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.

Monday, October 25, 2010

DIY Alternative Hot Water System

Our first-ever DIY Alternative Hot Water System class was a success, building a "Jean Pain Mound" in nearby Fayston out of woodchips which will passively heat domestic hot water for a family for the next 18-24 months.

The French farmer/inventor Jean Pain became famous for his innovative ideas about the interrelationship between agriculture and energy production. One of his concepts, the Pain Mound, focused on the use of woody biomass as an effective compost material while collecting heat from the composting process.

This prototype mound will produce 110-degree water at a constant rate of ½-gallon per minute, by flowing well water through the coil built into the mound of composting wood-chips and mulch. This temperature-gain and flow-rate represents enough btu-value to heat a typical 1000-square foot home with a radiant floor heating system.

Participants built the mound (with assistance from a small excavator) by spreading 8 inch-thick layers of mulch over water-line coils and thoroughly soaking each layer with water. Students also learned about the history of Jean Pain via excerpts from his writings and a documentary film.

For more information about this system, please visit which includes links to the documentary film and other resources.

Here's the class on top of the completed mound.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rumford Masonry Fireplace Design/Build Video

This video montage follows the one-week Rumford Masonry Fireplace Design/Build course at Yestermorrow in October 2010. The class worked together to build a Rumford style fireplace for a homeowner in Waitsfield, Vermont during this five-day class focused on teaching homeowners with no prior masonry experience how to create their own fireplace.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yestermorrow Shortlisted to Receive First BrightBuilt Retrofit

Exciting news-- we’ve advanced to the final round of the BrightBuilt Retrofit selection process, which will award a New England non-profit organization with a deep-energy retrofit valued at more than $100,000. The final four organizations now advance to the next phase, where the public has an opportunity to vote online for their favorite project. Yestermorrow is thrilled to be on the ballot and encourages supporters to cast their vote at before the November 2nd deadline.

“This project is extremely important in demonstrating how we can turn older homes into efficient, healthy and beautiful buildings that save money for homeowners and reduce their energy needs into the future. Yestermorrow’s retrofit of our intern housing will include hands-on courses to teach a new generation of architects and builders the skills they need to tackle our existing building stock” said Kate Stephenson, Executive Director.

If selected for the BrightBuilt Retrofit, Yestermorrow will receive the following:

* $10,000 cash award toward the project cost
* $90,000 interest free-loan toward the project cost
* Discounted design services
* Access to an award-winning team of experts
* A reduced carbon footprint and lower energy bills
* More comfortable, livable, beautiful space

Bringing to light the affordability and accessibility of deep energy retrofits, the goal of the BrightBuilt Retrofit award is to complete an energy-conserving building renovation for a deserving New England non-profit organization.

How You Can Help

This next round opens it up to you, the public, inviting you to show your support by casting an online vote. While your vote makes a big difference, it can be done in as little as three clicks:

1. Click through to

2. Click next to Yestermorrow, selecting it

3. Click on the “Vote” button

With just with a few simple clicks, you help support our efforts to receive the BrightBuilt Retrofit Award, a deep-energy retrofit estimated to be valued at more than $100,000! (Voting runs October 13th through November 2nd).

Learn more about Yestermorrow's proposal to retrofit its intern housing (the "Chalet") on our website at:

Cast your vote at and share this link with others before the polls close on November 2nd. The organization with the most votes wins the BrightBuilt People’s Choice Award, valued at $1,000. So, please show your support and vote TODAY!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goodbye and Hello!

We had a great gathering last week to send off our departing interns Mary Kate, Julie and Alex as well as welcome our new interns Jacob and Megan.
Here's a shot of the whole crew...

From left to right: Lylee, Julie, Tonia, Megan, Annie, Mary Kate, Alex and Jacob

THANKS EVERYONE for all the hard work you do!

Passive House Workshop Comes to Vermont

The Yestermorrow Design/Build School is excited to announce a new workshop – Introduction to Passive House - coming up November 13-14th at the school’s campus in Waitsfield, Vermont. Led by Marc Rosenbaum of Energysmiths, a certified Passive House Consultant and award-winning sustainable design consultant, this workshop will provide an overview of the Passive House building standard.

Passive House is a German approach to building design and construction that has resulted in some of the lowest energy use buildings in the world. Buildings need to meet strict criteria of energy usage, including total primary energy, and must be tested to be extremely airtight. In climates similar to Germany, all the heating energy is delivered by the fresh air ventilation system. In this course we'll look at the principles behind the Passive House, present the Passive House Planning Package analysis tool, and look at some examples of construction details and finished buildings. The course will be given at a relaxed pace that allows plenty of time for discussion - this is not a substitute for the nine day Passive House Consultant training.

Tuition is $300 (plus 15% off for Vermont residents) and the course runs 9:00am to 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Space is limited to 20 participants. To register for this workshop, call Yestermorrow at 802-496-5545 or register online.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Meet Lisa, Megan and Jacob!

We're excited to welcome three new staff to Yestermorrow this month.

Lisa Barnes joins us as a Kitchen Assistant. Lisa is a certified natural chef, trained in therapeutic cooking through Bauman College. She brings a passion for healthy cooking into the kitchen along with a repertoire of home grown recipes and knowledge of the nutrition behind them. She truly believes that a healthy body is a happy one.

Jacob Mushlin is one of our new Design/Build Interns. Jacob grew up in Hartland, VT where much of his childhood was spent building dams in streams and making awesome things out of cardboard. He studied architecture, design and studio art at various schools and has spent most of his professional life working for educational institutions and in carpentry. He brings with him a banjo, a road bike, and a clandestine interest in knitting.

Megan McNally is also one of our new Design/Build Interns. In 2008, Megan embarked on a self directed crash course in home repair by buying a fixer-upper in the annual tax foreclosure auction in her hometown of Buffalo, NY. Upon graduating with her undergrad degree in Environmental Policy this past May, Megan has pursued additional education in alternative methods of construction by working on various jobsites across the country. As well as taking classes and doing general intern stuff like shoveling snow, Megan hopes to learn guitar, read lots and lots and lots of books, and be master of snow football during her time at Yestermorrow.

Meet the rest of our staff and intern crew on our website at:

Monday, October 04, 2010

BuildingGreen Suite™ special deal

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!

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.

BuildingGreen Suite™ online membership keeps you abreast of developments and trends in the green building field. BuildingGreen Suite™ will help you become a leader in the field by providing you access to the following:

  • 2,000+ GreenSpec® product listings—updated weekly
  • The latest news in green building
  • In-depth sustainable design strategies
  • 275+ case studies of high-performance buildings
  • Hundreds of practice-oriented articles
  • Continuing education hours & learning events.
  • 70% off a print subscription to Environmental Building News

BuildingGreen Suite subscribers can also access the EBN print resources at a substantial discount.


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.

If you're interested please email me so I can get your name on the list, and send a check made out to Yestermorrow to Monica's attention, or call with a credit card number. This is a limited time offer- after November 1st we will likely not be putting together another bulk subscription this year.

If you need me to send you an official invoice for your office record-keeping purposes, just let me know.

Please get in touch if you have any questions,

Monica DiGiovanni
Student Services Coordinator