Monday, June 28, 2010

The house is now being sided and sheetrocked. Pictures and details on that later. For now;

Here is a picture of a heat exchanger that takes heat from wastewater and pre-heats water going into the hot water tank.

Some local Chuckanut sandstone blocks salvaged from the old house to be used in landscaping as a smal garden retainer. I'm trying to find uses for pretty much all the waste that will enhance the new house and landscaping. Finding a use for rock such as this is easy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Energy saving features of the house

Here is what builder John Nelson had to say about some of the things we are doing to save energy in building the Sunnyland Sunhouse;

'The method involves removing most of the plywood sheathing and covering the entire exterior of the building with rigid foam with a rating of R-5. In the stud bays I will use R-23 blown in blanket insulation. The use of an uninterrupted R-5 layer on the exterior that is also air-sealed with glue and tape (and has a perm rating similar to Tyvek) has the effect of keeping the interior of the wall warm and dry almost every day of the year. By putting the vapor barrier on the outside and eliminating the vapor barrier on the inside, this method actually reduces the chance of having condensation occur inside the wall cavity and still allows any moisture to get out after those few days of the year when temperature and dew point create the possibility of moisture condensing. By combining these R-values, installing in this manner and using a rain path gap between the foam and the siding, I hope to show with testing that the wall is functioning at R-30. Combine that with R-38 in the floor, raised heal trusses and R-60 in the attic, foam spayed to seal the rim joist areas beneath each floor, and advanced framing techniques to limit thermal bridging, I am attempting to create what I call an Extreme Insulation Envelope that should make it possible to heat or cool the house with almost no energy.

Some other interesting features that the future owners of this home will hopefully appreciate include:

Efficient plumbing design with high-efficiency hot water tank, waste-water heat recovery, and super-short hot water plumbing lines
Solar panels (more about that later!)
Mini-split heat-source with a SEER rating of 25
High indoor air quality
A vegetable garden, with ripe vegetables at the time of sale (around August 1)
Thanks to all who have gone before me and provided me with the opportunity to produce a house like this that can sell for less than 20% above the median price in Whatcom County. My belief that green buildings can be built without much added cost is being demonstrated here. Methods used to realize this project will be shown to the public via internet and other means, should anyone be interested. A website will be online by June 21. Sustainable Connections has suggested that they will showcase the home and the RE Store has published some information about their efforts to reclaim materials from the demolished house and to help me keep the building out of the landfill. By the way, zero percent of the old house became trash.'

Open house this week at Sunnyland Sunhouse

This week only from 7:00-8:00am (or by appointment, 360-303-4784). This is a chance to see what we are doing with framing and insulation before it is covered up! The best days would be Tuesday & Wednesday while everything is still visible.
Yes, its early but work will be continuing on the house so it has to happen early to avoid construction.
Please come by & see it, I (Grant) will try to be there one or two days this week for the event.
Here is an updated exterior look though we are a ways out before it looks like this!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Exterior foam insulation now in place

We are making a lot of progress on the Sunnyland Sunhouse & I'm so busy with things that I haven't had a chance to post anything for a while. Here are some pictures of where we are right now.
The exterior is wrapped in 1 inch of polystyrene foam with an R-5 value.

The roof is on and windows are in. Doesn't look too pretty yet but it looks a lot more like a house!

Here is a detail that shows a lot; Studs at 24"oc with the window sized to fit between so that minimal lumber is used. Metal hangers replace cripple studs.

Foam spray in joist bays above seal the space from air leaks. Exterior 1" foam has replaced OSB sheathing where it is not needed for structural reasons. The window header uses 2x material with polystyrene sandwiched between for more insulation value.

At right are some of the decorative knee braces
that will be used on the house. They are built of scrap and recycled lumber. The red-toned pieces are made from fence posts found on the site. They are excellent quality cedar.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Green Features Post #1 The Site

Some of the green features of the Sunnyland Sunhouse

Starting with the site;

1) Infill lot close to shopping,schools,bus lines,restaurants, & easy freeway access.

2) Replacing dilapidated old house that was pretty much uninhabitable.

3) The new house will have a small footprint preserving the large yard on King Street.

4) The new house will not block the sun from the house to the north.

5) Existing plants were saved where possible; one lilac was moved because it was in the way and the other was preserved in place. These will give privacy to the street. A large mock orange bush was saved and these are considered a native plant I believe. Several sword ferns were dug up and transplanted in my yard.

6) Much of the excavated soil will be kept on site for grading and creating a large gardening area. We were fortunate to have such great topsoil that the excess was given away to gardeners by the pickup load. I imagine that the future owners of this place will enjoy raising some of their own fruits and vegatables.

7) we will be landscaping with natives and other lower water use plants. One exception is the Pink Kousa Dogwood street tree (a Chinese form of our native dogwood that is more pest-free)
may need a bit of summer watering though I have one in my yard and it has had little if any watering once it was established. It has incredible flowers and is one of my favorite trees and so I just had to include it!
Also plan to install some fruit bearing things like blueberry bushes.

8) Will be putting in rain barrels for use in watering the garden and to reduce our water runoff.

9) Exceptional solar exposure. Of course this requires a design to take advantage of the potential but that will have to wait for another post.