Archive for May, 2010
The building is currently in the “rough-in” stage, which means that electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems are being installed.
Both line and low voltage wiring are installed by EHS. They take great care in a clean installation that is easy to understand. Low voltage and line voltage lines are run in separate bundles in an effort to keep signals within undisturbed.
The electrical system in a Passive House is similar to ordinary electric systems with the exception that any protrusion through exterior walls or the roof are being sealed for air-tightness and uninterrupted insulation.
Gary chose to have a lighting control system by Lutron installed. This is not required by the Passive House standard but can help reduce lighting-related energy loads.
The plumbing system is very simple. The design of the home puts most of it in one single wall that extends vertically from the basement to the second floor throughout the home. This means short waste and supply pipe runs, and an economical installation. The supply lines are copper, and continuously insulated for efficiency. The waste lines are PVC, and mostly insulated. Warm waste water is used to pre-warm the well-water that is being pumped into the hot water tank, upping the efficiency of the hot water system. Additionally, hot water is being pre-heated by a solar thermal collector on the roof. Last but not least, an electric on-demand water heater can boost the water temperature if the combination of waste-water heat recovery and solar thermal pre-heating do not make it hot enough. 85% of the hot water needs will not require the on-demand unit.
The plumbing system in a Passive House is similar to ordinary plumbing systems with the exception that pipe runs are continuously insulated, and that air-admittance valves are being used instead of vent stacks.
The ventilation system is at the heart of each Passive House. This building will utilize a Passive House certified Lüfta heat recovery ventilator from Germany, supplied by Peak Building Products. It will be combined with a 600 foot PEX earth loop provided by Rehau—buried below frost on the property. This system will pre-warm, or pre-cool and dehumidify the incoming ventilation air and boost the system’s efficiency to well above 90%. The Luefta machine will supply the entire home with outside air year-round, and exhaust air from the bathrooms and kitchen. The ductwork comes from Inno-Products and is comprised of a home-run layout with 3″ diameter plastic flex-ducts. The systems throughput is being adjusted by sensors that measure both CO2 and humidity levels in the air. This setup means that the homeowner does not have to adjust ventilation rates, and that the system will ramp down when it’s not needed to conserve energy.
Nuheat is supplying electric in-floor heating mats on room temperature thermostats. There are 7 zones throughout the home that can be individually adjusted. The entire system is sized to supply a peak heat load of 10 kBtu—about 3,000 Watts, or the equivalent of running 2 hair dryers at the same time. This represents a 90% reduction in heating system over most conventional construction today.
The heating system in a Passive House is very different from ordinary heating systems. It is merely a backup for long stretches of extremely cold and cloudy days in the winter and does not compare to conventional systems in terms of its capacity.
Energy Concepts helped with the design of the renewable energy systems. There are three systems that will go into the building: A solar photovoltaic tracker, a photovoltaic panel array, and a solar thermal domestic hot water system. The photovoltaic systems are scheduled to produce about 6,750 kWh of electricity annually, while the solar thermal panel has the capability to pre warm enough domestic hot water to provide 85% of the annual demand. The remaining portion of heat needed will be supplied with the help of a Stiebel-Eltron booster heater.
Hawthorne Hawkman posted an article about a visit to the Passive House in the Woods. This design team has been pursuing a Passive House design for the Eco-Village in Hawthorne for over two years and is committed to the idea. Find the post at this link.
Thanks for joining the tour today. We had a good time showing the Passive House in the Woods and for the first time, the German Optiwin windows installed in the ICF walls.
Thanks for signing up for the construction tour today. We look forward to having you and to show you around this amazing home. We’ll see you at the site.
Directions and Parking Instructions
The property is located at 908 Kirkwood Way North, Town of Hudson, WI 54016 (directions, see below). We encourage people to car-pool, seek parking on 10th Avenue, and walk 1/2 block to the property from there.
- From the West (metro area)
- I-94 East to Exit 1 in Wisconsin for Hudson and WI 35 North (just past the St. Croix River)
- Take Exit 1 North towards Hudson, State Rd 35 (2nd St. S)
- Take State Rd 35 (2nd St. S) for about 3 miles North
- Take a right on Krattley Ln/Krattley Ln N, head uphill (East)
- Take a left on Tenth St. N
- SEEK PARKING NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF Tenth St. N and Kirkwood Way N!
- Walk left on Kirkwood Way N (note: road sign only on the right) 1/2 block
- The property is located at 908 Kirkwood Way North, immediately to the left once the road turns from asphalt to gravel
- Meet at the construction trailer
We had a great turn-out at the construction tours last Friday. Due to popular demand we added an additional opportunity this week, on 5/27/2010 at Noon.
If you are interested to see this high-performance building in person, please RSVP to Amanda at Morr Construction: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Morr Construction Services Inc. the Passive House in the Woods has been a ‘pinch me’ moment from the time the plans were originally brought to our office. The overall concept of a house that can maintain its internal comfort at the highest level with a net positive energy production seems almost impossible unless you live in southern California where the sun shines almost constantly and the weather is nearly perfect to start with. To build this concept in the upper midwest with some of the harshest weather in the US is a daunting prospect, but one we at Morr Construction Services Inc. were extremely interested to pursue. A few years ago we were presented with a project that was to be site-neutral in terms of energy use. Some of the technology was not quite ready and the overall design, being very large and luxurious, seemed somewhat antithetical to the concept. Although we succeeded in building a very efficient home for its size, the building was not ‘engineered’ so much as ‘designed’ and the energy production and efficiency took a back seat to architectural design and amenities. The Passive House design is a modern architectural statement where the engineering is an integral part of the design process, not an added component on a traditional plan. This seems to us to be a more holistic approach and appeals to us on the level of a building systems approach, where all aspects of a design are evaluated for performance as well as aesthetics.
It has been both a privilege and an education to be involved in the discussions concerning construction details, weighing in with cost and durability concerns as well as feasibility and implementation. Our work qualifying subcontractors bids has put Morr Construction Services Inc. into the role of educator as well as overseer because many of the subcontractors are operating on a different level than what they are used to. The protocols concerning durability, sustainability, and indoor air quality are not universally applied in the homebuilding industry and we have had to search out the most technically advanced participants in our area. With the windows on the way and the framing completed, we are looking forward to sharing some of the details and concepts of the Passive House in the Woods with our colleagues and associates at upcoming tours. On that note, we had a great time explaining the thick wall section we brought to the Living Green Expo that replicates the exterior wall construction of the PhitW. We’ll take it again to the Greening the Heartland show at the convention center next week and see if we can raise a few more eyebrows.
All the best,
Remodeling Project Developer,
Morr Construction Services Inc.
This picture shows the ventilation ductwork inside the Passive House in the Woods. Supplied by Peak Building Products, this German-sourced product makes individual connections from the ventilation machine to each location, without sheet metal, mastic, duct tape, and leaks.
We had a great day on site today, showing the construction of the Passive House in the Woods. We’ll do this again when the house is finished. Thanks to the Team for being there today, and to our sponsors for their generous support.