40,000lbs of Cellulose

What is one of the most exciting, most fulfilling, most…most…acchhoooo.

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Oh, excuse me.

Cellulose is one of those materials that, once you start blowing you just can’t wait to be done, honestly. From recycled paper materials in your hair, nose, ears, and tucked into every nook and cranny of your clothing to heavy bales, a heavy hose you end up holding over head for minutes at a time, and a remote with the behavior of an erratic woman (hey, it’s a woman writing this post so that can be said with confidence), blowing cellulose can be tedious and messy. That being said, dense packed cellulose really adds to the comfort of each home we build as well as the sound quality.

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It has been quite interesting in our Fort Collins project to go from frigid rooms throughout the house to comfort even with no doors and those winter winds and chill passing through. We started blowing on the third floor, and while netting, stapling, gluing, and blowing we ran a few small heaters. After we got the bulk fill done in the ceiling and walls it was incredible how much warmer the third floor stayed, just from those two small heaters. Comfortable enough, that even on the very cold days where the temperature outside didn’t go over 20F, those working upstairs were in their long sleeves and no jackets. That of course wasn’t the case for the machine loader on the “basement” level who was wearing snow boots, snow pants and a winter jacket while working. The proof of it’s efficiency in reducing drastic thermal changes was very apparent even from third level to main level. As one descended the first string of stairs, the temperature difference at the landing between the two, if one had to guess, was within 40F to 50F degrees-meaning the fellas in only their shirts were quickly going back up for their jackets before they ever made it to the second string of stairs (about 10 steps to a landing) and the woman dressed for a blizzard was finding it necessary to remove layers! It’s incredible what 40,000lbs of cellulose will do for a home.

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We are just starting to blow cellulose into the basement level and up next is getting the drywall in, then flooring and cabinets as well as exterior finishes.  An interesting feature we look forward to sharing on the main level will be the trimless drywall and beautiful natural oak doors along with all the steel. Things are shaping up and the house continues to be a sightseer for passersby.

Stay warm!

Energy With A View

When we think of solar installations, we generally think of those big black panels that dot the roofs of homes, buildings and sometimes the roadside. But what about windows?

When Robert Clarke from Alpen HPP LLC (our window supplier), called us up and asked if we would be interested in meeting the VP Sales Rep from Solaria about a new BIPV  (Building-Integrative Photovoltaic) technology they were working on for residential homes, we said yes! Solaria has been talking with Alpen to produce highly efficient windows with a solar grid in them. Not only would you/potential customers be getting a high performance window, but also one that is going to generate energy for your home. The windows have already been installed in larger commercial buildings, one specifically in Japan, you can find the link to the article below. Currently their BIPV glass panels, used in conjunction with standard glass windows are taking the idea of being “green” and “sustainable” to a new level. The panels not only collect solar energy, they provide glare control, thermal performance and effective daylighting (Solaria).

The idea of combining solar windows on a home, while also getting the benefit of daylighting, thermal control and glare reduction desired in a window is exciting. The fact that these cells are unobtrusive to the view is a huge positive. We are looking forward to seeing  how Solaria and Alpen continue to work out the details of making these panels for residential installations.

Here’s Jason, holding up the sample pane Scott Hoover brought over (the image has been edited to show the outline of the cells better. Had this image not been manipulated, you the reader would have thought Jason was just standing there with his arm up for fun-not something he is particularly known for)

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Link to Solaria’s BIPV System in Japan: ASAHI GLASS COMPANY AND SOLARIA ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO DELIVER ADVANCED BIPV SOLUTIONS TO THE ASIAN MARKET

Link to Alpen Windows: http://thinkalpen.com/

 

Sprouting Up

Aaahh, spring has arrived in Colorado…or at least it seems that way on a bi-weekly basis. One week sunny and hot, the next cold and wet.

As promised, in the previous post a look into how the framing has been going. We have brought on, J & D Builders from Greeley to help us out, and we are really enjoying working with them.

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Profile view. The Kitchen area has trusses on. The garage is being sheathed for the second floor.

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Tilting up walls. These guys have had no problem working with our double wall framing system.

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Looking out the Dinning room window, that tiny person was placed there for scale. The homeowners wanted big windows to really capture the view they have of the buttes and Horsetooth Rock from the North side of their home.

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Jason and Bryan standing in the Kitchen.

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Looking out from the Kitchen into the rest of the first level. The “tiny person for scale” is standing in the Master Bedroom. The beam is situated over the Living Room.

