Thursday, May 24, 2012

EcoSolar Tour 2012

In June, as part of Environment Week, ChasingNetZero will be on the 2012 edition of the Eco Solar Home Tour!

We're site #2- and glad to help showcase a passive solar house with an active PV system!

You can find more info on the Eco Solar Home Tour by clicking here.

Hopefully it's a sunny day.

and Serena & I seem to be Pinterest addicts.  You can find some our house photos and other inspiration by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Colour testing! with a more portable machine!

Another big thanks to Philip Mees who loaned me an old PC laptop running Windows 98 that will work with our colorTron software and light spectrometer!

Robert, Felicity and I made some measurements of the dry bits of wood.  The last couple days have been rainy and hopefully I'll complete colour readings tomorrow, or by the weekend.

The wood decking is showing signs of wood splintering and checking- much more than the wood used vertically or on the underside of the wood soffit.  Robert was wondering if its because we planed the wood, but didn't sand it.

I'm wondering if it's just because it is getting much more standing water on it.  We'll see.

Felicity checkin' out the BBQ.  Rob workin' the ColorTron 2000.

Spring Clean Out / Organizing / Unpacking

I took some time over the long weekend to some closets cleaned out, shelves built/installed and basically re-organized the garage with my Dad's help. I am hoping the next step is to finally get everything put in it's proper place. 

What was once my tool crib is now a proper closet with shelves!

Another closet adapted for really unpacking. [Note: all
the stuff in the closet is temporary.  Serena's gonna' load it up properly.

And the mountain o' stuff that is left to unpack, find places for,
or re-distribute.  Hope we get this done by the Eco-Solar home tour!

Spring Blossoms!

It seemed like Spring lasted only a couple of days.  Bare trees blossomed and now they are leafed out!
I'm still learning the names of the trees and shrubs what we retained from the Fergusons'.

Crab apple blossoms. Brilliant reddish-purple. 
Nanking Cherry blossoms.

Lilac blossoms, mixed with Carragana 

Lilac in the sky

and even some tulips survived.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dust bunnies. Or why not to have black floors.

We are slaves to our black floors.  I'll let my wife expound on how she "told me so" and again, how I was too stubborn to listen. (Is anyone seeing a theme developing here? Don't answer that.)

So, we are finding every little crumb, drop, and what have you shows up on our black floors. 

And then there are the scratches.  Black isn't forgiving. So, I've accepted it as "markers of our life" and hopefully I can remember the story and reason behind most of the scratches.  If not, I'll make them up. * Sigh. *  But they look great for the 30 seconds after we clean them!

Oh- by the way- there was a practical reason to have them black: solar gain. With the matte finish, they warm up nicely as the winter sun beams through the windows.

On the wish list for Xmas: one of those robotic vacuums that will zip around and suck all the dirt.

Gah! Why we should always have roof overhangs...

Well, another lesson learned.

This picture shows water dripping on the siding and how
the eavestrough wasn't al that effective. 
In my architectural stubbornness, I didn't create an overhang on the north face of the house, thinking it would be flashed and peel & sticked and sealed sufficiently.

So, it was with much disappointment that we found the window at the top of our stairwell leaking.  Somehow, water was finding it's way into the window or getting behind the exterior wall sheathing. After getting the roofer to double check his work, it appears the weakness is the flashing of the roof over the exterior wall.

It seems there was not enough space for the eavestrough to be slipped under the metal drip flashing of the roof. So, the "caulked" gap between the flashing and the eavestrough failed. And water got in behind the siding, peel and stick and tyvek. Then found its way around the nail fin of the window and subsequently into the house.  Brilliant.

And that is when I really, really regretted not building an overhand on the north side of the house.

Lesson learned.

And in the spirit of learning more, I am trying out a product called "Encasement" to seal the gap between the flashing and eavestrough.

My friends over at King Edward Sustainable House are giving it a go too.

We'll see how it works!

Water was dripping at the drywall/window joint.

There was a huge gap between the metal drip flashing and the eavetrough. Not good.