Pretty soon Jeff Kapsalis might be the coolest dad in Vermont. He’s the owner of a budding business, Naturally Cool Vermont, launched this week. All the while, he makes time for late school busses and story time with the kids.
Though Kapsalis was born in Fairfax, Va., the family moved to Shelburne when he was in the third grade. “My dad was an IBMer,” Kapsalis explained. The job transfer took them closer to their favorite ski spot, and the Vermont lifestyle has been a family tradition every since. Kapsalis attended the old Village School (current town office building) before he and his sister Sandy graduated from the Shelburne Community School (SCS), where his children Petra, age 10, and Nikolas, seven, now also attend.
Kapsalis’ post-CVU plans included ski bumming with some fellow UVM graduates in Breckenridge, Colo. after finishing his degree from the school of agriculture, with a small business concentration from the university. Mutual friends introduced him to his future wife, Becky, with the two carpooling to Colorado. Here, Kapsalis’ entrepreneurial spirit flourished in the start up of a business he felt Colorado was lacking – what he named Pika Bagel Bakery. After a few years, he and Becky opened a second location in nearby Frisco. Meanwhile, the two married at Martha’s Vineyard in 1997.
After 10 years of early mornings, the pair sold the businesses and moved back to the east coast. Becky’s family is from Cambridge, Mass., but they soon noticed Shelburne’s allure and moved to Vermont. Meanwhile, Kapsalis veered from the service industry, still keeping his own hours. His established kitchen and bath renovation business, All Aspects Tile and Carpentry, now has a steady following.
These days Kapsalis is ready for an additional challenge. Last summer, in an attempt to cool off the house without lugging out the AC and wasting money, Kapsalis made use of an older whole house fan. It worked but “it sounds a little like a helicopter,” he explained. Determined to solve the cooling problem completely, Kapsalis discovered a newer design of the traditional machine, the QuietCool whole house fan. “I’m excited to see how people react,” Kapsalis beamed. His discovery of the efficient, hushed system has him bursting with new passion.
“I started [Naturally Cool Vermont] because I truly believe that the product is a perfect fit for Vermont and Vermonters. It helps solve a growing problem: living and sleeping comfortably in our homes during the increasingly hot summers,” Kapsalis shared. His first move was to install one in each bedroom of his house. It installs remotely in the attic, banishing days of lugging the AC on the inevitably hottest day of the summer.
Kapsalis explains the product as “very energy efficient, economical, and an intelligent use of natural resource, while gaining other benefits of supplying fresh air into a home.” According to Kapsalis, the product was developed in the similarly strong environmental culture of California. Now the state is requiring the installation of whole house fans in all new homes in certain geographic zones.
He’s certainly done his research – Kapsalis acknowledged the specific economic benefits of the alternative system. After the installation of a whole house fan, a regular family home would be markedly cooled for roughly eight cents per night. That’s small change. Kapsalis hopes families can stick the rest in their piggy banks. His new website www.naturallycoolvt.com not only provides general information on the efficient cooling system – Kapsalis is offering free estimates via email.
Interests / hobbies: “The typical Vermont outdoorsy activities: skiing, soccer, biking, fishing, and camping”
Favorite book: “Right now, I’m reading the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince to Petra.”
Favorite food: “I’m a big seafood fan. Route 7 Beverage is a great place for it in the area. We just got great steamers there on Saturday night.”
Shelburne haunt: “The walking path on Shelburne Bay and the beach are probably my family’s most frequented spots.”
Bucket list: “I really want to travel more. I’ve traveled around the U.S. quite extensively but I’d love to go to Louisiana.” Abroad, Kapsalis dreams of traveling to Australia and Japan.