In advanced framing, we bridge the corners with ladder blocking instead of the 3-stud corners used in conventional framing. This technique not only uses less wood, but also allows you to get insulation into the corners. The studs are spaced 24 inches on center with single top plates and the roof trusses are “stacked,” meaning there is vertical alignment, to create a direct load path. Advanced framing maximizes the wall cavity space where dense packed cellulose insulation will be blown in, reduces thermal bridging and creates a tighter building envelope.
Today was the initial blower door test at the Kamp Kaolin site. With all the passive house building methods used at Kamp Kaolin, we were very excited and confident going into the test. In the above picture is David Berg (right) of DSB Energy Services and Hugh Lofting (left) are installing the frame of the blower test in a window because the door openings were too large for the frame. Kamp Kaolin came in at 0.88 air changes per hour (ACH) at 50 Pascal, which is very good! After the dense packed cellulose and dry wall are installed this number should go down. The passive house standard is 0.6 ACH at 50 Pascal. Even though the Kamp Kaolin project is not going for certification, we are striving to hit all the passive house standard milestones.
In line with passive house building principles, the airtight building envelope begins at the foundation and is continued throughout the entire construction process and the entire house. The under-slab vapor barrier, the yellow wrap, is placed on top of 2” of EPS insulation and then is covered by an additional 2” of insulation. Basically, the vapor barrier is sandwiched between 4” of EPS insulation. All of the seams are taped to insure an airtight barrier. Rebar is then installed in a checkerboard pattern to reinforce the concrete, prevent cracking, and provide structure for the PEX tubing to be attached to. Finally, the concrete is poured. The yellow vapor barrier will be taped up the side of the house, on top of the wall vapor barrier, on this project, the Zip System, to continue the building envelope. The next post will discuss our advanced framing building techniques.
Scheduled for completion in November 2014, Kamp Kaolin is a high-performance 2,700-square-foot private home on a secluded site in Chester County, PA. HJLCMS collaborated with the homeowners and architect Townsend Moore of Tick Hill Studios. Design and construction for the project are based on passive house principles and building science. Building science focuses on the analysis and control of building materials and building envelope systems. In this case, building science is informing a passive design. Passive houses generally achieve energy savings of 60-70 percent through super-insulation and airtight building envelopes, highly efficient HVAC systems or energy recovery ventilation, high-performance windows, and moisture control. Kamp Kaolin incorporates air and moisture barrier zip systems and super insulation as well as a closed-loop pond geothermal system for extremely efficient heating and cooling. The 2,700-square-foot house also features aging-in-place amenities (roll-in showers, single-floor living), advanced home automation systems (systems and lighting controlled via smart phones and tablets), the warm beauty of timber framing, and integration of indoors and outdoors through an open floor plan with few interior walls, an expanse of windows on the rear of the house that provide pond views, dual rear porches – one open and one screened – and natural, limited-maintenance landscaping.
After the tar paper was installed on the exterior of the Hansen House, the next step was to install the venting network for the siding. Venting behind siding is necessary to prevent the major problems that could arise from trapped moisture. The venting material is cor-a-vent sturdi-strip which runs vertically and cor-a-vent SV-3 which runs horizontally along the exterior of the walls. The sturdi-strips and SV-3 are crush resistant extruded polypropylene core with fluted airways that provide maximum airflow. The SV-3 has an enhanced insect screen to prevent insects from getting in behind the siding. The siding is the HZ5 product line of HardiPlank. The HZ5 products are a special substrate composition designed to perform in climates with freezing temperatures, seasonal temperature variations, snow and ice. Timber bark is the color of the siding with arctic white trim and soffits. The Hansen House has 3 variations to the exterior which give it a unique look. As you approach the house you encounter the stone wall which is a continuation of the original and existing architecture of the farm. When you walk around the to the front the stone fades away to classic siding. This continues along to the side porch. Once you get to the back and side of the garage, the siding makes the final transformation into vertical board and batten. The soffit and trim are HZ5 product line in arctic white. The cupola, where the whole-house fan will be installed to exhaust hot air from the house and for air circulation, has the same siding, soffit and trim as the rest of the house. The main roof of the Hansen House is shingled while the porches and overhangs have standing seam metal roofs.
