Category: Efficient Homes

Hot water

We’ve put a lot of effort into the design of the hot water system.  In the average home, hot water is the third largest energy use (18%), behind heating and cooling (48%) and lighting, appliances, and electronics (30%).  In the Highland project, [...]

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Making fireplaces work in a green home

A few weeks ago our two fireplaces showed up and they’re now installed.  Fireplaces can be a large source of air pollution in a home (particulates, carbon monoxide, and other noxious gases), so the guidelines for tight homes are [...]

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Testing for airtightness

After a lot of diligent work from the framing and carpentry crews, we’ve reached the point where the house is tight enough for a preliminary blower door test. The purpose of this test is to measure how airtight the [...]

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HVAC installation starts

Now that the house is weathertight we have started MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) work.  Our HVAC contractor has been out routing ducting and has started installing and connecting up the system components.  There are two separate systems: the heating and [...]

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Window installation

The windows arrived a few weeks ago.  Now that the blueskin is up on most of the house the team has been busy installing and sealing them into position. Window selection was a challenge for this project.  Many high-performance projects [...]

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GORE-TEX® for the home!

In early May I wrote about our wall mockups.  Our wall assembly cross-section is designed to keep the house comfortable and dry by providing four important barriers: thermal barrier (keep the home comfortable), water barrier (keep rainwater out), air barrier ([...]

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Exterior Insulation – Roof and Walls

While the framers have been busy inside with interior rooms and stairs, we’ve started installing the exterior insulation.  First up was the first of two layers of 2” rigid foam on the roof.  Next are the walls: 2” of rigid polyisocyanurate [...]

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Basement Part 2…

Our basement insulation wasn’t visible for long.  Just a week after the spray foam was installed, our concrete firm came out to pour the basement slab.  The concrete shapes itself to the foam surface and then the crew levels [...]

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The “Bathtub” Basement

Most of the work recently has shifted to the basement as the contractor prepares to pour the basement slab.  Like everything else in this home, a lot of detail has gone into the design.  The first photo shows the basement [...]

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A little insulation goes a long way…

While the house gets set down on the new foundation and framing continues, we're already preparing to insulate and clad the home.  One of the key objectives of Highland is to build a home that is significantly better insulated and [...]

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