Gaines Group Architects
end polio now

Rotary Club of Rockingham County, come visit!

Rotary Club of Rockingham County – We have bacon!

The Rotary Club of Rockingham County is a group of friends that work together to put service above self. We meet weekly for breakfast and we have bacon!


Rotary Club of Rockingham County rotary out to lunch

Rotary International

Rotary International is a volunteer organization of business and professional leaders. Rotarians provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  There are approximately 1.2 million Rotary Club members in over 33,000 Rotary Clubs. Clubs span more than 200 countries and/or geographical areas.

Rotary exists to improve communities through humanitarian, intercultural, and educational activities. This is done especially through the efforts of polio eradication. Rotary also focuses on peace building; international education; literacy; clean water; and other community-based projects.


Rotary Club of Rockingham County Rotary club banners

Rotary Club of Rockingham County

Therefore, The Rotary Club of Rockingham County invests in the continued health and positive growth of our local area through:

We partner with other Clubs on broader initiatives.  We’ve worked with the Albemarle County and Massanutten Clubs on a clean water project in Limpopo Province, South Africa through UVA’s Pure Madi program. We are actively partnering with other clubs to organize the Harrisonburg Strawberry Festival . This festival benefits both City and County public parks.


Rotary Club of Rockingham County Rotary Polio

The Rotary Club of Rockingham County is a mid-sized Club with a big heart.  We routinely see 100% participation of members at projects large and small (and social events dressy and informal!).  We’re a Club that is, by its very nature, easy-going. As a Club past president said, “you have to be laid back if you’re going to meet before work once a week!”  However, we are passionately committed to the ideas and goals of Rotary.  Perhaps more importantly:  we’re a Club where you can make a positive impact in your community while making new friends over coffee, bacon, and a good breakfast.


Rotary Club of Rockingham County rotary soap box derby car

Come for a visit!

We invite you to join us at one of our meetings or events.  (You can find us most Tuesday mornings at 7:00 am at the Golden Pony in Downtown Harrisonburg.)  Explore how accepting the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” will benefit the communities in which you live and work. Also learn more about how it benefits your everyday life.

Rotary Club of Rockingham County end polio now


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Chesapeake Western Depot

Chesapeake Western Railroad Depot History Display open this Friday from 5pm – 8pm

Chesapeake Western Railroad Depot History Display open this Friday from 5pm – 8pm

You are going to want to come visit our office this coming Friday at the Chesapeake Western Railroad Depot. We host an art opening each month in the hallway outside of our conference room. The building is located at Gaines Group Architects office (141 W. Bruce St. Suite 201). This month Wendy Custer will join us with an incredible display of her work.

Chesapeake Western Depot


We have also made some great progress on the Chesapeake Western Railroad Depot History Display. We now feature photos of the 101 and 102 engines that started the rail line here in the valley. We have historic photos of the building donated by Neal Menefee on display (reproductions blown up and printed on canvas). We also have many artifacts including switch locks, dated nails, an ash tray from the passenger car, oil can, and lamp. There is also a wood block die that was used for printing marketing material for the CW that basically shows the CW as the key line for rail travel in any direction. There is a notebook of historic postcards, check stubs, shipping tickets, stock certificates, a tribute to Tinky, and a rare picture of the 105.

Chesapeake Western Depot


Also, did you know there was an engine house next door to the CW station? We now have pics of it before and after the explosion on display. You need to come visit us this Friday, May 5th from 5pm – 8pm to enjoy the display, art opening, some food and drink.
Chesapeake Western Depot

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home show poster

Attend the SVBA Home and Living Expo this weekend April 8th and 9th!

Attend the SVBA Home and Living Expo this weekend April 8th and 9th!

The SVBA Home and Living Expo is this weekend. 

The Annual SVBA Home & Living Expo is scheduled for April 8 & 9 at Rockingham Co Fairgrounds. Don’t miss the chance to see over a hundred exhibitors related to enhancing your home or building your new home!

home show poster

MTC Live Auction

April 8 at Noon.

