So Long, March!

Our under-slab insulation arrived yesterday, so we are ready to go! The bad news is that Mother Nature has not cooperated to this point with warmer temperatures to help dry out our field. Here’s what it looked like yesterday, with a bit of snow remaining in the southwest corner (the puddle in the foreground marks the low point on the property):

Still melting. Note the pile of insulation at left.

Still drying out. Note the pile of insulation at left.

We also closed on our construction loan yesterday. With our house, there are aspects of the design that are different from typical construction, including many of the materials: triple-pane windows from Germany, thick foam insulation that goes under the concrete slab, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) that keeps fresh air moving through the house, and structural insulated panels that form the outside walls of the house. We’re purchasing many of these components directly rather than through our builder, and as such we need to pay for them in advance of their installation. Our lender, Rockville Bank, provided an upfront advance based on our existing equity; apparently this is an uncommon feature of most construction loan programs, and has been critical to our project.

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First Day of Spring

Four wet, slushy inches of snow = a week’s delay. Joe wants to let the snow melt and the lot dry up a bit before getting started again. In the meantime, our foundation insulation is on order, with delivery expected in about 3 weeks. Fingers crossed for a dry spring!

Escaping Flatland

Our excavator, Joe, called this afternoon. Construction of the driveway will begin Monday. We had planned to break ground tomorrow, but Joe’s crew was shorthanded this week due to illness. Oh, and they have to dig a grave in the morning. An ominous start to the next phase of our project, but a start nevertheless.

Our hayfield, awaiting construction.

Our hayfield, awaiting construction.

The project’s first phase resulted in a design for an efficient, modern farmhouse that recently passed Passive House Academy’s pre-construction Design Stage Assurance process. While we believe the best thing for our hayfield would be to leave it as-is, knowing that the Passive House approach provided a path to minimizing energy use for heating and cooling as well as maximizing indoor comfort for our family made the decision to build seem more responsible.

Until now, we’ve experienced our house only through architects’ drawings, renderings, and computer models. We’re finally on the cusp of escaping flatland and documenting some of the journey here.