Introducing The Hansen House

Introducing the Hansen House – HJLCMS’s newest project. On June 1st HJLCMS broke ground on our newest project in Chester County, PA, the Hansen House.   This is one of the several projects HJLCMS has going on during this busy spring and summer.   In line with the mission statement of HJLCMS, this project will be built around sustainable systems incorporating the highly energy-efficient green technology standards we at HJLCMS hold ourselves to. In the early stages of planning and siting the Hansen House, HJLCMS and the Owners performed a careful evaluation of the solar access, water resources, vegetation, soils and other important natural areas of the site.  The information they gathered helped to guide not only the actual location of the house but also some key design elements of the house.  For example, the house is designed to utilize passive solar heating, day lighting and natural cooling.  Because of this careful planning, there has been minimal site disturbance and all the topsoil will remain on site to be used later in the construction process. Make sure to check back soon for our next post on the Hansen House!

Under Construction – KSQ Barn/Carriage Shed Update 2

HJLCMS has been very busy finishing up the KSQ Barn/Carriage Shed. The last update ended with the exterior being prepared for the siding and the installation of the standing seam metal roof. However, before the siding could go on, the windows had to be installed and the electric had to be run. Once the windows were in and the electric had been run, the siding could be installed. The material for the exterior finish is rough sawn board and batten for the first story and a cedar shake for the second story, upper gables and cupola. While this was going on, one of the HLTF crew members was building the cupola in our shop. The cupola was then transported to the job site where it was finished with cedar shakes and standing seam metal roofing.  This cupola is not solely ornamental, as it will function as passive climate control as well as house the ventilating fan. The cupola was then flown into place with the crane. Check back for the next update.

Under Construction – KSQ Barn/Carriage Shed Update

Hugh J. Lofting Construction Management Services, LLC (HJLCMS) is currently working on completing the construction of a timber framed carriage shed that had been raised by its sister company, Hugh Lofting Timber Framing, Inc. (HLTF).  Once the HLTF crew had completed raising the two-story 24×36 Oak timber frame, HJLCMS took the reins and began enclosing the structure. The frame sits upon an insulated concrete slab, which contains pex tubing for a radiant heat system.  This heated floor along with the tightly insulated walls should allow the homeowner a comfortable working environment even in the dead of winter. The 1×10 Eastern White Pine tongue & groove roof decking was the first component of the built up wall system to be installed on the timber frame skeleton. As the decking was going down, felt paper was applied to protect the roof decking from the elements. Once the roof was ‘dried-in’, the interior finish made up of 1×10 tongue & groove, eastern white pine was applied to the exterior side of the timbers to complete the first layer of the built up wall system. The white pine 1×10 T&G applied to the outside of the carriage shed beautifully highlights the exposed timber frame. Once the white pine decking was in place, the rigid foam insulation was then ready to be applied to the entire structure. The two layers of 2” EPS rigid foam board is the insulation for the carriage shed.  These two layers are staggered to offset the seams, which will help to reduce air infiltration. Lath, which acts as a nailing surface for the exterior siding, is applied directly to the rigid foam insulation. The added air space from the lath is helpful as it allows any moisture that may find its way behind the siding to dry out.  The second story siding will be cedar shakes while the first story will be 1×12 board and batten. In preparation for the cedar siding, the lath on the second story will be installed horizontally across the vertical members creating a breathable lattice framework. The standing seam metal roof is 24-gauge steel with a medium bronze finish. Check back for more updates as the construction process continues.

Off-The-Grid Home

Just south of Annapolis, Maryland HJLCMS constructed an off-the-grid home.  Tucked far back from the road the property enjoys the peace and quiet of farmland views and a backdrop of forest. But don’t let the bucolic surroundings or the craftsman appearance fool you. This new residence is a thoroughly up-to-date, sustainable home filled with cutting edge technology that had a very aggressive mission – provide a modern lifestyle for a family of four while minimizing their footprint on the Earth. This project’s environmental highlights include:
  • Creating a beautiful structure that brings joy for many generations
  • Generate all electricity on-site
  • Source all domestic and landscape water from rainwater capture or on-site resources
  • Maintain all storm water on-site through capture or infiltration
  • Use of local tradespeople and utilizing natural, local and/or recycled materials
  • Minimize construction disturbance and waste
  • Create and maintain a healthy indoor environment
  • Off-the-grid living
HJLCMS and Hugh Lofting Timber Framing (HLTF) designed and built the home to work with the Earth.  “The house is sited to maximize passive solar gain in the winter but is designed to be shaded from too much sun in the summer,” says Hugh Lofting, company president. Concrete floors and a real fireplace, made from Avondale Quarry stone, were used to create a thermal mass to maximize passive solar heat gain. Coupled with tight construction and a seamless blanket of insulation is a solar thermal heating system installed by Radiant Comfort Systems that utilizes the heat energy of the sun to warm the in-floor radiant system.

