House Construction on Schedule

There’s a buzz of activity at the house. Electrical and plumbing have been roughed in, roof insulation is in, and exterior siding installation is beginning.

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This week the Roxul wool insulation gets installed for the walls, followed by drywall and taping. Roxul is an environmentally-friendly and nontoxic insulation. For drywall, we’re using a LaFarge product that is Greenguard certified.

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The team discusses millwork, which will be customized throughout the house. Any plywood used in the carpentry will be Commonwealth Plywood, which meets LEED IAQ standards and is FSC certified.

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Here, Eric installs one of the HRV air recovery system.

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Flooring installation will begin next week, which will then be finished using a Greenguard certified Bona sealant. We’re researching each product used in the house interior to ensure the highest possible indoor air quality, while also maintaining durability. Subfloor, grout, sealants, all of the above will match the environmental integrity of the house.

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Though there’s snow on the ground, inside the passive house is nice and warm. Extra insulation has been added to the roof, and the overhangs are in which will maximize solar heat gain in the winter and keep the place cooler in the summer.

Andrew and Brad from Dell’s Plumbing are busy installing pipes and roughing in the plumbing. Electricity rough in will begin next week.

2/21/14 Preliminary Blower Door Test Exceeds Expectations

Friday, we conducted a preliminary blower door test at the house to learn where we are standing with tightness of the building envelope.

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Using a powerful fan and a pressure sensitive instrument called a manometer, we are able to determine at what rate air from the outside is exchanged with inside air through leaks in the house. The fan can be used to pressurize or depressurize the house and then measurements are taken. For this test, we attempted both ways to cross-check the measurements.

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In order to meet Passive House certification standards, buildings must score a .6 ACH (Air Changes per Hour) on the test, meaning that 60% of the total volume of air in the house is exchanged per hour.at 50 Pascal. 50 Pascal is the industry standard for this kind of measurement. Most homes in the area score around 7 ACH (code), whereas more efficient Energy Star homes will range from 2.5 to 4 ACH. Our goal for this preliminary test was to score a .25, which would indicate excellent tightness of the envelope and be well within the measurements for Passive House.

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Using a burning stick of incense, Kunal Alaigh from the Levy Partnership, checks by windows and other possible thermal bridges for leaks in the envelope (while making the house smell delightful). He finds a few areas that could be better insulated, good information as the building continues, in anticipation of the final test.

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Our preliminary blower door test calculates out as .178 ACH, exceeding our expectations for the day’s goals! .

Assessing progress at the house and discussing next steps

At the barn today

The team begins installation of the Intus windows at the house.

Julie documents more progress on the house.

motherearthnewsmag:

Make Safe, Natural Paint
These recipes offer sustainable and inexpensive ways to add unique colors to your home.

By Bill Steen 
Basic Oil Paint
Your surface will be ready for paint about 48 hours after the primer has dried. It is difficult to provide precise recipes for oil paints, because pigments absorb oil to varying degrees. Pour several tablespoons of linseed oil in a bowl and add pigment, a little at a time, until a doughy paste forms. Then you can add more oil just until the mixture flows. Next, add solvent until the paint reaches your desired consistency. Pour the finished mixture through a strainer to remove lumps.
[Make more kinds of paint!]

motherearthnewsmag:

Make Safe, Natural Paint

These recipes offer sustainable and inexpensive ways to add unique colors to your home.

By Bill Steen 

Basic Oil Paint

Your surface will be ready for paint about 48 hours after the primer has dried. It is difficult to provide precise recipes for oil paints, because pigments absorb oil to varying degrees. Pour several tablespoons of linseed oil in a bowl and add pigment, a little at a time, until a doughy paste forms. Then you can add more oil just until the mixture flows. Next, add solvent until the paint reaches your desired consistency. Pour the finished mixture through a strainer to remove lumps.

[Make more kinds of paint!]

SIPs are up on the house, and the roof is almost complete.


The house envelope continues to take shape. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) have arrived and are being installed in the kitchen area.