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Anthony Venezia  has been spending his weekends this past year building a highly crafted high-performance home in Canandaigua New York. This construction project is designed to be a modern and sustainable home for Anthony and his family and features dark stained Douglas fir timber accents as well as two-tone Shou Sugi Ban exterior siding and white oak flooring & stair treads from our sister company Pioneer Millworks.

Most importantly, the home utilizes our High Performance Made Easier ™ (HPEz) enclosure system which enabled Anthony and Luke to construct the home to the efficiency standards they wanted to achieve with the project. 

Now that the family home is nearing completion, we caught up with Anthony to discuss how the project got started, why he wanted to build sustainably, and what it was like building a home for his family with a high-performance enclosure system that was manufactured off-site.




Q: How did this high-performance construction project get started?




Our HPEz (High Performance Made Easier™) team has been busy in the past year crafting and installing enclosure systems for numerous projects throughout the country. In addition to designing our own High-Performance enclosure systems, on select projects we offer off-site manufacture of panelization systems as a subcontractor.

One of those projects is a Pre-Certified Passive House near Philadelphia PA where our team partnered with Holzraum System to manufacture and install their Holzraum XP20 Wall Systems on a home designed by architect Macht Architecture and built by Hanson Fine Homebuilding. Our team also installed the floor and roof system on site as well, focusing on the intricate panel joining process to ensure the home meets Passive House thermal envelope standards.




“Holzraum System came to us with this project, they did the 3D computer model configurations of the enclosure and other components. Once they had it in architectural drawings, we helped them break it into panel sections for manufacturing in our HPEz shop,” Kevin Gilbert, Construction Superintendent from our team told us.


Photos by: Jane Beiles
Photos by: Jane Beiles


For one couple in rural Connecticut the concept was to create a multigenerational space to enjoy with their five children, friends, and extended family. Part of a sweeping master plan for their property, this understated antiqued party barn is intended to adapt as the family grows and ages over time.


Photos by: Jane Beiles
Photos by: Jane Beiles


Architect Mark P. Finlay, who has a long-standing relationship with the family, defined the core concept for this family barn as a multigenerational building with a long-term plan. The current incarnation of the space is that of a party barn where the owners children can spend time with their friends out of the main house while remaining on the family property.


Photos by: Jane Beiles
Photos by: Jane Beiles


“It’s a multigenerational design.” Explains Mark. “We worked it through and talked about the functions of the building, how it’s going to work, who is going to use it, how it would be used in 20 years versus now. We really talked through the whole thing. It’s part of a three generation, or 50-year, plan. It is a building with a singular design idea that will work really well in the future because it can adapt to a lot of different functions.”


For owners Doug Doetsch and his wife Susan Manning, their roots of apple farming in the Catskills Mountain Region of New York run deep. Doug has apple farming in his blood, tracing his ties to the area back five generations on both sides of his family including apple farms of the 1800’s, through prohibition era bootlegging of hard cider and applejack, to his own childhood growing up on orchards in the area. Apple farming is something of a Doetsch legacy.


Seminary Hill


After moving away for thirty-or-so years to establish a career in international finance law, Doug returned to his roots and recently founded Seminary Hill, an organic orchard & cidery in Callicoon.

With the help of renowned orchardist Michael Philips and an expansive team of local like-minded folks, the Seminary Hill team started planning the holistic twelve acre orchard in 2012. It now includes more than 1,500 trees with an astonishing 60 varieties of American, English, and French heirloom apples and pears with plans to expand in the coming decade. The orchards ecosystem is based on the sympathetic planting of pollinating and pest-repellent plants and flowers so that the apples and pears can be grown without the use of chemical pesticides. Organic all the way.


Seminary Hill


Our thanks to Adirondack Life for featuring the Kovacs residence in their 2021 Home issue; and a thanks to Holmes King Kallquist Associates for bringing us into this lovely project. To read the article as a PDF, click here.

