Sunday, February 27, 2011

Insulating, insulating and more insulating.

Piece of ice found on a corner of a bag of insulation!
Enjoying the deep window sill.

Basement cavities filled!

More basement cavities filled!

Loft floor looking good!

How best to insulate behind an electrical panel?

Stair well done!

Blown-in foam failure.
We are getting close to finished on the insulation. I was happy with the good progress made over the past week. It's now mostly the main floor and basement that need the last bits stuffed in and the last interior stud cavities filled!  With some luck, we'll wrap up the last of it this week.

We did have one hiccup. The Dow froth-pac spray foam insulation didn't quite work. We wanted to insulated the small gap created between the I-Joist and the cross framing of the roof deck. It did all of two I-Joist cavities and then one of the canisters jammed up and it was too late before we noticed it wasn't working. So there is a tonne of goop dripping to the ground that didn't work.

I had a great deal of help on Saturday!  Thanks to Eleanor & Leendert for showing up after a morning cross-country ski. Matt, Derek, Deanna, Nadir, and my neighbour David, and Zoie & Doug all came to help too. Not only did we get a good amount of insulating done, they also helped scrape the last of the ice out of the basement, sort the recyclables/usables [metals, wood, etc.] from the waste and cleaned upand organized the mounds of scrap stuff everywhere!  I am very thankful great friends and family who aren't afraid to get a bit messy for us. Cheers!

Monday, February 21, 2011

This week's progress: More insulation! Passed rough-ins!

Plumbing stack passed!

It was another good week of progress at the house. We passed the electrical rough-in inspection as well as the plumbing stack inspection! Yay!

There was also a good amount of insulating done with lots of help. Thanks go out to Nadir- my enthusiastic friend who helped me on a chilly Sunday! And Nigel who wanted to work the weekend!

My electrician can do long division!

Stair niche #2 and look, wall cavities are filled with insulation!

Stair photo niches framed in!

The white tube is for the PV power conduits!
Left over wood was used for blocking for cupboards!

Sunset #1.

Sunset #2 a few moments later!

Monday, February 14, 2011

How to re-use these? [bits of tyvek, peel & stick wax paper]


How would you re-use odd bits and
pieces of Tyvek?
Or the waxy paper backing for
peel and stick membrane?  

Slight envelope problem... or window seal?

On Sunday morning, I saw a large amount of water dripping onto the stairs. I am hoping it is because the tyvek is not sealed to the underside of the roof flashing.  The wind was wickedly breezy on Sunday, so it essentially was blowing the roof water in behind the tyvek. Which then got in behind the nail fin of the window. That's theory number 1.  I hope the fix [as we were always intending] is basically to use a peel and stick wrap at the top. Hope so.
Water dripping on the stairs.

Need to seal the gap between roof flashing and tyvek.

Water was observed under the window sill.

Did roof frost melt and create
a large amount of water?

Weekend work frenzy!

Igor adding blocking to support a light.
It was a busy weekend at the house!  My friends Eleanor and Leendert helped with insulating, and Matt, Nigel and Derek were getting the house all wrapped with Tyvek. And Igor and Joe made good progress on the electrical rough-in. On Sunday, Zoie & Doug helped scrape the remaining ice out of the main floor. Derek was also around to install the steel posts for the guard rails and started on the blocking for the closet doors and washroom accessories. And the electricians were back to continue on. So, lots of work! But we barely made a dent in the insulating scope!

Joe adding a junction box for the fan.

Freshly installed pot lights in the loft ceiling.
Post for railing. Slightly askew. Doh!

Lots of insulatin' left. As far as your eye can see.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wrap it up!

The house is almost completely wrapped with an air barrier. The last bit under the balcony will be done after the columns are put in to hold up the balcony. We used a peel & stick strip around all the window and door openings to seal them tight. The red vertical strips are the tuck tape lines sealing the tyvek vertically.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rough-Ins happening!

Spagetti-like tangle of water lines and wiring!
Wow. I went away on business for a week, and to my surprise, there was a flurry of activity at the house!

The rough-ins for ventilation, plumbing and electrical are well underway!  There are a few things that need to be relocated- but that was to be expected, since I haven't been on site daily to provide input.

And the roofing is pretty much done, with the top asphalt membrane now torched on!

Dance of the black pipe [above the HRV closet]

HRV supply & return lines.

Electrical code words.

Add sink here.

See that? That's a 2-ply MBM roof under that layer of snow!

All this waste...

I am getting concerned about the waste we have created. Even with a desire and effort to minimize waste, we have created so much of it. I can't imagine what a regular house creates. These pictures are what our house construction process has produced to date. Lots of plastic.  Lots of scrap and tiny bits of OSB and LVLs and plywood.  Sawdust. More plastic. Little bits of Roxul that isn't much good for stuffing into any places I can think of. Lots of bent, twisted nails. Even more plastic. Gosh, this is insane. How can we claim to be low-impact?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Design Specifications

Here are a few specifications that help reduce energy consumption and achieve lower impact on the environment:

* All electric loads are minimized to reduce consumption. Appliances, lighting and all electric equipment are sourced to minimize power required. For example, an induction range/oven is sourced for kitchen.

* Super insulated, double stud walls: the cavity between the studs are filled with 15" of Roxul mineral wood insulation for an R60 wall. A rim board [and it's associated thermal bridging] has been eliminated by the use of a balloon framing technique. All the roof and floor loads are carried by the interior stud wall.

* Super-insulated roof: the roof have 6" of polyisocyanurate insulating board that is covered in a 2 ply torch on modified bitumous membrane [typical on commericial flat roofs]. There is a further 14" of Roxul batt insulation in between the roof I-joists creating an R70 roof.

* High thermal mass with 2" concrete topping on the main and 2nd floor. This thermal mass will help reduce the temperature swings inside by storing thermal energy in the concrete.

* 4" of rigid insulation under concrete basement slab. This is to reduce heat loss through the concrete to the earth. 

* Large triple glazed, fibreglass-framed windows with films that allow passive solar gain on the south and a different film to help insulate further on the east, west and north sides. There are only 2 windows on the north side of the house. Passive solar heat gain is expected to provide about 30 to 40% of the heat required for the house. The fibreglass frames have a similar co-efficient of expansion and contraction as glass, so the the seals between the glass and the frame, theoretically, should have better longevity.

* Natural ventilation through operable windows, placed in rooms for cross-breezes to help air flow.

* A stair tower with windows at the top and bottom to encourage "stack effect" for natural ventilation.

* Use of only electric systems- no gas line was installed. One energy source for heating and power was sourced in order to avoid additional "connection fees, transmission fees, riders, etc." that would have been the case with gas. Electric connection to the power grid also allows for a PV system to provide surplus power to the grid. Even though electric heat is created by coal power plants, the heating energy that will be required is relatively low, so that it is a not a large carbon creating source.

* Low flow water fixtures [toilets, aerators, faucets, etc.] and with a grey water system roughed in for future, possible rainwater use for toilet flushing.

* Selection of low volatile organic compound [VOC] or off-gassing materials. Also, use of re-used materials [lighting, doors, etc.]

* More to be listed as installation occurs!