White PVC pipes run under the slab where the domestic hot and cold running water tubes are housed and run. These plumbing tubes are part of the Hansen House’s wet wall, a structural wall designed to house plumbing pipes for fixtures like sinks, dishwashers, washing machines and toilets. The tubes are connected into the manifold and then distributed throughout the house to the designated fixture. Consolidating plumbing in a single wall increases efficiency as well as cutting down on building costs. The black PEX tubes are for the radiant floor heat which also run to the manifold where the water will be heated by an electric water heater. The PEX tubing was attached to the rebar which was laid out in a checkerboard pattern on top of the foundation’s 4″ of insulation. Then concrete was poured to form the slab. The kitchen island location and outline were marked by tape on the floor for reference points. After the plumbing tubes were all in place, the cellulose insulation could be sprayed. Netting was installed on ceilings and walls to hold the blown in cellulose in place. The netting was used so that the drywall would not have to be installed before the insulation was blown in, which could cause moisture problems. The windows and doors were covered with plastic to be protected during the spray insulation process. Polyurethane, the yellowish material, was sprayed to seal any plywood seams to ensure a tight building envelope. Because the insulation is blown in an excess of material tends to accumulate; therefore, while one person blows in the cellulose another person vacuums it up where it is sent back to the truck and recycled back through the process. The metal braces seen in the picture below are part of the t-bracing which prevents lateral movement. Rigid foam was added to the cavity so that settling of the insulation was minimized and controlled.
The black tar paper around the window openings is for durability and to protect the window sills. As you can see below, the corners of the openings have water and ice shield for further protection. The InLine Fiberglass windows are triple pane low-e casements with fold down cranks and colonial grids between the window panes. All of the windows in the Hansen House have white exteriors and Oak laminate interiors, except for the windows in the garage which have brownstone exteriors and Oak laminate interiors. Using the window orientation as a reference point to help determine where the sconce should go, our Project Manager had the great idea to put the sconce on a 2×4 and have the homeowner move it up and down the wall to help him visualize where he wanted it placed. These exterior shots show the timber framed side porch, without the roof on it yet, and the installed windows. The Marvin Integrity Center Hinge French Doors with sliding screen are found on by the side porch and off of the front of the great room. This custom entry door’s arch matches the arches of the existing barn and mill house. The arched door is located under the timber framed entry way which is part of the wrap around front porch. The next post will cover the spray cellulose insulation so check back to learn all about it!
The reclaimed stone for the Hansen house was found on the property. The original owners had purchased the stone from a church was that being dismantled because it matched the stone used for the original farmhouse. KeeneStone cut 1” is a 3-dimensional drainage device for 1.0” masonry cavity wall applications. They are designed to catch and hold mortar droppings while allowing moisture to pass through and drain out of the wall as well as suspending mortar drippings above the weep holes to prevent the drainage channels from becoming blocked or clogged. The marble cornerstones are also reclaimed from the property. On some of these marble pieces, the drill holes from the original mining process. The masons from Stonescapes, Inc. did a beautiful job on both the chimney and the stone walls as seen in these amazing detail shots. The arched door matches the radius of the doorways in the barn and the well house. These exterior shots show the craftsmanship of the masons and a quick preview of what is to come. Check back for the next update on the installation of the windows.
The fireplace insert is a Mendota Gas Fireplace. Mendota Gas Fireplaces offer BurnGreen technology featuring environmentally friendly practices such as adjustment of heat and blower output, which allows the user to conserve fuel. To maximize combustion efficiency and preserve indoor air quality, the direct vent design uses 100% outside air for combustion. Once the fireplace was connected and tested then the framework for the stone chimney could be constructed. The face of the fireplace was protected while the custom stone chimney was built around it. Local stone artisans from Stonescapes Inc. were the masonry contractors who created this beautiful chimney. The chimney is two stories high and extends through the second story loft. The combination of wood and stone provide beautiful details. The stone was reclaimed from around the property.