HKK Project for Kovacs featured in Adirondack Life 2021

HKK Project for Kovacs featured in Adirondack Life 2021

Tucked into Puget Sound in Washington, this site allows the homeowners to feed their passions: boating, family time, and entertaining. Easy access for boats and creating spaces large enough to house large family and friends gatherings drove the design, secondary only to the desire for a “refined lodge” aesthetic.


Known as a full timber frame, the entirety of the home and garage were crafted with timbers, specifically reclaimed Douglas fir timbers. When plans began, the design was quite traditional. “The more we looked at the site and the possible views, the more it transitioned, evolved,” explained David Shirley, AIA, member of our design team. “We angled the house in a soft arc of sorts which maximized views of the Sound as well as those of the Cascade Mountain range in the distance.” This change capitalized on the views and the natural wrap of the land.

No, it is not built into an earthen bank, rather this traditionally inspired timber frame ‘barn’ has had a financial bank built into it. Welcome to the newest branch of LNB (Lyons National Bank):


Waving corn fields and tight rows of soybeans have given way to smooth grass, colorful signage, and numerous clusters of homes within the Town of Farmington in Ontario County, NY. Grow though the Town has, respecting and celebrating their rural roots is of utmost importance to the community. When LNB approached the Town about a site that was home to the second oldest structure in the County, a farmhouse that has stood for two centuries, there was some skepticism. But at the core LNB is about community. The Town became excited by the bank’s proposal: LNB wanted to embrace the old homestead, the Hathaway House, endeavoring to preserve, celebrate, and open it to the community as part of their new branch. 
(More on the history of the home and property was provided by the Hathaway Sisters, who shared stories, photos, and personal memories around the old homestead, as celebrated by LNB here.)   

The Sand Bar at the Lake House in Canandaigua NY--Timber Frame and Enclosure by New Energy Works
The interior of The Sand Bar features a Douglas fir timber frame, painted a crisp white in honor of its nautical setting.


The Sand Bar, a lakefront libation destination, got new life this year through The Lake House—a hotel, restaurant, and event space in the Finger Lakes. Partnering with LeChase Construction and SWBR, we were excited to bring our timber framing craft and enclosure specialty to the project. The Lake House was redesigned by New York-based firm Studio Tack in collaboration with family-owned design house The Brooklyn Home Company for Bill Caleo and Doug Bennett.

The Sand Bar at the Lake House in Canandaigua NY--Timber Frame and Enclosure by New Energy Works


The bar opened this July, with safety measures in place, and allows visitors to sip and savor with clear views to Canandaigua lake. You can pull your boat right up and dock.

Currently under construction is the wedding & event space, which features a New Energy Works timber frame & enclosure as well. Below is a preview; we'll bring you a glimpse inside when it's finished.

We’re excited share more of the story on our long-time banking partner, LNB (Lyons National Bank), and their newest community branch which we raised just up the road from our Farmington, NY shop.

The first bent is raised for the new LNB Farmington NY branch, early 2020. Photo (C) Jim Kerins.
June 2020 the new LNB Farmington branch is making quick progress.

While the branch is quickly heading towards completion, we wanted to re-cap some of the processes involved in getting there:

LNB has a focus on people and is always very involved in the local communities, ethos that parallel our own. The Farmington branch site includes a historic home that is being preserved and refreshed. A new timber frame, connecting to the historic home, will accommodate the bank’s main operations.

State College, PA: Homeowners Jim and Cheryl came to us with a dream home request: design and craft a home for two which could also easily accommodate much larger gatherings with family and friends. The resulting simple and classic cruciform plan for their hybrid timber frame home fits the couple while incorporating space—inside and out—for others.

Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

Jim and Cheryl, their children, and their friends attended the same university near State College in PA where game season is a great reason to join together. The couple found a site nestled at the base of a long rise to the mountains on one side, and open to expansive views into Nittney Valley on the other. “We wanted to take advantage of the views and offer additional space for intensive entertaining to flow outside,” explained Ty Allen, our design/build manager. “The result is nearly 2,000 sq ft of outdoor deck, porch, and patio space in addition to interior living areas.”

