Archive for February, 2010
Steve Swanson and Josh Crenshaw of Morr Construction have been documenting the construction process over the last few months. We created a permanent link to their videos. You can also find it on the left hand side of this blog. We look forward to more videos to come. Here is the most recent post:
So far, most of the blog posts talked about the construction of the Passive House in the Woods. Todays post focuses on the architectural side of things. There are many reasons why people design homes a certain way, and place them on a specific spot on a building site. As a designer, I believe in the architectural principle of “genius loci”, a theory states that any place (locus) comes with circumstance and opportunity. We can recognize and build on these features, and respond to them with our work. Read on »
We just received new photos from the site showing the first installation of the added exterior insulation package. This picture was taken in the area between the house and the adjacent garage (see second image), where 8″ of EPS are placed between two layers of ICF. Technically, the garage is independent of the Passive House building envelope. It will be built right next to it. For structural purposes however, both share a common frost footing. Above grade, the garage will be constructed using advanced stick framing. It’s built more conventionally, since Passive House is not a concern for the garage. Nonetheless, we decided to use EIFS for the facade of the garage, too, just with a lot less insulation (2 inches versus 11).
These two images show the second floor ICF structure completed. Both corner windows are now roughed in. When completed, steel columns will support the corners structurally. The columns are only a couple of inches in diameter, which means they fit nicely in the corner provided by the window frames and do not obstruct the view. We opted for making the corner with window frames, rather than frameless glass. The latter one would have been more spectacular to look at, but form a performance standpoint, we felt that a glass-to-glass connection was not robust enough.
The last week saw the construction of the second floor walls and deck. Construction of the ICF building envelope is now almost complete, with only the parapet level to go. During a recent site visit, we noticed that the passive solar exposure is excellent—just as predicted. The low winter sun penetrates the spaces deep, and at the right time of day, the entire floor surface is in full sun. Even on cold winter days, without windows and with “only” the R-21 ICF envelope in place, the solar heat gains are very noticeable. I can see how Morr’s crew enjoys working inside the envelope with cold temperatures outside.
The perimeter of the excavation is tarped off to prevent accumulation of snow, and allow for work near the footings to be completed. The schedule calls for installation of the below grade insulation package in the next few weeks. The exterior of the building will see 11″ of EPS. In addition, the below-grade portion of the garage should go up, soon. This will complete the geometry of the building on the North side.