The Construction of a High Performance Home: Week 3

Posted by Tim Biebel on Feb 21, 2017 8:01:00 AM

High Performance Home Foundation

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.

Ironically, we’ll now be missing the cold, snowy (ok, maybe not the snow) weather over the next month. The ten-day weather forecast predicts every day to be above freezing, some of which will reach the mid-forties. This is great working weather, but it poses a real challenge for getting heavy deliveries to the site. In New England, town road agents regularly “post” the roads when mud season decides to hit, limiting the weight of vehicles that can drive on the roads. When the frost is exiting the ground, the road beds become vulnerable to heavy truck traffic and can be severely damaged. To prevent this, big trucks are prevented from using the roads until the frost is gone.

To adapt to the road posting concern, I have moved up the delivery of the trusses (the last heavy load) to March 3rd. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then to be ready for the roof system, but if the weather cooperates it can be done.

Over the past week, the basement walls were poured and the majority of the first floor interior and exterior wall framing was completed here at our shop. The walls are stacked in the yard and await trucking to the site.

The biggest surprise of the week was the sudden rise in temperatures forecasted for the week ahead. This is a real blessing as now we will be able to pour the basement slab without needing to build the walkout walls and floor system before it’s poured. Amazingly, there was no frost in the ground inside the basement space – a real testament to the insulating capabilities of a layer of hay and a blanket of snow.

Monday’s major task will be to prep the basement so the slab can be poured as soon as possible. To do this, a layer of crushed stone must be spread throughout the basement, under slab plumbing completed for a future bathroom, and 4 inches of insulation laid in place. Can we get it all done on Monday? Time will tell how the progress continues in construction of a high performance home. Stay tuned for next week...

Click here to read week 2 update.

Click here to read week 4 update. 

Enjoy the progress pictures:

high performance home in vermont

insulated concrete forms in a high performance home

Pumping Concrete in a High Performance Home

Insulated Concrete Forms for Vermont Homes

Pumping Concrete into Isulated Concrete Forms

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Tim Biebel

by Tim Biebel

Tim Biebel is Vice President of Prudent Living, a leading net zero and energy efficiency building company located in Windsor, VT.

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