A Letter from the Founder of 

New Energy Works and Pioneer Millworks

The end of one decade marks the beginning of the next. I, for one, don’t have a language that embraces this expanse of years. Both New Energy Works and Pioneer Millworks have changed and will change a bit more. As I sat to write this, I stopped to reflect on all of the work we’ve done over the last 10 years and it really gave me pause.


My daughter Sierra, who works with us in Pioneer, recently asked,”Dad, did you ever imagine that these companies would grow so large?” I hadn’t really. Yet, it’s not that I DIDN’T think such a thing. We work hard every day, do the best we can, follow our hearts and gosh, we find ourselves…here.


Today we are over 130 craftsmen, artisans, designers,and makers. 


Yet the feel of the place remains personal. I like this about us. We know our coworkers, our clients, our partners. When you call, a person answers, and that person now is most likely an owner. We officially became an employee-owned (ESOP) company in 2018 and this means that the folks who have long acted like owners, are actually owners. They can partake more fully in the rewards, have their voice truly heard, and be part of their own work-life destiny. This transition makes sense to me.


We have doubled down on our commitment to the Triple Bottom Line.

I remain convinced that businesses like ours can make the difference we need: a world that places a more sustainable earth and a more evenly shared economy on equal footing with earnings. We’ve known with absolute certainty that everything we do, every choice we make needs to take the environmental impacts into consideration. This was our planet’s hottest decade ever recorded; it is imperative that we continue to push forward, to do all we can to shift the winds to help our home, our Earth.


LNB (The Lyons National Bank) recently broke ground for a new branch in Farmington, NY. The site includes a historic home that is being preserved and refreshed. A new timber frame, connecting to the historic home, will be raised to accommodate the bank’s main operations.

The historic Hathaway House (left), new bank space (center timber frame “barn”), and timber frame drive-thru pavilion (right).

“As a company, we’ve long been clients of LNB; we admire their deliberate focus on the individual and business needs of each community they join–and their commitment to doing right by the planet,” said Bryan, project lead from our timber frame engineering team. “We’ve been privileged to work with LNB on several of their branches and we’re excited that they’re opening just down the road from our headquarters in Farmington.”

Below: A previous project with LNB for their Canandaigua NY branch included a timber frame core crafted with reclaimed Douglas fir timbers sourced by Pioneer Millworks.

Perhaps our most passionate filter, everything we do is based on the premise that we have but one earth, and it needs us to do better. In a sweet bit of coincidence, this also means that the house we build is more comfortable for you: There are fewer drafts, less outside noise, a more responsive heating and cooling system, and cleaner indoor air quality. The utility bill is less, as well.

HPE layered wall system.


We have pre-panelized our energy-efficient wall system, the Matrix Wall, since 1993, and have been involved with over 2,000,000 square feet of structural insulated panels (SIPs). The combination of wall and roof components create our HPE (High-Performance Enclosure System). While recent improvements to the nationally recognized Residential Energy Code for new construction are exciting, these traditional energy requirements have always been inadequate, and continue to be so. In the last half dozen years we’ve seen the interest in thoughtful energy design skyrocket among our clients. We’re thrilled!

This renewed interest, in combination with new understanding and technologies in off-site pre-construction, suggests our enclosure practices have been spot on. 2020 will see a substantial evolution of our HPE efforts through the addition of a new line of European semi-automated wall and floor building equipment.

This video showcases the framing line:


When we “semi-automate” our processes, we’re not eliminating jobs, we’re doing better work more efficiently while allowing our coworkers to work longer into their career and be safer as they do so. By increasing the amount of off-site pre-panelization we can do, our goal is to bring our quality and expertise on energy and resource efficiencies to more homes, to more builders, making High Performance Easier. We code name this effort HPEz. Here are some of the wins we see:

• Less Labor—Using more automation, reduces overall and on-site labor.

