### Black River Design Architects,Across Vermont, architects, builders and contractors are working to create more energy-efficient businesses and homes. Efficiency Vermont is proud to recognize a select number of those projects with its annual ‘Best of the Best’ Awards. Black River Design Architects of Montpelier won this year’s Best of the Best in Vermont ENERGY STAR Homes Award for a Single Family Detached Home between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, located in South Hero. The firm was also honored with a Merit Award for its work for the Washington Central Supervisory Union, located in Montpelier. Black River Design Architects’ winning home features thoughtful design and attention to air sealing details, which resulted in an impressive air exchange rate which exceeds the Passive House air-tightness requirement. Other features include high-efficiency insulation as well as energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Black River Design Architects’ winning commercial building for the Washington Central Supervisory Union features passive solar heating, daylighting, high efficiency light fixtures with occupancy sensors and timers as well as efficient exterior insulation and air tight construction. Energy efficient HVAC features include high efficiency heating, a geothermal heat pump, and heat recovery ventilation.Estimated electrical savings for Washington Central Supervisory Union are 30,000kWh per year, which translates to an estimated cost savings of approximately $3,720 per year. ‘Best of the Best’ AwardsAll of the award recipients were recognized at Efficiency Vermont’s Better Buildings by Design 2011 conference this month. The conference focused on energy-efficient building design, construction, and renovation, and was attended by more than 1,000 professionals. The work of Vermont builders and contractors was considered in three areas of energy efficiency: commercial new construction and major renovation, residential new construction and residential renovation. The ‘Best of the Best in Vermont ENERGY STAR® Homes’ honors exceptional achievement in new homes receiving ENERGY STAR qualification. The ‘Best of the Best in Commercial Building Design & Construction’ recognizes innovative and integrated design approaches for energy efficiency in Vermont’s commercial, institutional, industrial, and multifamily buildings. ENERGY STAR qualified homes achieve energy savings through established, reliable building technologies. Builders select from a number of energy-efficient features when planning and building homes, including effective insulation, high-performance windows, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and lighting and appliances. The work displayed by all of the ‘Best of the Best’ winners shows that Vermonters can save energy and money while also creating comfortable spaces for homeowners, businesses and schools for the long-term. For more information and a complete listing of all award winners, please visit http://efficiencyvermont.com/pages/Business/BuildingEfficiently/BetterBu…(link is external) About Black River DesignBlack River Design is twenty-four architects, designers and administrators working together to offer a full range of building design, interior design, historic preservation and planning services. We have been serving communities throughout Vermont and New England with award winning designs from our downtown Montpelier office for nearly 30 years. For more information, please visit http://www.blackriverdesign.com/(link is external) About Efficiency VermontEfficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Public Service Board to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont’s environment. Efficiency Vermont is currently operated by Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), an independent organization under contract to the Vermont Public Service Board. VEIC is a Vermont-based nonprofit organization founded in 1986. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com(link is external).