“The Technical Side of Building Green” with VandeMusser Design, PLLC
Amy Musser and Matthew Vande are co-owners of VandeMusser Design, PLLC located in Asheville, NC. VandeMusser Design provides technical consulting and certification services for green residential construction to builders, architects, developers and homeowners in Western North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. Amy and Matthew are architects, engineers and home energy raters that work with clients to design, build and retrofit single and multifamily homes to energy efficient, green and high performance certification programs.
In this interview filmed in early 2018 in Asheville, NC, Amy and Matthew answer questions about how they got started in the industry, what high performance homes will look like in 2030 and also offer career guidance to students and young professionals interested in joining our industry.
Amy Musser: Co-Owner and Principal
Amy is co-founder and principal of VandeMusser Design, PLLC, founded in 2002. Amy received her Bachelors and Ph.D. degrees in Architectural Engineering and an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. She is an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and has previously held a faculty position in Architectural Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and as a researcher in the Indoor Air Quality group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD.
Office: (828) 348 – 4723 x 2
Matthew Vande: Co-Owner and Principal
Matthew is also a co-founder and principal of VandeMusser Design, PLLC, and received his Bachelor of Architecture degree and an M.S. degree in Architectural Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. Matthew has extensive experience in the building and designing of energy-efficient homes. When not hugging trees, Matthew can often be found hiking in the mountains around Western North Carolina with his dogs and Amy.
Office: (828) 348 – 4723 x 3
Use this Q&A guide to find key parts of the interview that interest you:
What types of buildings do you work in?
Describe your typical work day.
Describe your typical client.
How and why do clients normally contact you?
Describe one of your favorite projects.
- Featuring: “I really like the net zero energy projects that are real people, budget, scale projects. We’ve done at least twenty of them including our own house. Real normal people who have real normal budgets who come to us and say that net zero energy and energy efficiency are important to me, help us figure out how to allocate our money so that we can get there. At this point it’s a very doable goal, you just have to prioritize it as much as someone else might having beautiful cabinetry or having granite counter tops. Having those clients that really value what we do and want to get there in a practical way, It’s a very fun problem-solving process and those projects have turned out really nicely. I’m really proud of that work.” — Amy
Describe one of your most difficult projects.
How did you get started in our industry?
Describe your career path to where you are now.
What motivates you to continue working in our industry?
- Featuring: “It’s nice to have a personal connection with the people that you work with.” — Matthew
What market barriers do you deal with on a regular basis?
What market opportunities excite you the most?
What help does your business need in order to grow and prosper?
- Featuring: “How we grow and prosper is where we require all builders to build at the level our green builders are. The green builders aren’t doing something over and above what they’re required to do, they’re building properly.” — Matthew
What advice do you have for someone looking to join our industry?
What do you do to learn new skills and keep your current skills sharp?
Name one source that you go to for innovative ideas or new products?
Is it possible to have a 30 – 40 year career in our industry?
- Featuring: “This has been the best career I’ve ever had in terms of maintaining my health. Sitting in an office eight hours a day is not the healthiest thing in the world.” — Matthew
What do building owners and operators not know about their buildings.
What will a high performance building look like in 2024 and 2030?
Drop some industry wisdom on us!
- Featuring: “You can have a net zero energy house. Everybody can. Two teachers who build a house and want to live in it can have a net zero energy house. A nurse that we work with built a house as net zero energy. It doesn’t have to be weird, it doesn’t have to look different than the other houses on the street. You can just have a net zero energy house.” — Amy