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the zero honeycomb: net zero, passive house construction update

I think I’ve mentioned before that it has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with an amazing artist and sculptor on their net zero, passive house.  We took the day to visit the site in New Jersey and it was thrilling to walk through these spaces that as complicated as they were in 2D, I was able to create the 3D visualization in my head to successfully build a set of construction drawings.  But there is nothing like walking through the actual spaces that now physically exist.

So many great things happening with this project – foam-free and net zero; perlite under slab; pre-manufactured wall trusses as the insulation cavity; low-cost, DIY construction techniques; and creative use of color and material.

I can’t forget to add the experience of exceptional lunches from the garden with every visit!

ZERO on the Severn: Construction Starting on No Foam, Net Zero Retrofit in Annapolis

We are excited to begin construction on this Net Zero, Deep Energy Retrofit of a 1900’s bungalow set on an amazingly gorgeous, perfectly oriented site on the Severn River in Annapolis.  We are fortunate to have a client dedicated to efficiency, beauty and quality.  The result will be an extraordinary retrofit of a completely inefficient, moldy, run-down house into a foam-free, healthy, zero-energy home.  We are wrapping the existing exterior framing – wall and roof – in 5″ of mineral wool,  replacing and relocating windows with high-performance, triple-glazed windows and completely air sealing to create a Passive House level shell.  We are employing fixed and operable shading devices to provide necessary shading. Materials and design inside and out are natural, durable and environmentally friendly.  This project is another in collaboration with Michael Hindle of Passive to Positive.

net zero | passive house, western maryland: coming to a close

We are thrilled at the success and completion of our first Foam-Free, (near) Net Zero, Passive House in Western Maryland.  The home is currently in the final stages of testing and certification and interior finishing. It has been an educational process with material usage, system selection and install, air sealing and insulation, window install and team collaboration.

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The views and placement of the house are extraordinary and achieve the homeowner’s goal of a comfortable, accessible, high performance home designed to view the meadow, marsh and forest.

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For more photos of the final walk-thru, visit the project page.

the ZERO honeycomb: Passive House, Net Zero

We are helping to realize a sculptor’s design of the Honeycomb House.  The project is designed to meet Passive House Standards, be Net Zero Ready and will be completely FOAM-FREE. It is a pleasure and a challenge to be part of this creative venture with Michael Hindle of Passive to Positive and Daniel Gantebein, sculptor!

We are thrilled that this project is now under construction.  The owner is serving as general contractor and has overseen the successful initial pour of the basement wall!

As well as the install of our foam-free foundation using perlite under the slab.

The StegoWrap vapor barrier was used and the slab was poured.

Given that this was our foundation plan, I’d say so far, so good!

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CarMic House on Green Building Advisor

Carri and Michael’s home renovation is being featured as a Guest Blog on Green Building Advisor!

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universal design on the gunpowder: slab pour, rumford fireplace, roof framing

Upon the arrival of the Roxul mineral wool insulation for sub slab, the contractor relaid the Stego vapor barrier (taped to edges at perimeter).  This delay actually may have been a good thing, as the mineral wool was protected from the elements and heavy foot traffic and slab was able to be immediately poured. slab pour

The framing of the second floor and roof are nearing completion.  We are using 2×6 structural walls with 3/4″ plywood sheathing, all edges and corners taped and sealed.  The headers above each opening are two TJIs with Roxul mineral wool sandwiched between them – we have insulated headers!  The lead carpenter did not find it to be time consuming or of any issue, but rather thought it was pretty cool and a no-brainer.

The fireplace is a Rumford fireplace, the most efficient design in providing warmth to a space.

roof and fireplace

universal design on the gunpowder: framing and foam-free

The construction for the addition and renovation to our Gunpowder project is moving along quickly. Because the under slab Roxul mineral wool was a little difficult to source and had a longer lead time, our contractor got creative and “pre-installed” the StegoWrap vapor barrier to wrap under the sill plate.  We will go back and cut out the barrier to install slab insulation, tape back in the vapor barrier and pour the slab.

vapor barrier

Framing is 2×6 walls with 3/4″ plywood sheathing, fully taped to provide our primary air barrier.  We are then installing 1-1/2″ of Roxul mineral wool, Tyvek and then furring strips.  This has been a terrific learning experience as we work with the contractor and project lead to find economical, smart ways to create a foam-free, well-sealed healthy envelope.

mineral wool on walls

 

universal design on the gunpowder : breaking ground

We are so excited to be breaking ground on this project.  It has been a long time in the making and through perseverance and the dedication of the owner, we are moving forward!  We have really enjoyed working on this project and look forward to seeing it through construction.  Hayes Construction is the contractor and will be working closely with us to create this custom addition and renovation. We are so excited that this will be our second FOAM-FREE project!

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brennan+company’s Foam Free foundation in Journal of Light Construction

brennan + company’s cutting edge Foam Free foundation detail mentioned in Journal of Light Construction article! Thank you to Michael Hindle of Passive to Positive to crediting us for working together to create this detail.

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net zero | passive house, maryland: hanging the TJI insulation cavity

We have built our structural 2×6 wall, installed and taped the plywood air barrier, and have created all of the window boxes.  It is now time to attach the 11 7/8″ vertical TJIs to our wall.  This TJI cavity will be filled with cellulose and serve as our main insulation layer in our Climate Zone 5 project location.  The TJIs are non-bearing and their vertical installation is addressed by Weyerhaeuser TrusJoist TB-821-2014 (comes up on a google search).

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Per the advisement of our structural engineer, in the areas where the TJI is not resting on the concrete foundation wall (with a bit of mineral wool sandwiched between), but is instead ‘floating’ we used a light 40 series joist hanger at the base of each TJI.  He also called for blocking top, bottom and mid-height.

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