Shelter Alternatives’ President, Ed Tuchler, Receives the 2020 Distinguished Business Leader of the Year Award from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce

January 14, 2021

Virtual 2020 Chamber Annual Meeting and Award Ceremony – December 3, 2020 –  
In order to stay safe and yet still celebrate our community’s leaders and businesses, the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce Annual awards were presented virtually this year in an award ceremony entitled 2020, A Year to Celebrate and Innovate. This year brought tremendous change to businesses on every level and the Chamber recognized those that have been innovative and resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ed Tuchler, President of Shelter Alternatives, Inc., won the award for Distinguished Business Leader of the Year, an award that recognizes professional excellence, promotion of the community, and positive commitment to business development. 

Ed started his career with Shelter Alternatives in 1988 when he took a temporary position as a carpenter. Over the years, he rose through the ranks to become a field supervisor, project manager, and ultimately, in 2005, president and the company owner. In 2007, he started a new division of Shelter Alternatives, Energy Check, that has allowed his team to serve hundreds more homeowners in the New River Valley and to educate the profession and the public on the value of building science and home performance. The mission of Energy Check coincides closely with the commitment of the Town of Blacksburg Climate Action Plan, working toward reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.

Ed strongly believes in supporting the local economy and in keeping with his company’s mission, has been a contributing member of a variety of groups around our community, including the LX Council, the New River Valley Home Builders Association, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Blacksburg, Inc., Blacksburg Business Relations Committee, the Town of Blacksburg, Go Green NRV, the New River Land Trust, and Habitat for Humanity. Shelter Alternatives also sponsors regional arts and events such as A Musical Tour Along the Crooked Road, Floyd Fest, Steppin’ Out, and Solstice Fest, providing funds and volunteers. 

This award embraces the team’s core values: 

  • Stand by all commitments and follow up until it’s right.
  • Embrace creativity, new ideas and growth.
  • Foster teamwork and community involvement.
  • Focus on people and planet, not just profit.
  • Find music in every day-and play it.

Congratulations to all the Chamber Awards nominees and winners. 

NRVHBA Best New Home Award Goes to Shelter Alternatives

February 19, 2019

Ed Tuchler, Shelter Alternatives, Inc. owner accepts award from NRVHBA president Sean Belliveau. Photo Credit: Holly Cromer.

Design-Build team Shelter Alternatives of Blacksburg has been awarded the Best New Home of 2018 by the New River Valley HomebuildersAssociation. Owner Ed Tuchler received the award on behalf of his team at theirannual gala, held January 26th at the Great Road on Main in Christiansburg, Virginia.

Tuchler and his team have been building homes, as well as doing remodeling work, in the New River Valley for over 30 years and this award represents the 12th NRVHBA Design Excellence award it has received. It will sit among other local and regional awards that the company has earned over their long history, but Tuchler noted that these awards are a particular honor to him as they are determined by nomination and selection by colleagues in the local building community.

The recognized home is in Giles County and is representative of the work of Shelter Alternatives with its focus on placement in its natural setting, an emphasis on efficiency and practicality and a foundation of quality craftsmanship. “The homeowner’s happiness is very important to us, and we have built a process, that we hope, puts the customer’s
needs and desires as top priority,” says Tuchler. In the case of this home, they hit their mark with the homeowner Jim Volbrecht stating, “our new home is a winner! And we love it”.

For a more in-depth look at the company and their work, visit the Shelter Alternatives website at More information on the New River Valley Home
Builders Association can be found at

Shelter Alternatives Recognized at EarthCraft Celebration of Excellence

October 20, 2017

The highest performing EarthCraft-certified home in Virginia has now earned recognition across the Southeast US. Shelter Alternatives of Blacksburg was presented a 2017 Award of Excellence at the EarthCraft Celebration of Excellence held at Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Georgia on October 19th. Owner Ed Tuchler accepted this award which recognizes projects that exhibit steadfast commitment to sustainable building practices, and acknowledges builders in 7 states of the southeastern United States whose work continues to shape and improve the green building industry. Asked how his company managed to win this prestigious award over builders serving Atlanta, Charleston, and the rest of the region, Tuchler replied, “We embrace science with creativity and intention to improve the livability of our homes.”

Joe Bassett, a longtime designer for the Shelter Alternatives team, worked closely with the homeowner to design the rural, Craig County home. EarthCraft testing and certification rated this home as net-zero performance, meaning the estimated total energy used by the efficient home annually roughly equals the anticipated annual energy production to be generated on site by solar panels. Homeowner Annie Seago states, “We’re thrilled with the whole process…. [And] feel so lucky to be working with the Shelter team.” Others must agree, because as Ed Tuchler notes, “This year, 25% of Shelter Alternative’s new projects are serving previous clients.”

The award-winning project sits where the owners lost their previous home to fire, and features authentic farmhouse style and function. This home had been previously recognized as Viridiant Single Family New Construction Project of the Year as well as the top performing EarthCraft certified home built in Virginia in 2016. The company was surprised to be
chosen above projects built throughout the seven southeastern states where Southface operates the EarthCraft certification program that was designed
specifically for the mixed-humid climate of this region.

Shelter Alternatives has been building energy efficient homes for most if their 29-year history, with energy testing on its houses dating back to the early 1990’s. The high level of performance that made this home exemplary was achieved with efficiency focused design elements based on current building science, advanced construction techniques and renewable energy generated on the site by photovoltaic panels. Beyond the renewable energy, some of the elements that helped achieve net zero status were state of the art insulation and air sealing of the building envelope and the choice of high performance appliances and lighting. The client also made special effort to minimize the use of volatile chemical products even with all the custom cabinetry featured in the home.

An interactive virtual tour of the property can be found in our gallery, titled Phoenix.

Simmerman Joins Shelter Alternatives Team As Designer

September 28, 2017

We are pleased to announce the addition of Leah Simmerman to our staff. Leah will join senior designers, Chris Hudson and Joe Bassett to round out our in-house design team.

A Blacksburg native and one of our former interns, Leah is returning to the New River Valley after completing her Masters in Sustainable Building Design and Construction from Appalachian State University. Prior to her work at Appalachian State, she completed her Bachelors of Fine Art, Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Leah possesses a thoughtful and creative mind coupled with a strong work ethic and attention to detail. We know her focus on creative,sustainable and universal design will serve our clients well and we all look forward to working with her again

Energy Check Featured on Local News

September 28, 2017

Click here to check out Chris Nicholson, Director of Operations for our Energy Check division, talk to local NBC affiliate, WSLS' Britanny Flowers on their "Daytime Blue Ridge" program.