South facing wall, designed for maximum solar gain

For those few really cold days, peak-heating demand can be met with two wood burning stoves and a geothermal heat pump.

This is where the wood stove now sits.

All three floors of the home contain radiant heat.  The basement and the first floor are hand troweled concrete which is stained then polished. Both locally sourced labor and material were used to help bolster LEED rating points.  Additionally the recycled content of the concrete was traced and documented to gain additional points. Local, yet nationally recognized, company Hyde Concrete was contracted to transform the concrete from a gray slab of material to a finished product with deep tones of color to create a warm atmosphere.

Hand troweled concrete floors

From the warm leather tones in the finished basement entertainment area to the accents in the terra-cotta first floor the polished concrete brings a modern touch to the home.

Stained and polished concrete floor.

The same solar thermal system provides domestic hot water to the home.  The domestic water system is backed up with a propane fired instant hot water system for peak demand. The hot, humid summers of coastal Maryland posed a comfort challenge.  The home is positioned to take advantage of prevailing winds for natural ventilation and is equipped with large, high-efficiency, operable windows throughout.

Positioned for prevailing winds and natural ventilation

The mechanical system includes passive nighttime cooling through the solar thermal panels with a geothermal heat pump as back up. Regardless of the mode of operation, a healthy indoor air is maintained via Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) that efficiently maintains temperature while introducing fresh air. In addition to using ERV, the home utilizes the radiant system to cool the home.  Radiant cooling along with minimal ducting help control the humidity and allow the home to be comfortable in the summer. HJLCMS utilized a systems approach to construction that reduced site generated waste and construction time while increasing quality control.  The precast concrete foundation wall system from Ideal Walls provides an R-23.5 at the basement walls. The timber frame crafted in the HLTF shop is enveloped by Murus Company Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) that provides R-40 insulation on the walls and roof. Although there are a number of windows on the south wall for solar gain, windows on the other faces are limited and all windows are high-efficiency Serious Windows, series 700 or 900, providing at least an R-5.6 and SHGC of .21.  Energy modeling shading simulation software was used to determine the most efficient percentage of window area to wall for the North, South, East and West walls. This Off-The-Grid house has exceeded expectations with its performance and intuitive design.  The homeowners are thrilled that their dreams of an up-to-date, sustainable home filled with cutting edge technology have come true without having to sacrifice their craftsman style aesthetic.  This house proves that modern technology can be used in any style home.

New Project Under Construction – Kennett Square Barn

The latest HJLCMS project to begin construction is the Buzzard Barn in Kennett Square, PA, right in our backyard! The timber frame structure will be made from locally sourced mixed Oak that has been planed for a smooth, almost furniture grade appearance.  The wood will be stained with Land Ark, an eco-friendly natural finish. So far we have dug and laid the foundation.  The foundation is a block wall that also acts as a retaining wall. The block cores are filled solid to handle the lateral pressure created by the grade. The insulated concrete slab and block walls establish the barn as a well-insulated, conditioned structure.  There is a radiant heat system contained in the concrete slab.  A sound foundation is the best start. The Hugh Lofting Timber Framing timber frame is currently in the lay out phase. It actually went right into lay out the day it arrived at our shop, the crew wasted no time for the frame to start production. The hand cut timber frame is already producing a lot of sawdust, which goes right into our wood burner that heats the radiant floor in our shop and keeps us warm all winter. This barn contains many more sustainable features, including built-up wall and roof systems and a cupola that provides passive climate control.  Check back for more progress pictures!