The finishing touches are complete! This timber frame lake home in the Finger Lakes started with our design team and wrapped up with our build team over the Summer:



New Energy Works (NEW) has done a phenomenal job for our family from the design concept to the finished lake house. In the very beginning, the team made a point to learn what was important to us and what we envisioned. Throughout the process, NEW made sure those things that were important to us were their focus.” – Jim and Tina, homeowners.


The home has quickly become the hub of family gatherings for multiple generations. Open in a 180-degree expanse, on a point locally known as Allen’s Point, our design group explained that the home’s layout is intended to make the most of the sweeping lake views.

In November of 2018 we had a community raising for the Mount Angel Abbey’s Benedictine Brewery. One hundred volunteers gathered early, listened thoughtfully to a strategy introduction and a safety meeting, and got it done.

The Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel, Oregon. Photo by Loren Nelson
The Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel, Oregon. Photo by Loren Nelson

Of the people who showed up to help, about 50 or so were from Mount Angel Abbey, the monastery at the top of the hill where we were working. We had our team and timber framers from companies who are part of the Timber Framers Guild from all around come to help. (You can read about that amazing day in a previous blog post, and we’ve included the raising video at the end of this post.)


This season, the Brewery has been up and running with plenty On Tap. We’re excited to be working with them again, this time extending their covered outdoor space to accommodate and shelter more folks:

When we met Nancy and Larry to first chat about their timber frame home aspirations, we learned that Larry is a beekeeper and suddenly we were as full of questions about beekeeping as we were with answers to home designing and building. The couple shares a special affinity for nature, much like our various teams (if you’ve ever read our bios, you’ll see a reoccurring theme of ‘hiking, biking, and being outdoors’). Taking a look at the bucolic piece of farm and woodlands near Ithaca, NY was one of the first steps to designing the couple’s home. Ty Allen, AIA, our design build manager and architect, met with Larry and Nancy on their site to explore the possibilities. Ty shared with us a bit about the overall project and process:


Ty explained that the site offered a good combination of open space and mature woods. There was a desire to embrace both with this custom home.
Ty explained that the site offered a good combination of open space and mature woods. There was a desire to embrace both with this custom home.

“When we walked the site it became clear we could create a design that would give Larry and Nancy a home which engaged with both the surrounding woods and open spaces. We knew they wanted something of manageable size and easy to maintain where they could enjoy their retirement,” Ty shared.

Recently we did a project with Black Oak Builders and Barry Price Architecture in Saugerties, NY. Interestingly for us, the majority of the project was not timber frame (though they do have a sweet little timber piece off the side of the garage that may someday house a small maple sugaring operation). No, in this case Black Oak Builders reached out to us to partner on the enclosure system for three additions to this 1800’s home; a master bedroom suite, an office/bedroom wing, and a two-story garage.



Our goal with High Performance Enclosures (HPE) is simple—to help builders achieve better building performance for their clients and to make the projects go as smoothly as possible. With our knowledge in systems building (from years in timber framing, as well as construction experience in our Finger Lakes backyard) we can bring the nuances of off-site construction to enclosure building and pre-panelization to those looking for custom solutions. Our construction team built 66 panels in about 2 weeks and headed out in a snowstorm to install the them in January. This off-site minimizes the time needed on-site, saving projects weeks and speeding up the deliverable of a finished space to a client.

The enclosure was our MartixS wall system. Built of 2×6 framing, ½ OSB, 60mm wood-fiber insulation (Steico in this case), house wrap, and vertical strapping for attachment of the siding. All designed to fit within the 8’6” shipping constraints. The Steico wood fiber insulation allows one less petroleum-based element in the system and an opportunity for carbon sequestration—both pieces that help our buildings carry a load in slowing climate change. Used with the Mento Plus house wrap (a weather resistant barrier that is extremely waterproof and air tight while allowing the wall to dry to the exterior) and the tightness of the panels themselves, the performance of these new spaces should make a sizable impact to the client’s comfort, HVAC costs, and do a favor for our planet.