Gov. Shumlin: Vermont Poised To Lead the Nation

By Dick Nelson

"I believe that what you're conferring about today is the solution to our economic troubles," Gov. Peter Shumlin told architects, engineers, and other building professionals gathered at Shelburne Farms earlier this summer for a symposium on sustainable design, energy, and growth.

"These are not 'Gucci' issues anymore," said Shumlin. "They are very real. We have an opportunity to make Vermont an example of how to get it right. I believe we will. I believe we must."
The day-long symposium was presented jointly by AIA-VT and CSI-VT. The venue, the renovated Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms, is part of an ongoing makeover of the historic site that will also ultimately include the 20,000 sq. ft. Horse Barn. Based on a design by SAS Architects, that building will add 12,000 new sq. ft. and serve as an international center for conferences aimed at preserving the world's resources. The combined structure is expected to achieve a Platinum LEED rating.
Outside, on the day of the conference, waves crashed against retaining walls, as Lake Champlain continued well above flood stage.
In his introduction, AIA-VT President Harry Hunt noted that Shumlin "is the only governor in America who mentioned climate change in his campaign, and the only governor who mentioned climate change in his inaugural address." And Shumlin continued this theme in his opening remarks.
"When I turned on my radio this morning, this is what I heard. There's concern about a double dip recession.  A tornado dropped down in Springfield. Not Springfield, Missouri, Springfield Massachusetts. In Shaftsbury, they got one-and-a-half-inch hail. The temperature dropped 30 degrees in one hour. The Lowell wind project was approved, but opponents want to kill it."
All these issues are interrelated, Shumlin said.
"Here's our challenge: We live in an era where we can't move fast enough (to achieve sustainability). If we take climate change as reality and face it—grow our own food locally, focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy, plan downtowns so we can walk to work—then we won't have these problems."
He said Lake Champlain and Vermont's many rivers and lakes, and its relatively rainy climate, may sometimes seem like a curse, but it can also be a blessing.
"We need to think about where we build our wastewater treatment plants, where we put our septic systems.  The Johnson and Montpelier plants have been underwater and that waste will end up in Lake Champlain." He said housing and urban growth need to be targeted outside flood areas. He also said that this same abundance of water can be used to Vermont's advantage.
"I believe our best agricultural days are not behind us, but ahead of us. We need to grow local. There are 80 million people within 200 miles of Vermont. We can get a piece of the economic prosperity that's going to come when we rethink these things. In the Midwest, the Food Belt is going to dry up. We're going to have the water here in Vermont, so we're going to have a bright agricultural future."
The state's focus on alternative energy sources and energy efficiency are vital to future prosperity, he continued.
"If we can get our energy plan right, we win and the other 49 states are going to be wishing they did what we did.”
Vermont must stress "smart growth," attract development to urban areas, and give careful attention to how its communities integrate homes, open spaces and transportation, he said. The state's design community must also "decide how our buildings can retain our ties to the past while still being relevant for today."
"This conference is very important,” Shumlin concluded. “I don't care so much how many credits you earn for being here. I care if you get this one right."

Dick Nelson is an affiliate member of AIAVT and the publisher of Vermont Builder/Architect.

Back to Newsletter


10/20   VT/NH Meeting— Dartmouth College

12/8     Annual Excellence in Design Awards—at Country Club of Vermont , Waterbury

Excellence in Design Awards Show Moves to Brattleboro

Despite Hurricane Irene’s recent devastation in Brattleboro, the Hooker Dunham Theatre and Gallery remained unscathed—thankfully—and a design team was able to hang the AIA-VT Design Excellence Awards Show there as scheduled.  The show remains up through September. For more information, visit

Thanks to Adam Lemire, Linesync Architects, Wilmington for leading the effort to set up the show.

Next stop (and last) stop: October, Tip Top Media & Arts Center, White River Junction. This year’s show is made possible, in part, by Gold Sponsor A.W. Hastings, distributor of Marvin Windows throughout the northeast and Silver Sponsor, Carroll Concrete, distributor of Nurdura Concrete for Vermont and New Hampshire.

Thanks to Our Symposium Supporters

Best Tile
Loewen Window Center
National Fiber
Pella Windows & Doors
Vermont Insulated Concrete Forms
Benjamin Moore Paints
Efficiency Vermont
Engineering Ventures
Housewright Construction
Marvin Windows & Doors


ABS DoorAmerica
All Seasons Urethane Foam
ATAS International
Carroll Concrete
Gordon's Window Décor
Green Mountain Window
Patcraft Carpet
Rulon Company
Sherwin Williams
Sto Corp
Terraclime Geothermal
Vermont Eco Floors
Vermont Verde Antique LLC
Warmboard Inc.

New Affiliate Members

Aspen Construction Services builds legacy, energy efficient and green homes as well as small commercial projects throughout New England and the state of New York. Aspen is a construction management company with a client-focused approach that results in cost-effective projects that exceed expectations. Contact: Linda LaCroix, linda@,, 802-379-7256 

Black Dog Holdings—Mary Lintermann, P.E., is no longer with DEW Construction and is currently focused on personal design/development/consulting projects through Black Dog Holdings, one of the companies that she owns.  Mary is eventually seeking a new venture.  Contact: Mary Lintermann, mlintermann@, 802-881-5473

Charron Incorporated is a multi-faceted lighting agency that has been serving Northern New England since 1960. The company offers design services and many lines of lighting in the architectural specialties, Tre Ci Luce is renowned for its essential and clever design, and great attention to detail and global quality, with special emphasis dedicated to the application of newly evolving technologies toward the requirements of lighting professionals. asymmetric lighting, commercial downlighting, and commercial fluorescent categories. Contact: Bill Curley, bcurley@,, 802-734-0254

Goodro Lumber—Contact:     Tim Comes, timc@, 802-388-4915

Focusing on energy efficiency for over 25 years, and working closely with architects and designers, Gordon's Window Decor manufactures sells and installs custom window treatments in the greater New England market. For a free consultation contact: Bob Maurer, bobm@,, 802-338-9388

Hole in One Display creates physical terrain models for architectural design and presentation out of solid pieces of foam using CNC technology. Contact: Peter Katz, pedrokatz@,, 802-730-4272

National Fiber, Belchertown, Mass. makes Cel-Pak cellulose insulation. The product substantially reduces heating and cooling costs, preserves the environment and enhances the value of designs. Contact: William Sovie, bills@, , 414-531-2248

VT Insulated Concrete Forms has been specializing in ICF construction for 15-plus years. VTICF’s mission is to help the architectural and construction communities meet the heightened expectations of customers, be they commercial, residential, or institutional. VTICF distributes the Amvic family of products, among the industry’s leading products, in Vt. and N.H. Contact: Joel Baker, vticf@,,, 1-866-VTFORMS (883-6767)

The aiaVT newsletter is published by AIA Vermont, the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Executive Director: Carol Miklos
88 Blackbird Lane
Charlotte, Vermont 05445

p 802.425.6162
f 802.425.6165

aiaVT is edited by Carol Miklos.

Published views are the author’s and not necessarily the views of AIA Vermont or any other organization.

AIA Vermont reserves the right to edit articles for available space and determine appropriate content prior to inclusion. Submissions must be received by the 15th of the month prior to publication.

Please send articles, notices, letters, and graphic submissions to:

Carol Miklos, Executive Director, AIA-Vermont
88 Blackbird Lane
Charlotte, Vermont 05445

p 802.425.6162
f 802.425.6165