Current Work

  • We have been retained to provide a preliminary energy and economic analysis of a large PV system.
  • We have been retained to research and specify replacement windows and exterior siding on a house built in the 1980's in the Helena valley.  Fortunately, there is currently a lot of technical innovation in the window industry.  We identified 3 Canadien manufacturers and one supplier from the U.S. that produce windows that are 2-3 times as efficient as current practice.  Through a process of detailed review, we narrowed our search to 3 specific window models for final pricing and detail confirmation.   As part of the project, we are also recommending that 3 inches of foam insulation be installed on the exterior of the house.  Detailed construction drawings have been provided. 
  • Based on a NorthWestern Energy audit, we fine-tuned a program of insulation retrofits for a 1914 brick house.  Air leakage control, attic insulation, kneewall insulation, basement wall insulation and 4 new windows were detailed and specificed.  Because the owner was doing most of the work himself,  estimated material costs are $4,100.   Final cost after tax credits and utility rebates was about 1,100.
  • We just submitted a report called "2009 Montana Building Code Project" to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.  Based on the energy and construction cost analysis in that report, a broad group of Montana organizations and individuals are recommending that 6 energy measures be added to Montana's Energy Code.  The Department and its "Building Codes Advisory Council" will vote on those measures later this spring.  For a copy of the report, click here:  Montana Building Codes Proposed Amendments 2009.pdf (573,3 kB)

Chinese style Solar Greenhouse

 Imagine, as a market gardener, growing fresh, organic food all year in Montana without any fossil fuels. Tomatoes into November and December, new greens starting in February. These off season crops offer higher profit margins because the alternative for consumers is the tired produce in the grocery stores.

The Chinese started developing solar greenhouses in the 1970's and now have over 3 million acres of them.  Their mature design grows vegetables year-round and is energy self sufficient up to the 42nd parallel.

We are currently working with a Montana market gardener to build a commercial solar greenhouse next year. Our goals are to use the Chinese model and proportions but adapt to our local materials and building practices.  We know that the building will have to perform well, but also be inexpensive enough to make the economics work.

Please call or write if you have interest in a similar project.



Jim Baerg Montana Energy+Design
223 S. 5th St.
Livingston, MT 59047