture programs provide students with intensive hands-on “learning through building” opportunities. And fewer still offer such an experience through the increasingly urgent lens of sustainability - in terms of energy, water, materials, interaction with site, and equitable access (among many other considerations). Students in this program will emerge empowered, with new skills and awareness about sustainable building methods. They’ll also have a wider sense of the possibilities of the design profession, acquired through the process of designing and building truly collaborative projects, which provide affordable housing or workspace for community members or organizations.

How will it achieve “scale”?
Picture a group of committed, creative and highly motivated students working under the close tutelage of a master craftsperson and experienced designers, putting theory into practice, engaging in practical problem-solving, learning key skills and concepts while doing something of concrete benefit to the communities of central and northern Vermont - and then returning to their home institution energized and imagining a whole array of new possibilities for their own and others’ education. Semester Program graduates will become the next generation of designers and builders leading and redefining the green building movement. After completing the program, we expect them to return to their home universities armed with an in-depth understanding of ecological design and the hands-on building skills necessary to both inform and realize their design process. We anticipate a ripple effect, first in their university programs, and then in their initial work environment (whatever the field), as their fresh outlook on the principles and practice of sustainable design/build impacts fellow students and colleagues.

What’s at stake?
If we can garner enough votes – from YOU and your friends – then we’ll receive $5,000 to support the ongoing development of this groundbreaking new program, which is Yestermorrow’s biggest initiative in 2010. The grant will support the further development of curriculum and partnerships for the program. In the long run, it will help us eventually reach a whole new segment of learners and institutions, helping to spread our design/build philosophy and sustainable design expertise in countless new directions.

The bottom line? No one has done this kind of program before, the need has never been greater, and Yestermorrow is uniquely positioned to make it happen. Help us make this vision a reality – vote today!

Thanks for your support,
Kate Stephenson
Executive Director

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

R-Value? U-Value? What does it all mean?

Do you think you have super-insulation figured out? Please mark your calendars and join us for a

Super-Insulation Symposium:
A Lively Discussion on the Best Methods to Reduce Energy Consumption in Vermont

Wednesday, June 23, 7:00 pm at Yestermorrow

Led by moderator Alex Wilson, with a roundtable of Vermont super-insulation experts (including Andy Shapiro, Ben Graham, John Unger Murphy and others) we will hash out the details and best practices of one of the most important elements of any "green" building in Vermont. It is time to make sure we are advancing the state of super-insulation in the state that needs it most. How much? What kind? What about window edges? Under the slab? Hot roofs or tight conditioned spaces? Are you counting your thermal bridges? What’s your whole wall U value? What’s it cost? How much wood do you burn? Passive House? Building America? In an informal atmosphere, we will see a series of projects and systems that will spark lively debate and support the development of Vermont’s approach to climate change, atmospheric pollution, peak oil, wars for oil, and the rising cost of heating fuel – or just a common sense approach to building here in the Northeast. Bring your thinking cap and an open mind.

Moderator: Alex Wilson has been for more than 30 years the most trusted voice on energy efficiency and environmentally responsible design and construction. Since launching Environmental Building News (EBN) in 1992, he's built a reputation, resources, and staff to provide the foundation for BuildingGreen, an information company that produces GreenSpec,, and LEEDuser, as well as providing consulting for a variety of companies for whom sustainable design is a core value. He is executive editor of EBN and GreenSpec, and his Energy Solutions and Cool Product of the Week blogs are widely read.

This event is part of our Summer Lecture Series, every Wednesday from June 16-August 18.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Welding class project for Small Step Farm

From our friends across the street at Small Step Farm:
"To help us water in all the field transplants (our soil = sand) we now have a 110 gallon water tank for the tractor! No more hand watering! Just a quick pass with the 'ol Oliver! Thank you Yestermorrow! Yestermorrow Design/Build School is located just across the street from Small Step Farm. This past weekend they held a welding class and one of the instructors happened to be Benjamin Cheney, a builder/welder/and more who Zach has collaborated with on past projects. The welding class consisted two full days. Saturday learning the basics, and Sunday constructing a steel frame for our water tank! In addition, they also built us a toolbar which will now cultivate the walkways, hill potatoes and leeks and allow lots of other mechanical experimentation (down with the hoes!) "

Learn more about the farm on their blog at: