There now, I’ve described all you need to really know about building a house that doesn’t need a furnace. Insulate it, wrap the joint in poly and ventilate it with the most efficient HRV you can afford. Of course there are details so sign up for the news feed and whenever Spirit moves me, like now at 3AM, I’ll write.
These 3 little words are the essential ingredients in the German standard developed in 1995, they have coined as passivhaus. I looked at my bookmarks and decided not to link any here. If this concept moves you, there’s a ton of material to wade through . . . at 3 AM or probably earlier. (:>) Just type “passivhaus” into your browser search engine and go for it.
The above image shows Andrew Davison working at placing the cellulose in the wall envelope. Throughout September, I worked alone on the house. Even I, who is not intimidated at the size of this task at my tender age, was becoming jaded that I’d not get all the siding on before the cold came with their attendant blizzards. It is Canada after all. One day early in Oct., Anthony and Andrew show up and as The Management will have His way, I asked the 3 Musketeers to come back and together the 4 of us will move up the schedule of this new house.
Straw as insulation mulch on top of cloves, that are 4-5″ down, held in place with plastic strips stapled to the wood. The tender young shoots of garlic that are the first food crop to sprout in early April or late March need a gentle cover to worm through. Seed and food for 2011. Building green is not only about the physical structure. It’s also about the care and sustainability for our bodies, of our lives. We do this through buying and growing local, organic foodstuffs. Here in The Annapolis Valley I enjoy a nearly 10 mile diet. As you can see, there is a ton of hackmatack/tamarack for this coming springs raised beds.
Inner wall, space, outer wall already ‘stuffed’.
The insulation I have chosen to use is shredding paper called cellulose. http://www.thermocell.com/ We use a blower to break up the chunks, fluff it up and then blow it into the various wall cavities. I’ll not use fibreglass insulation as it is not effective, despite the ginormous sums of money government and industry throw at it for promotion and rebate. Here one may see the inner wall of 2 × 4″ on 24″ centres. Behind the inner wall already insulated and meshed, [the mesh is a woven fabric which allows air to escape from the blowing operation] is the 2 × 6″ outer main support wall. We blow to a 3lb density which is obtained through feeling the tension in each cavity. This ensures no settling in the partition from above. Between both walls there is a 6″ space which imparts no thermal crossover between the two walls and is completely filled with cellulose.
Brdm casement for egress. It’s code for fire escape.
So, with an R value @ 3.8/in., we have obtained an R value of 57 [3.5″ + 6″ + 5.5″ = 15 × 3.8 = 57]and when the R value of the OSB, siding, poly films, Typar and gypsum are factored in we have met the objective of R-60 in the wall envelope.
In the above image of the bdrm. casement window, one may view the wide 30 degree angled back interior walls. Yes, we lose a bit of insulation from the walls but the room gains needed radiated light. It also provides a wide window seat for gazing at the nature scenes outside. In this image, the walls are meshed with the woven fabric but not yet blown.
Canning and preserving have become part of my life. As a prostate cancer survivor, my diet is crucial to me. So I pick local, bottle/can and eat knowing what is entering my body. Many will ask what has this to do with greener building? Everything! Where does your food come from? How far did it have to travel? What is the carbon content of the transportation in that fork-load you are uplifting to those waiting lips? During the 3 years I lived on Vancouver Island, a small group of us spoke about the need for local municipalities to include a food origin for builders of sub-divisions, as a pre-requisite for obtaining permission to do the next forest destruction for those retirees and their 7000 sq. ft. megahomes. Our children will most certainly be unable to afford to buy these in the years to come, let alone maintain them and pay taxes and insurance. Such is life eh?
Shop Entry door
I have chosen passage lever handles for all 3 entry doors. Above will be a simple deadbolt. Locks are for friends as the local saying goes. $$ saved on show and tell can go somewhere else in the structure. This place is about shelter. Notice that on the lock side there is no inner wall setback as the lever will be easily reached. However, on the hinge side, we set the inner wall back 45 degrees to enable a fully open door for transporting commodities etc.
5′ patio door with 45 degree ‘radiation’ setback
Ordering a 5′ patio door was the biggest structural faux pas that I did in this new house. With the slider fully open, there is only 25″ of egress and since this leads from the dining room to a patio where during summer I will take meals, carrying trays of food without spilling through this tight orifice will be a learned challenge. After the 750 ml. bottle has been partaken of, I may find another door to re-enter.
I do not have the luxury of only bringing in to the house that which we are currently working on. As it is, with building eventually everything gets in the way. So it’s usually moving day several times a week. We now have most of the interior partition erected and that will form the next blog.
The “rotten rock” [volcanic lava rock from atop the North Mtn.] goes in under the gravel and on top of the clay to provide drainage. This past week has seen a great deal of rain here in NS. Do people think all this melted ice from continental and alpine glaciers would just flow into the oceans? Good thing it’s also in circulation in the atmosphere. Warmer air holds more moisture. Until next time,
I Am John Ötvös, aka jayöh.