At just past the framing stage on Sean's personal residence he decided it was time for us to get out from behind our desks and get our hands dirty! We had long since planned to assist in the build of Sean's home so as to better understand the construction process in order to improve our working drawings. The time has now come and it was a great change of pace! We worked on the rain screen on his home which was explained in detail in our last blog post and will be back in two weeks to continue our work!
Part 2: What it means to be Net Zero and how this will be achieved in the Hegstad Haven
There are many defining factors that go into creating a Net Zero home, today we will take a deeper look into the home's exterior walls. Firstly you need to create an efficient envelope, this is done with the use of extra insulation, thicker walls, and the reduction of thermal breaks throughout.
To get the higher quality envelope we made a thicker exterior wall, however, we needed to make the construction as affordable as possible. In order to meet this goal we first started with you typical 2x6 exterior stud walls at 16" on-center, as framers can build these walls efficiently. On the exterior side of this wall we have added 2x4's running horizontally at 2' on-center. By adding these we have given added protection against thermal bridging on this portion of the envelope. Next we added a Zip-System sheathing to the exterior instead of plywood and building wrap, doing this does not give added R-Value, but instead gives a much higher resistance to any water penetrating through this layer as the sheathing is factory coated with a water proofing membrane. On the exterior of the Zip-System there will then be a rain screen for added protection against moisture becoming entrapped within the walls. The rain screen also helps to further reduce thermal transfer and since it is very simple to construct it does not have a nominal effect on the overall cost. Finally, there will be hard board added with wood siding to complete the exterior finish. Overall this will make the exterior walls approximately 8 3/4" thick, not including interior drywall. Now, prior to adding the interior drywall the cavity of the wall will be filled with High-Density Cellulose. This was chosen over traditional fiberglass insulation for several reasons, one being that spraying in the insulation coats the 2x6's and 2x4's and all their joints, which is where the majority of your thermal bridging occurs. Another reason for choosing High-Density Cellulose is that it is only 4 PSF. Typical fiberglass insulation is heavier and eventually starts to sag under it's own weight, creating entirely uninsulated cavities at the top of your walls! Lastly, it is made of, up to, 85% recycled materials, helping to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the new home. All this forward thinking will bring the envelope of the home to an insulation value of R-27, rather than the standard R-21, making the exterior envelope of the home very well insulated with little to no thermal breaks and little to no chance for moisture to become entrapped in the walls, which is of extreme importance in our moist climate!
Self-reliant urban homesteadingRead More
Located in the high desert of Arizona, 90 miles north of Phoenix, the town of Arcosanti offers an alternative approach to urban living. Started in the 1970’s by Paolo Soleri, an architect, planner, and artist, envisioned a living environment with urban density that offered connection with the landscape and with the greater community.
Soleri’s concept of arcology (architecture+ecology) has been the major driving force behind the design of the town. Which is evident when looking at it’s organic form and natural building materials. Local silt has been used in making concrete for the structures which helps it blend into its landscape. Moving away from the standard grid pattern of the rest of urban America, the pathways meander between buildings, creating opportunities for public and private spaces.
Like any viable town, there needs to be some sort of industry or work besides just providing for daily living. Arcosanti has been largely funded by it’s bronze bell casting business, as well as hosting workshops that focus on Soleri’s ideas of arcology and alternative building methods.
Soleri’s vision was to create an urban village for 5,000 inhabitants. While current infrastructure is home to 150, the master plan with a 5,000 inhabitant capacity is slowly being implemented. Thousands of guests visit every year to learn more about this alternative form to urban living.
How to Provide Affordable Housing with Good DesignRead More
Part 1: So we’re just going to start from the beginning, the very beginning.
In the beginning God created the Heaven’s and Earth… and then God said “Let there be light” and there was light. God saw that the light was good…
Okay, so maybe we don’t need to start quite that far back, but still, light would be what started this project and many others like it, which we will delve deeper into in the next part of this series.
Sean and his family had been living in their custom home that Sean had designed out on acreage in Ferndale. Well, since building their home in 2008 their needs had changed significantly. They were now looking at selling their home with the goals of building their new home closer to school and work, reducing their mortgage, and designing and living in a Net Zero home. This would significantly reduce their travel and monthly expenses and allow their money to go toward other goals. As part of their mortgage reduction goal they had decided to fit their new Net Zero home into a $300k construction budget with an additional cost of approximately 35k for the solar panel system. And they did it!!!! In the end Sean and his wife Jaimi purchased a reasonably sized and priced lot in NE Lynden that is much closer to their children’s school, a more reasonable commute for Jaimi to work, and closer to their extended family, but unfortunately a little more of a commute for Sean, but hey, not everyone can just walk through their yard to their office! And! Although the overall size of their home is reduced, it’s still a very well planned use of 1,948 sq/ft, and Sean, being the space planning genius he is, was able to fit an additional 588 sq/ft 1 bdrm. apartment (ADU) above their garage in what would have otherwise been lost space. Now this space, once rented out, will be used to reduce their monthly mortgage expenses by nearly 50% and more over time instead of just being attic space!
It can be hard for some to imagine when looking at a raw piece of land the immense amount of changes that will be going on there and before you know it a whole new house is constructed, but for Sean, Jaimi, and their 2 kids, when they found their spot they were able to each stand on a corner and imagine this as their new Haven. The ground was broke this last week for their foundation, which was so satisfying to see as they had, had the pleasure of being able to stake out their home site themselves and really have that “moment” with their family when you stand back and get to truly build that excitement as you take that last look before the plunge!
Home site all staked out and ready to go!
Freshly dug foundation!
Part 2: What is means to be Net Zero and how this will be achieved in the Hegstad Haven
With the new year behind us, the team at Haven recently embarked on a planning retreat to Mt. Baker with the intention of considering how to best move forward in 2016. Haven is in the midst of transition from an outbuilding at Sean's previous property to what will be an exciting mixed use development in Ferndale which will include townhouses as well as the future office. With this in mind, there was much to consider to both prepare for the new location as well as continue to provide excellent service at the current temporary location.
But first, we needed to get out in the snow and do some team building by going snowshoeing! The weather on this day was less than cooperative: we encountered a steady slushy rain on our heads and snow as soon as we left the car. The plan was to walk up to artist point
but as we got more and more soaked by the rain, we quickly decided to turn around after we briefly took shelter under the protective porch of an old lodge belonging to the resort. We had a quick snack there and enjoyed the view and a few laughs about how wet everything was, demonstrating by wringing out our gloves like a wet towel. Despite the wet, we had a good time enjoying each other's company and the fresh air and exercise that the mountain provided us.
After making it back to the car and changing out of our wet jackets, we headed down the mountain to the town of Glacier and the popular skiers destination Chair 9 to have lunch and a focused planning meeting. We discussed how we might continue to improve Haven's image and good community standing, evaluating which strategies were working and which ones we might consider no longer pursuing. With the launch of our new website, we are excited to increase our internet presence and play a more active role in the content of our pages. We are also looking forward to continuing our ongoing partnerships with some of our best networking and resource partners such as sustainable connections. There was positive discussion on how each team member's position might be improved, helping to share the workload evenly. The discussion was lively and productive, helping us to establish a clear direction for the future of Haven.
A new website for the new year.Read More