Living Green in Vermont: A Modern Approach to Living Off of the Land at Beaver Brook Farm

Beaver Brook Farm: sustainable forestry
Located just 18 miles outside of Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier, Beaver Brook Farm is a sustainably managed 530-acre playground for outdoor enthusiasts who walk, ski and ride the 25km of mapped recreation trails.

It started by our striving to build very energy efficient buildings at Beaver Brook Farm (BBF) with a high level of modern construction techniques. It continues with the daily operation of the house and barn that derives a significant amount of electricity from solar panels and the option to heat with either oil or wood via high-efficiency boilers. It has a far greater impact beyond the property with the forest yielding a wide range of forest products for broader markets being harvested in the most sustainable manner possible.

Beaver Brook Farm: sustainable forestry
Impressive 3-story 8,400 sq ft heated barn is cleverly connected to the main house by a finished, heated tunnel and serves a multitude of purposes.

The modern construction techniques in both the house and barn utilized materials to create the very energy efficient home which included spray foam insulation and radiant heat throughout. The renovation of the 160-year old barn was done using all the original materials while creating an insulated shell and full foundation to give it another 160 years of life. Cherry, maple & birch wood from the property was used throughout both buildings to create built-in furniture and trim.

Beaver Brook Farm: sustainable forestry
A completely self-sustaining property, Beaver Brook boasts its own solar array system providing most of the property’s power needs.

The operation of the buildings uses electricity generated from a 12KW passive, photovoltaic solar system. Firewood from the land fuels the heating and hot water systems. (Oil-fired boilers are used as a backup system.)

 Beaver Brook Farm: sustainable forestry  Beaver Brook Farm: sustainable forestry

The forest provides a much broader contribution than most people realize. Over the last 15 years, six carefully managed logging operations have yielded saw logs to build more than 100 homes, pulpwood to create thousands of tons of paper and enough wood chips to fuel a large Vermont school for ten winters. Every part of each tree cut is utilized. And the wildlife uses any branches that are left in the forest for food and habitat. These six harvests were done with the highest methods of sustainable forestry and the forest today is stronger and more diversified than when we started in both trees, plants, and wildlife.

 Beaver Brook Farm: sustainable forestry  Beaver Brook Farm: sustainable forestry

The natural resources from the property have been used to create the magic of Beaver Brook Farm. All the major outbuildings (the five-bay garage, the four bay equipment barn, the RV barn, and the horse barn) were built from lumber from trees on the land. All the bridges in the trail network were built with beams and lumber from the land. As woodworkers, our furniture building over the last two decades has been done with cherry, maple, and birch from the land. And the resources on the property are not limited to trees – all the stonework around the house and barn used stone from the property, including the original and current barn foundation.

The overall result is that BBF is not a consumer, but a contributor to the overall well-being of our environment.

-Mike Fritz

For more information on Beaver Brook Farm, click here. To learn more about luxury real estate in the Northern Vermont area, or to see more of our listings, visit our Burlington office page or contact Wade Weathers or Averill Cook.