You Build What?

Often, when we are talking to people about what we do, there’s a pause and then, “You build what?” It’s easy to reply, “an energy efficient home” but it doesn’t really get at the heart of what building passive or super efficient means and we want everyone to know because we believe that building in this way is just one way to make an impact on our environment for the better!

Here are some details of home building we consider/ implement for a passive or super efficient home:

Conditioned Spaces: the size and density and where a home is geographically located is investigated to determine how much energy the heating/cooling/ventilation system would have to use per year. To determine this, we look at Peak Heating and Cooling loads. Peak heating is how much heat your system needs to put out on the coldest day of the year in the location of the home. Peak cooling then is the opposite. We build with dense packed cellulose insulation and do a rigorous amount of air sealing to keep the peak loads at a minimum. We want our homes to basically maintain a comfortable temperature of approx. 74F throughout the year which for the customer, results in lower energy bills.

Energy Sources: We want our homes to be significantly less consumptive than a standard home. To do this, we consider, how many people will live in the home and how the home will be used; what appliances will be in the home, what type of bulbs for lighting, the hot water heater and the Energy Recovery Ventilator Unit. We design the windows to provide solar gain in the winter when it’s needed and avoid window placement in areas where summer heat gain would be greatest. We evaluate the quality of everything making up the home because it’s these materials and fixtures that play a significant role in the energy performance of the home.

Air Tightness: By using the right materials and well developed building practices that prevent air and vapor from penetrating or leaking through the envelope (your homes shell) you can have a comfortable and healthy home. To do this, homes are blower door tested, which is an interesting and informative part of the build. The house, once the windows, doors, siding, roofing, and insulation are installed, is closed up and pressurized using a fan placed in a doorway. As the fan runs, the amount of air that escapes the home is measured, through software, and the output is generated in cubic feet per minute at 50 pascals of pressure per square foot. FUN FACT: Pascal: a pressure of one newton per square meter or in S.I.: one kilogram per meter per second squared.

COMPLICATED!

Lets just break that down a little: the number generated from the blower door is the number of times the air volume changes in a house over an hour at 50 pascals of pressure. PHIUS (The U.S. Chapter) requires homes to meet 0.06cfm50 per ft2 to be considered passive. The lower the number, the tighter the home! Some City and County Building departments will also have their own standard for air tightness as well. For example, in the City of Fort Collins a homes air tightness “shall not exceed 3.0 ACH50 (air changes/hour at 50Pascals of pressure) for either gas or electric heated homes” https://www.fcgov.com/building/files/cfc-sfd-air-tightness-testing-protocol-v4.2.pdf?1588951497 This is an important and incredibly useful tool in determining the energy efficiency of a home!

Whew! you’ve made it through that lengthy interpretation of what makes a passive home, passive. By building thoughtfully, we create homes that make an impact in human health, building health and environmental health.

Lyons Bath

Over the winter, we had the opportunity to do a quick project for a friend needing a mother-in-law cottage/AUD (accessory unit dwelling) in Fort Collins. Having watched our process on the Fort Collins project and been a part of several job site talks, our friend wanted the dwelling to be as efficient as possible. The space was previously a garage, and had the interior walls already up. We came in and helped with ventilation, air sealing and the insulation.

As we wrapped up the insulation and got them through their rough inspections, they asked if we would be willing to do their bathroom tile as well, as they really wanted to get the space finished before the spring. They were doing most of the finish work themselves, but felt the pressure to get things wrapped up so that their mother could move in. Below are a couple of interior design renderings we put together to show them what the bathroom would look like. They really appreciated getting to see before hand what the space they were envisioning would look like. After a few adjustments to the original design, we got to work and the completed bathroom turned out fantastic!

MIZIA BATH VIEW 1MIZIA BATH VIEW 2

Above: Concept Drawings to Confirm Tile Look and Layout

IMG_20200130_103631795IMG_20200130_103748451

Above: Installed Tile 

A few of the things that changed were the glass door and the bench, which were a part of the original drawing.

Many homeowners often express that they are not able to imagine their home and the spaces within it based on construction documents alone. This coupled with picking tile, cabinets, fixtures, carpet, even wall colors can become a daunting task during a home build. Having well produced interior design renderings that can show what a space will look like based on the materials being considered and the dimensions called out, are such an important and helpful tool as they can help confirm choices and allow for changes to be made before moving forward with installations or big purchases.

Are you living on the Front Range and thinking about building a new home or an Accessory Dwelling Unit? If so, send us an email at dusty@harrington.build 

Home Design Thoughts

As a new “normal” takes new form and globally we start to shift toward developing new standards and regulations for how we interact, shop, learn and live, it’s worth also considering the place of home design, and for that matter maybe even renovations.

Some ideas that come to mind, stream back to early home design others are new thoughts about how we might shift spaces within our own homes to take on these “new normal” practices.

1. Vestibules: these rooms are more commonly known as “mudrooms” but don’t really function as they had originally. Today they are the catch-all. The mudroom is the place to collect our shoes, seasonal layers, grocery bags, the things needed for kids athletic practices, the place to do laundry, etc. However, in ancient Greece, vestibules were the barrier between one’s home and the outside world. Bringing a true vestibule into home design could give a more private and secure location for deliveries, as well as a holding spot for those who would like to make sure that any deliveries can be cleaned or properly prepared before entering the main living space.