MTC poster

SVBA Cruise In

Saturday, April 8, 2017
10 AM— 2 PM
At the Shenandoah Valley Home Builders Home & Living Expo
Rockingham County Fairgrounds
4808 S. Valley Pike Harrisonburg, Va

•All types of Vehicles welcome.
•No entry fee.
•Bring a classic or special interest vehicle and park in the cruise in area and you’ll get free entry to the SVBA Home Show for you and a guest.
•Great Door prizes and goody bags.
•Food, Music, fellowship and fun for all ages.

cruise in

The Upcycle Challenge

Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. The Upcycle Design Challenge aims to remind people who, with a little creativity, what was old can be new again—perhaps even better than it once was!

upcycle challenge

Dealer Days

40 New & Used cars ready to check-out and test drive; credit check and pre-approvals onsite; Featured dealers are Joe Bowman Auto Plaza, Steven Toyota, Harrisonburg Nissan, & Bob Wade Auto World.

dealer days

Canstruction Harrisonburg

Canstruction Harrisonburg is an annual event intent on raising awareness of issues related to hunger in the region and on collecting canned food for those confronting a real struggle to find enough food on a day to day basis!


Wine and Interior Design with Merle

Join Merle with House of Oak & Sofas for an interior design session and a glass of wine. Pre-registration requested. Session titles to be announced soon. Sessions scheduled for Saturday at 12 PM, 3 PM, & 5 PM. Sunday sessions are scheduled for 1 PM & 3 PM.

house and oak

Carter Skid Steer Rodeo Saturday at 1 PM – 3 PM

skid steer

Gypsy Catwalk Fashion Show Saturday at 2 PM – 3 PM

Join us for a fashion show during the Home & Living Expo at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. Check out the exciting new spring fashions from Gypsy Catwalk mobile boutique. The mobile boutique will be available all weekend. So plan to make your purchases ladies!

gypsy cat walk

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up cycle challenge

SVBA Home and Living Expo Upcycle Challenge “Turn Table”

SVBA Home and Living Expo Upcycle Challenge “Turn Table”

up cycle challenge

Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. The Upcycle Design Challenge aims to remind people that, with a little creativity, what was old can be new again—perhaps even better than it once was! Our team of designers at Gaines Group Architects found a mid-century modern side table and record player and created a new “turn table.” We are donating the item to the MTC (Massanutten Technical Center) silent auction with 100% of proceeds supporting the building trades. Please attend the  SVBA Home and Living Expoon April 8th and bid on our “turn table.”


up cycle challenge


up cycle challenge up cycle challenge


spray foam insulation

Mixed Humid Climate – Closed Cell vs Open Cell Foam

Mixed Humid Climate – Closed Cell vs Open Cell Foam

I posed a question this week about mixed humid climates – closed cell vs open cell foam. In a mixed humid climate, do you use open cell foam exclusively or can you use closed cell in some limited places?

In speaking to a very experienced architect on the subject, he hands down believes that closed cell is the answer for the typical wall system design. My problem – I can only find science that refutes his claim. 

Closed cell foam is a vapor barrier that will not let moisture flow through the wall system.

In our climate, where we have two seasons, we cannot have a vapor barrier. This is because it will produce moisture issues in the wall. The only way to prevent moisture issues is to include a dehumidification system as part of the HVAC design.

While I do want a dehumidification system in every project, we know they don’t always get installed due to budget cuts. However, the bigger issue is when the building is shut down for a few days. When people go on vacation and cut back the thermostat or schools are out for the summer the system is not running as designed. When this happens, you are going to have a mold problem. I cannot find any science to back up the claim that closed cell foam can be used here in our climate. If you want to give me some data, I would love to be able to achieve the higher R values that the product offers.

spray foam insulation

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attic stair air leak

10 Steps to help you “go green”

10 Steps to help you “go green”

There is a tremendous amount of information about going green on the news, television shows, and coming from corporate America. So how do you decide if “green” is right for you? Simple, do you like to save money, want to do less to maintain your home, want to use fewer resources to achieve the same goals? If you answered yes, then you are ready to go green. There are simple things that you can do to get started. Here are 10 steps to help you “go green.”
  1. Turn off the overhead lights and use lamps. Even better use LED or CFL bulbs.
  2. Use rechargeable batteries.
  3. Adjust your fridge temp to 37 degrees and your freezer to 0 degrees. While you’re at it, turn your thermostat back 1 degree.
  4. Recycle – it cost more to send something to a landfill than it does to recycle it. Do your locality a favor, don’t put it in the trash can.
  5. Print on both sides of the page.
  6. Fix any drips and install aerator on your faucets.
  7. Carpool or plan your trips to minimize driving – or even better, walk.
  8. Use reusable grocery bags – this will reduce the overhead of your favorite places to shop which will reduce their need to raise prices.
  9. unplug or use a power strip – a television draws as much electricity turned off as a 60 watt light bulb does turned on.
  10. Shop local for everything from your food to your architect! Less driving is good on the pocketbook and putting money back into your local economy makes your community stronger.

attic stair air leak

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ICF wall

LEED – Cost vs Value

LEED – Cost vs Value

LEED (Green design) and construction does not cost more, quality costs more. When weighing cost vs value in green design it is important to evaluate quality requirements.