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Here our scale model is standing under the beam and in front of her is the wash room and access to the garage. There are high ceilings throughout. The beams and columns for this project are Beetle Kill Pine, milled from The Forks Lumber Mill, whom we used for the Nederland Home.

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Here’s a look into the wall cavity. Soon we will be dense packing a whole semi load of cellulose into these cavities. One the ground is our vapor barrier. Just as on a roof, we must maintain a dry environment for the durability of our materials and the house as a whole.

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Scale Model standing in the Garage. Above the garage will be bedrooms.

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Here’s a look at some amazing custom made brackets we had done for the home from Charles Lefkowitz at, Sculpture and Functional Metal Work. We will have an upcoming post with more photos of the brackets we are using.

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There last two photos are of the column brackets, one from the side, and one from the front. These brackets are giving structural stability and a very modern and industrial look to the home.

 

Up Goes The Drywall

This week the drywall was installed. Once the tapping is finished we can install doors and windows, and blow cellulose into the attic spaces. The homeowners will soon be picking the exterior and interior paint color as as well as fixtures.

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A peek into the Master suit bath

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Looking from the living room toward the front door.

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Kitchen pantry

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We added a little person for perspective and fun with the window depth.

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Looking into the kitchen.

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A view from the Master Suit hall into the room and off to the side, the office.

Moving Forward in Berthoud

We keep making the most of every day. The insulation is in, the concrete floor has been stained, the septic system is installed, the drywall installers arrived yesterday. We are putting up siding and aside from a set back from our window company, we keep moving forward.

Check out our photos to see what we are up to. Have a question? www.harrington.build is just a click away! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Let’s get Cozy, with Insulation.

Insulation (noun): the action of insulating someone or something.IMG_8878

This is probably the face you make when your home is either too hot or too cold, because you don’t have proper insulation….

There’s a lot of options available to home builders and owners in the area of insulation. Why? Because it’s so important to the comfort and the efficiency of your home. Think about the last time you were in a home, in the middle of winter and the insulation was say, sub-par. You probably considered making a face similar to the one above. Why? Because who wants to be cold in their home, in the middle of winter? What cost is there to having a poorly insulated house? Well, there’s the personal comfort cost. You may spend those cold months layered in thermals, jackets and blankets or more than likely, you spend a lot of money every month firing up the heater every time it gets to chilly. Likewise, in the summer months, you’re plugging in that cooler and running it just to deal with a sweat box…unless you’ve taken it to LEVEL EPIC and just moved the kids’ swimming pool into the living room, just kidding. But let’s face the facts, insulation is important to the efficiency and integrity of any home.

In our last post, we shared pictures of the insulation install on our current project. We blow loose cellulose made locally by Applegate Insulation, and practice the “Dense-Pack” method. Dense packing is an effective way to decrease air flow through wall cavities and coupled with our separate air barrier strategy this creates a robust redundant air sealing approach. It increases a homes R-Value significantly (when properly installed) helping to minimize the thermal bridging experienced in most simple stud cavities. It also helps to decrease the movement of fire through wall cavities that would otherwise act as chimneys, and it is a renewable resource (made from recycled paper products).  Some even feel that the borate (think old borax soap) added to the insulation for fire protection helps to protect the wood structure underneath.  Recently, an article in the Journal of Light Construction reported on a multi-year test comparing thick wall construction types on the east coast. The study found a higher than optimal moisture content in the different insulation types.  The wall humidity tracked higher than thirty percent during portions of the the test period. This year, the test walls were opened up and mold and fungal growth was absent, in the cellulose walls.

We are really excited about insulation and energy conservation as you can see and don’t want our customers making a face similar to the one pictured above!

This Place About to Blow!! Cellulose that is…

We have finally arrived at the stage of building where the homeowner says: Wow! and the employees say “yeahhhh” and everyone who has been in the home up to this point notices a significant change. What change is that? The change brought about by cellulose insulation. Suddenly the cold shell of the house feels warmer, quieter, and more like a home.

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After dense packing the cellulose, we will hang drywall. The homeowner has decided to install American Clay as the finished look for the walls, and will be doing the work himself, as he has chosen certain parts of the project he would like to be involved in. We are basically done here,after drywall installation, while the homeowner finishes his projects and finals the home. Our next projects are coming up quick and we are excited to be moving forward!

Check back for a follow up post about Cellulose Insulation!