Today we received our official Passive House certification.
While the green building community has lavished a lot of attention on Passive House in the past couple years, there are so few actual projects in the US we felt it was important to invest a bit more in the certification process.
Eventually US building codes (and other green certification schemes) will get serious about controlling energy consumption through improved enclosures, but until that time we need more clients, architects, and builders to voluntarily aim for higher standards.
This winter has been particularly harsh, and because of that we are very thankful that we moved into our house when we did. Having spent so much time indoors lately, we’ve gotten settled enough to be able to finally post some pictures of the inside. Pictures below feature the living areas and beds/baths upstairs. I’m eager to post pictures of the entry hall, the mudroom, and the whole kitchen, but those aren’t yet camera-ready.
Kitchen-dining-living room in full February afternoon sun.
This day it was 19 degrees out and we turned off the heat because it got too warm inside.
Upstairs hallway, windows facing north
TV room at night.
Garage siding was completed a couple weeks ago. White trim will be painted red to match the siding.
We’ve been living in the house since the end of December, bringing nearly three years of planning and construction to a satisfying conclusion. We’re happy to report that all the benefits of Passive House construction are for real – the indoor comfort is truly remarkable, even with this winter’s frigid temperatures.
Any high-performance home project, Passive House or otherwise, requires a coordinated team effort to bring the building’s design to life and satisfy the performance criteria. It’s all about attention to detail. We couldn’t be more pleased with the collaboration between our architects at GO Logic, way up in Belfast, Maine, and our meticulous team of carpenters from Cooper Lane Builders in Stafford Springs. We’re proud to share their great work!
Snowy afternoon, best viewed at large size.
We have made substantial progress this month, but also have had a bit of schedule creep so it looks like we’ll be wrapping things up in December. Over the next couple weeks we expect the wood floors upstairs and the stairs to be finished. The plumber and electrician each have a few more days of work. Painting is almost complete. The building inspector is coming in early December to do a preliminary review for the Certificate of Occupancy. Below are some pictures from the last few weeks.
Fill for what will be an “under-grass” driveway to the East door.
Back deck footprint.
Grading nearly complete — the yard looks huge now.
Blowing hay over the newly seeded property.
Backyard after seeding and haying. You can see the septic area behind the stand of trees to the back left.
Entry, with boulders.
Drains to the roadside ditch; one is the foundation drain, the other is gutter drains from the covered walkway.
Appliances stacked up in the office.
Kerdi membrane in the kids’ bath.
Kids’ bath tiling complete.
Girls’ room paint: one yellow wall.
Soapstone countertops installed.
Testing four kinds of recessed lighting trims.
Master bath with light!
Downstairs hallway looking North.
Siding is finally being completed.
North extension roofing almost complete.
Walkway lights at night.
There has been a lot going on outside these days, too: the septic has been installed, the well lines have been run, the walkway from the house to the garage has been built, and final grading of the property will be finished in the next few days.
East (street-facing) entry
East entry detail
Stainless steel, glass-bead-blasted, door thresholds
Walkway to the garage, cedar framed
Frost-protected yard hydrant installed (the pipe with the blue top)
Septic tank and pump chamber
Effluent is pumped to the leaching field in the rear of the property
Leaching field installed, getting ready to create Steve’s golf hole 😉
Logs from trees cut for the leaching field, truck 1 of 2. Logs sold to be cut into firewood.
A large boulder was dug out of the ground in the course of the septic work and broke into two perfect entry steps
The flooring installer worked late one night and brought flood lamps (North side)
A big bulldozer has been brought in to work on final grading this week, finally!
The approaching cold weather has made working inside a warm house a very compelling option for our carpenters. While there is still plenty to do outside, notably finishing the siding for the house, the interior is the big focus for us right now.
Primer in the kitchen
Primer in the entry hall
Primer in the living area
Interior door in mudroom
Upstairs hall flooring, douglas fir
Master bedroom flooring
Girls’ room, looking west
Girls’ room, looking south
Ikea cabinets ready to assemble
Tim making the base for the cabinets
Cabinets beginning to be placed
Entry hall, trim on office door
Finally – we have drywall. The drywall hangers took two days to put walls on almost all the surfaces in the house. They were really something to watch. The taping crew comes tomorrow to start their work.
But before we had drywall, we had insulation. Most of the walls and the two roofs all have blown cellulose. The plumbing-pipe-filled exterior walls have mineral wool batts in case there’s ever a leak (cellulose doesn’t dry out very easily). The interior walls and ceilings also have mineral wool for soundproofing.
Last Saturday, we hosted an Open House for NESEA’s Green Buildings Open House Tour. The attendees were lucky that our drywall installation was delayed and they were able to see inside our walls. Only on a green house tour would the attendees WANT to see inside someone’s walls!
Entry hall looking into the office.
Southeast corner, in the kitchen.
The girls’ room.
Looking up the stairwell.
Green Buildings Open House Parking Lot.
Looking from the living room to the mudroom.
Entry hall, same angle as before.