Hey now! Despite the blizzard of the century, perhaps even the history of the universe, great progress was made on the project last week. The windows were delivered to the site the day after the storm, before we even had a chance to dig out and were all in their final resting place by noon on Friday. The interior framing is 98.37% completed and this high performance home is ready for plumbing and wiring.
With the roof framing completed and the waterproof membrane in place, the focus has turned to finishing the interior framing so the electricians and plumbers can move in and begin their work. Once that’s completed, the crew will move back outside and complete a few minor framing items, like the two car garage.
As we continue with our discussion about (affordable zero energy homes) and High Performance Construction Methods, our subject for today’s blog will focus on a very important connection point where double-stud exterior walls intersect with the roof system. Here is where a lot of energy treatments must be installed correctly. Unfortunately, the temptation for many builders is to get the roof on as quickly as possible and it’s all too easy to skip right on by and then attempt to do it later. Sadly, some things just can’t be done as well later.
The completion of week five leaves us with a partially finished roof system and the garage concrete not yet poured. The roof trusses, which were dropped off Monday morning, had to be set by hand (mostly) because the crane could not be on site long enough thanks to the load limits on the roads. I’ve beat the load limit topic to death, so I don’t need to expand on that any more. The garage foundation for this high performance home in Vermont was supposed to be poured on Friday morning, but ironically the weather turned too cold after the warm spell we’ve experienced. I’ve beat the weather topic to death as well. The Caribbean seems like a nice place to visit right now.
We’ve discovered that a double 2x4, balloon framed, exterior wall with dense pack insulation performs at the highest level - satisfying both demands of thermal and fire blocking performance and cost effectiveness. Not only that, the less I depend on using foam, the more relaxed my clients seem to be when building affordable zero energy homes.
At the risk of sounding more like a blog about the weather than one about the construction of a high performance home, I will keep the weather comments brief. Here’s the skinny: the weather changed our schedule yet again!
I grew up in a big old house on Main Street in the historic section of Windsor, VT. It was four stories high on the backside. I’m not sure what type of architectural style to call it. Some would say that it was just a large vintage New England home with wrap around porches, high ceilings, and a rather huge, slate-covered, mansard roof that was punctured by dormers on three sides, making the attic a special place for this kid to play.
Weather is a fickle thing. One minute it’s snowing, and the next minute it’s snowing again. Then, just like that, it starts snowing again. This week, we received over eighteen inches of snow, which buried our hopes and production expectations for the week. Nevertheless, when I left the site Friday afternoon, the concrete was being poured into the insulated concrete forms that make up the basement walls. The fact that even that was even able to be completed was a real accomplishment with all the weather setbacks experienced during this week in the construction of a high performance home.
Winter has returned with a vengeance, which only adds to my already growing disdain for it. February is the worst. Next month, March will be the worst.
To keep any house affordable, efficiency during the construction process is key. A high-performance wall assembly is no exception. There are multiple ways to construct a high-performance wall, but which one makes the most sense from a cost standpoint when building an affordable zero energy home?