Looking Around: Berthoud Project

Things are rolling on our Berthoud Project. The cellulose has been blown in and drywall is just about finished. Here is a little peek around the house.

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Standing in the Dinning Room, kitchen to the right.

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Looking out from the Master bedroom toward the Office (where tiny boss is), Living and Dinning rooms. Also looking up to the second level.  

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In the Master bedroom, to the left is the closet and to the right is the bathroom.

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Moving upstairs, we can see a bedroom, bathroom and the beginning of the loft space.

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Here we see the rest of the loft space, a second bedroom is behind the loft wall and then to the right is the mechanical room.

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Looking down out from the loft area toward the entry way where the office is visible.

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Moving back downstairs, this is the kitchen area. To the right is the pantry. Down the hallway is a laundry room, powder and entry into the garage.

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Last we have a panorama from the dinning room looking into the kitchen (to the left) and the living room and entry way. to the far left in the photo you can see the master bedroom door, and in the right corner is the office space. 

Building Seasons

Lets get caught up! Our last post was about some of the features on our Loveland Project. So much has happened since that post. The homeowners have their C.O. and have been moving in and getting settled. We will be back to get some photos to show off just how great it looks at a later time.

It’s funny how each project takes shape like the seasons. The beginning of the project is like Spring. There’s so much to look forward to. There are plans, visions and a lot of enthusiasm. As the project progresses you get to a point in building where there are subs everywhere and things are happening very quickly-much like being in the heat of the Summer. Once the subs have finished, there are finishes to look forward to, it takes shape like Fall-where golden leaves and kitchen sinks, bathtubs, flooring and wall colors bring about a renewed sense of excitement. The last season of building is the final finishes work and then stepping out of the project completly-Winter.

Just like the seasons in Colorado, sometimes we are in winter at one project and spring at another and isnt that just the beauty of it all? Of being a part of so much change and growth!

Currently, we are in Berthoud, CO and the season of building is Spring. Our foundation work is complete, we have framed the floors, walls, set trusses and are ready to start sheathing the roof and start siding. We are gearing up for summer, both figuratively  (see earlier mention) and literally. We have another project in Fort Collins that is just about ready to start breaking ground.

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It’s exciting to be doing what we are doing. To know that at the end of day, the homes we are building can withstand the seasons providing quality and comfort for its homeowners. We are excited and thankful that people continue to reach out to us and are interested in building a highly efficient passive home with us! Cheers to the seasons, may they keep on coming!

Summers End

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Summer is quickly coming to an end. We are happy about the cooler weather, and how well our project in Loveland is progressing. We are looking forward to new projects moving along in their stages of planning and we look forward to hearing from you-when you’re ready to build your dream home.

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/

 

Summer Hustle

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IMG_4693eThese three have been staying busy; unlike the tiny boss chilling in the wheelbarrow above.

Once framing and sheathing wrapped up, we quickly got to work on air/water/vapor sealing, and installing windows, doors, trim and siding.

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The design of the homes exterior incorporates wood, stone and brick. The homeowner had two colors of wood that she stained, one very dark and one very light-you could say it’s black and and white in appearance, but up close there is a lot more color variations including tones of brown and green that help give the homes exterior a very rustic country look.

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Here is a corner photo of the two stains side by side.

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As you can see, there is a lot of character and variation in the color of the siding depending on light and where a person is standing.

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The white siding has also been used as an accent color under some windows. The Cupolas along the roofs ridge provide a bit more character along the gable.

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The rough plumbing and electrical have been completed and we are getting ready to start blowing insulation.

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Just look at that light switch box! We really appreciate the work both the plumbing and electrical contractors have done!IMG_4695e

Here is a photo of the tenting around the fire sprinklers. This is a mandatory step before insulation can be installed. What we are doing, is creating a barrier between the sprinkler line and the cellulose; which will help to prevent/minimize the chance of the line freezing. The netting seen above the line will also be tacked to the studs along the walls, and cellulose will be blown in and dense packed.

Loveland Project Framing Tour: Exterior

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Today we are trying out something new, a video tour of our current project. This video in particular is of the exterior framing. The goal is is give our readers an idea of how the home is shaping up and to also start getting videos out there. It’s all a work in progress! Next week we hope to have a second video of the interior spaces posted.

*This video takes a moment to start playing from the time you press play.

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.

 

Despite the Cold, Up it Goes!

These last few weeks have been primarily dedicated to siding. The homeowner decided to seal the concrete floor and to avoid disturbing its set up, we focused on the siding.

The siding that is going up is Beetle Kill Pine, that has been charred to give it that weathered effect. All the charring was done by the homeowner, as it was his personal project.

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We’ve been at it, despite the winter storm front that moved in last week, making for lots of snow and freezing cold temps.

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A look at the nice south side, with all those windows, allowing for maximum solar gain.


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Up, Up Up it goes!

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Rain or shine, blizzard or not we are on site doing work!

High Performance Buildings + Natural Materials| Straw & Cellulose : A Talk

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If you’re in Colorado, interested in learning a bit more about Passive House building methods, and/or just want more information on Passive House and to meet some of the local folks participating in this type of construction, then this may be your event.

When: Friday, February 13 from 6:00-8:00pm

Where: RMI Boulder Office (address in link)

Who: Presenters Bjorn Kierulf and Andrew Michler

Link: http://www.coloradogreenbuildingguild.org/events/event_details.asp?id=587729&group=

DOE Challenge Home

Is your home a…

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One of the groups we are registered partners with is the Department of Energy. We participate in the “Zero Energy Ready Home” Challenge. This partnership is about recognizing builders who focus their workmanship on  “increasing energy efficiency, improving indoor air quality, and making homes zero energy ready.” (DOE)

Zero energy homes are estimated to be nearly 50% more energy efficient than a typical new home.

Some of the requirements to be recognized as a Zero Energy Home are:

  • Comply with Energy Star for Homes Checklist (more on that in a follow up post)
  • Thermal Enclosure
  • HVAC Quality Install (with a HERS Rating of mid to low 50-depending on home size)
  • Have Energy Efficient appliances and fixtures (Refrigerator toilet, faucets, etc.)
  • Have high performance windows and doors
  • Be certified in the EPA’s Indoor airPlus program
  • Install an efficient hot water distribution system with rapid hot water controls
  • Check out the DOE’s website for complete list!

The goal, that can’t be stated enough, is that we are about building high performance homes, where the efficiency is so great that renewable energy systems (like those listed above) offset most of the annual energy consumption. Think about what this means to you, the home owner for your energy bills. As stated in previous posts, the more efficient your home, the less you spend paying for electric and heating/cooling.

Here’s a link to the DOE Challenge Home site, filled with lots of great information: http://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/zero-energy-ready-home