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, March 12, 2012

Yestermorrow at NESEA

Last week, several interns and Executive Director Kate Stephenson represented Yestermorrow at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's annual conference in Boston. Among the high-performance building and renewable energy presentations and workshops were two presentations co-led by Kate, and several others led by Yestermorrow instructors and friends.

On Wednesday, Kate and instructor Bill Reed presented "Whole Systems in Practice, in Place: Where Do You Fit In?" Focusing on Yestermorrow's ongoing master planning process, they discussed integrating design processes, and the importance of shifting attention from technical to living systems and from the project to the place and the living systems that sustain it.

On Thursday, Kate and instructors Ace McArleton and Jacob Deva Racusin presented "Energy Performance of Natural Building," examining the building science behind modern straw bale, timber frame, and plaster construction. Using case studies of single-family residences in the Northeast, they presented the findings of thermodynamic and hydrodynamic research, and how natural building techniques fit into a high-performance building portfolio.

We also set up a booth in the trade show, where we talked with a steady stream of builders, architects, energy scientists and developers--including former and upcoming students who stopped by to say hello. Yestermorrow was one of only two schools represented on the trade show floor, and our shave horse and various wooden furniture definitely stood out in an exhibit hall predominantly filled with renewable energy systems and building component manufacturers. But the biggest conversation-starter of all was our willow-ribbed canoe, which helped demonstrate Yestermorrow's focus on experiential learning (and even generated some raffle ticket sales!).

Katrin Klingenberg and the Passive House Tour at the Yestermorrow booth.
One of the biggest themes of the conference was the popularity of the Passive House, both in presentations and on the trade show floor. We were thrilled to see several students from January's Passive House Consultant Training staffing the (very busy) Passive House New England booth next to ours. And Yestermorrow got in on the Passive House excitement when instructor Katrin Klinenberg brought a crowd to our booth as the conclusion of her tour of Passive-House related exhibitors.

Between the four of us who attended NESEA, we must have had several hundred conversations about the Yestermorrow experience, various courses offered, and the school's integrated design/build approach to a problem-solving for a future with limited resources. Even more than these casual conversations, however, the Yestermorrow-affiliated presentations generated excitement about the school's mission and teaching work. May that excitement continue!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the informative recap.