LEED provides some quality standards

In a meeting yesterday it was pointed out that LEED certification would cost more because it is very difficult. The conversation revolved around getting the sub-contractors to do the things that the LEED program requires. For instance, they are not allowed to stack / store all the HVAC ducts within the construction space. They have to bring a trailer to the site to store the materials to be in compliance with LEED standards. The result, the material is not “lost”, abused, dirty, and beat up upon installation. You could save money by allowing the material to become “lost”, abused, dirty, and beat up prior to installation, but do you want a lower quality product?

It costs more to do it right. It costs more if the contractor takes pride in their work. “Because that is the way we always do it” is not a valid answer. The lowest price is often lower, because of less skill, care, or quality. LEED does cost more in some cases, but typically, it adds value to the project. Yes LEED has major flaws that need to be overcome. LEED 2009 is beginning to address those issues. However, we need a standard to measure quality, and LEED is a good start.


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energy efficient light

Making small changes each day will make a huge difference

Making small changes each day will make a huge difference

Small Changes will add up to make a big difference for us all. Making small changes each day will make a huge difference for yourself and your community.

There are many ways to go green daily. Many of these strategies save money and are not expensive to implement. Simple ideas done right such as planting a tree to shade your HVAC equipment can cut your energy costs. Even less labor intensive ideas such as changing light bulbs to LEDs or Fluorescent bulbs. You could use shades on your windows to reduce heat gain. You could open your windows when weather permits to cool your house. All of these ideas will save money, cut energy consumption. It can also reduce the demand on the power company to build new power plants. Sure doing all these things is only a small impact, but what if everyone in your community reduced their energy usage by 10-20%? You will then start to see large changes. It is time to stop making “green” a political discussion and start using common sense. Saving money is on everyone’s political agenda, going “green” will save you money – it just so happens that you will also be reducing your carbon footprint.

small changes


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energy audit

Easy ways to Save Money

Easy ways to Save Money

There are many challenges that prevent you from saving money each month. There seem to be bills due everyday and if you are like me, the paychecks don’t flow as fast. A house is one of the most complicated machines you will ever own and it comes with all kinds of financial demands. You have to maintain a yard, keep the gutters clean, trim the trees, clean the carpets, and maintain the roof just to name a few. So where do you turn to save some money on your home? What are the easy ways to save money?

The five most important things you should do this summer that are easy ways to save money on your energy bill:

  1. weatherstrip around all doors – if you can see light coming around the door, then air is coming into your home.
  2. insulate your attic access – scuttle or pull down stair, make it air tight and install insulation or an attic tent to keep the cool air in the cool space
  3. caulk around all electrical outlets inside and out – this is a common leak
  4. install a programmable thermostat (take off the cover and make the electrical box airtight)
  5. get an energy audit by a BPI certified professional


energy audit

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Construction Specifications Institute

Leaders Growing Leaders

Clay Nelson gave a presentation on Leaders Growing Leaders at Construct 2009 CSI Show in Indianapolis. His position is you have to train your employees to do what you do. This give you the ability to stay on the cutting edge and continue to be the visionary.

Construction Specifications Institute

So this concept, of growing leaders to advance your vision, grows the diversity and depth of your business. If you constantly answer questions and tell people what to do, you will have no time to do visioning. Clay says as a leader your job is to know what you don’t know. So if you set your goal to be right all the time then you have stopped learning.

Hence you should look for things you don’t know and focus on learning those things. Let your employees do all the things you already know. If they can’t, then you have not done your job of giving them the power. This is the only way to be one of the leaders growing leaders. Your staff will do what you let them do through your actions. If you always give them the answer, or if you tell them they are wrong when they bring you an answer, then you have given them no power to learn and grow themselves. Therefore, as a leader you have to stop telling and start asking questions.

Write down all the things you do for two weeks. As a result this will give you a job description of what you do now. What on the list can you have someone else do? Figure this out and you can start doing things you don’t already know how to do and you can grow.

A leader is only as great as the weakest part of his team. Don’t worry about making mistakes, mistakes = growth. Set an example, be what you want other to be. This will give you the leaders that you need in your firm.

This was a great seminar with a tremendous speaker.

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