2. Kitchens: Today the kitchen is the meeting place. It’s the spot where dinner and homework get done; where lunch and zoom meetings are happening. We have, over time transformed kitchens from contained work centers into the  most popular gathering place of our homes. In the early 1900’s, when tile and stone became more popular, kitchens were designed with hygiene in mind. Obviously, there is great joy in gathering around food but as we think more toward how to not spread or how slow the spread of illness during social gatherings, having a kitchen that focuses on just the art of cooking and leaving dinning and living spaces as the social spots could be an option that reemerges.

3. Washstand: Is the first thing that comes to mind when reading this, that age old concept of a pitcher in a large bowl? Hand washing is one of the easiest ways to slow the spread of many pathogens, and having a small dedicated sink that reminds your household and guests to do that before continuing into the main area of a home could become a thing, especially as we continue to hear from health officials about the importance of hand washing to slow the spread and see local retail shops putting out their own hand sanitizer stations, that encourage patrons to stop and clean before proceeding into the store, out for use. Having a powder room near the entrance of the home was quite common as private bathrooms and personal hygiene became a popular thing in the 19th century. More commonly, we see powder rooms in a more central part of a home, occasionally next to the kitchen or in between living spaces, but designing one next to the entrance of the home is easy to do and helps remind people to wash up before continuing into the house.

4. Better Home Ventilation: Talk about the next up-and-coming home feature. Instead of bragging about that low flow shower head, or super efficient windows, ventilation systems are going to be all the rage. Why? The cleaner the air in your home is, the healthier not just the occupants but the whole house is. In all of our homes, the ventilation system is just as well thought out as the plumbing or electrical system. Bringing air in, pulling air out, designing around wet locations and areas where there is greater solar gain, being considerate of where air might need to be more regularly refreshed and when makes our homes function efficiently and sustainably!

 

These are of course just some ideas, a way of looking forward to home and interior design!

Interested in discussing a new home build in Northern Colorado? Check out our Welcome! tab for contact information!!

Tile Looks

This post will focus on the tile and stone looks from our Fort Collins project that we wrapped up in September. Our in house designer Dusty helped to make sure that the colors and sizes the homeowners had envisioned with their interior designer during planning, could be sourced and met the budget requirements.

Kitchen

Backsplash: Daltile Clio Mosaics Random in Hera

IMG_20190712_162406007

In our last post we showed off some of the counter tops in the kitchen, such as the waterfall island.  Counter tops: Daltile One Quartz in Morning Frost and Absolute Black Granite. The back splash at the island is the Daltile Portfolio in Charcoal.

waterfall edges

All bathrooms in the house also received the One Quartz Morning Frost for the counter top.

Powder Room

The powder room has a floating cabinet with four drawer fronts however we designed the box to only house two drawers, both the length of the box. Given that it is the powder room, our homeowners felt there wasn’t much need for multiple drawers.  The cabinet wall is floor to ceiling Daltile Clio Mosaics in Hera, the same as the kitchen. On the Floor: Portfolio in Charcoal @ 12×24.

IMG_20190805_100951605.jpg

IMG_20190805_101007912editedIMG_20190805_101102142edited

Master Bathroom

Our homeowners wanted a little color in their master bathroom and to achieve this we went with Dalitle Colorwave Green Parade. It really is a fun accent to the room! On the Shower Walls is Ottimo Elektra Lux and on the Floor is Daltile Avery

IMG_5481IMG_5498edited

IMG_5497edited

Hall Bath

The upper hall bath in our project has Daltile Bee Hive large format hexagon tiles. We used three colors, Grey, White and AshGrey. On the walls is Daltile Cove Creek Off White 4″x16″ tiles. The cabinet in this bathroom is also a floating cabinets with 4 drawers.

IMG_20190703_163437170IMG_20190703_163449465

3rd Master Bath

Several of the tiles in the house were used in multiple locations. For the 3rd floor master bath, Daltile Avery, seen on the floor of the master bath posted above, is used on the walls. Daltile Portfolio Charcoal in 12″x24″ is on the floor and a 6″x24″ at the wall inset. The use of the large format tiles really accentuated the tall walls and gave a lot of character to the space. The shower door is a full swing glass door. The shower wall inset was an idea we had after our homeowners requested a built out shower bench. To save space and avoid any code issues we decided to build into the wall, giving the shower it’s own interesting feature.

IMG_20190703_164136413edited

The mudroom and lower level bathroom in the house used elongated subway tiles, also from Daltile.

IMG_5558IMG_20190722_143531370IMG_5562IMG_20190822_112234378IMG_20190822_112509516IMG_20190822_112137141

Thanks for checking out our tile features!

Next Post: A few photos of the Exterior Details!

 

Stairs!

The stair way from the second to third floor went in a few weeks back. This section of stairway is a floating stairway. The treads will be an oak wrap. The stringer will remain visible and there will also be a custom steel handrail. All the metal work on this project is being done by Curly Metal Fabrication!

Two Flights of StairsAbove: Stair way from entry way to the “basement” level. 

StairWay

Above: Floating Stairway from Second Level to Third level

Stairway 2

We can’t say enough about working with great people, and Ben Curly and his team are great to work with! Below is Andrew welding things together, which I personally was thrilled about because it meant no more hauling materials up and down a ladder!! Woohoo!!

Andrew Welding 1Andrew Welding 2