LEED for Home Silver Certified Residence

This Kennett Square, PA residence is a hybrid construction bringing together timber framing with Structural Insulated Panels to form a framework that rests on a Superior Wall Foundation.  Built almost entirely off-site, little waste was generated during construction. The focus of the design and construction team was to reduce the home’s impact on the environment by sourcing materials locally and with high recycled content, minimizing site disturbance, installing energy and water efficient systems and appliances, installing native plant landscaping and implementing innovative green building techniques that include installing a sedum planted roof, natural ventilation and rain gardens for on-site stormwater recharge. The Kennett Square, PA Residence earned Silver Certification from the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes program.  Constructed in 2007-2008, the home was the first LEED for Homes certified residence in Chester County, PA.  The home was also awarded Energy Star home certification with a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating of 51, 34 points below the Energy Star target threshold. Sustainable elements in this residence: Foundation Superior Walls precast concrete foundation Xi (X-tra insulation) system with crushed stone footing system for basement and crawls space areas.  All concrete for slab footers and foundation contains either blast furnace slag or coal fly ash in 25% in mix. Basement, Garage, Crawl Space & Common Building Slab 4” concrete slab to contains either blast furnace slag or coal fly ash 25% in mix.  Entire slab insulated with 2” rigid foam with 6-mil polyethylene vapor barrier. Floor System Weyerhaeuser Trus Joist TJI Timberstrand LSL floor joist system and Timberstrand rim board.  Subfloor is ¾” T&G Advantech OSB. Radiant Floor This house boasts radiant heat floors, with multiple zone controls.  The homeowner can tailor room temperatures to suit each areas specific heating requirements.   Wall System Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) nominal 4.5” (two 7/16” OSB Skin) 3 11/16” polyurethane XPS structural core R-26 manufactured by Foard Panel, panels are XPS structural. Siding and Exterior Finish Siding is new rough sawn cypress, a rapidly renewable resource.  Moisture shield system consists of paper and cedar breather. Fieldstone walls and pavers constructed of local stone from the Avondale Quarry.  Blue stone paving material is from local sources for patio and walkways. Roof Framing SIP’s are nominal 6.5” (two 7/16” OSB Skin) 5 11/16” polyurethane EPS structural core R-40 manufactured by Foard Panel. Roofing All pitched roof areas are Galvalum standing seam metal roofing with paper and cedar breather underlayment.  The flat roof area is white reflective membrane material EPDM by Firestone and is planted out using Weston’s Green Grid roof containment system. Windows and Exterior Glass Doors All glazing is Loewen Heat Smart Plus 1 Energy Star rated U value of .33.  All exterior windows and doors are flashed with galvanized flashing and sealed with Grace “Vycor Plus” self-adhered membrane. Building Insulation Cor-Bond open cell spray foam installed over garage under second floor bedroom space, at joint between Superior Wall and Panels, at first and second floor joint and around al window and door penetrations.  Ceiling of garage augmented with Green Guard Knauf Industries R-19 batt insulation.  Flat roof areas built up with double layer of sheet insulation.  Ceiling of basement insulated with Green Guard Knauf Industries foil faced R-19 batt insulation.  Walls of heated areas of basement insulated with Green Guard Knauf Industries kraft faced R-13 batt insulation. Gypsum Wall Board & Adhesives Flu-gas gypsum wall board (GWB).  As many construction adhesives as possible were low VOC solvent free products. Interior Trim            All baseboard trim in lodge building, entry and basement and all door casting in-house are painted poplar from trees milled on property. All baseboards in first and second floors of remainder of house are FSC certified reclaimed heart pine to match flooring. Interior Doors Interior doors are solid wood FSC certified. Interior Finishes All paint is zero VOC, low odor and silica free product.  All stains and clear finishes are low VOC solvent free products. Flooring The lodge building features FSC reclaimed antique barn wood flooring finished with Tung Oil and a coat of polyurethane for finish.  At the fireplace hearth are paver bricks reclaimed from the Baltimore Depository/Mint.  The entry is tiled with African Slate, installed by a local tile company.  The remainder of the house features FSC reclaimed heart pine finished with Tung Oil and a coat of polyurethane for finish. Lighting Fixtures Many lighting fixtures are energy star rated, capable of accommodating compact fluorescent light bulbs, on dimmers or low voltage. Ceiling Fans All ceiling fans are energy star rated. Bathroom Fans All bathroom fans are Panasonic WhisperGreen with SmartAction. Plumbing All plumbing fixtures are high efficiency low flow fixtures (lavatory <2GPM, showerhead <2GPM).  All domestic water piping is PEX tubing.  Two Noritz Model N-084M Power Vent on demand propane water heaters. Kitchen Cabinets are made with FSC certified wood with natural, no VOC organic finishes and no urea formaldehyde.  The countertops are soapstone and wood. Fireplace The fireplace is constructed of Avondale Quarry stone with outside combustion air supply and damper system. HVAC System Heat on first floor, garage and 1/3 of basement is a combination of in-floor, staple down and staple up 4-zone radiant system utilizing a propane fired Munchkin Vision II boiler.  The boiler has 96% combustion efficiency.  Heat on second floor is a 1-zone forced air system fired by the Munchkin Vision II boiler.  Air conditioning is provided by two separate American Standard systems: one with one zone is a 16 SEE, 2.0 ton system, on with three zones is a 16 SEER, 4.0 ton system.  All metal duct joints sealed with tape or mastic as appropriate.  All flex duct sealed with tape or mastic.  All wall cavity returns are lined with thermonpan.  All floor registers sealed to keep out dust.

Hugh J. Lofting Construction Management Services, LLC

Hugh J. Lofting Construction Management Services, LLC (HJLCMS) was founded in 2007 as a construction management company that provides general contracting services for residential projects focused on sustainability.  HJLCMS focuses on building services for clients who desire high-efficiency, sustainable homes.  Working with architects or designing projects in-house, we strive for energy-efficient, tight structures.  We start off the process by assembling the design team and the clients to share ideas and set sustainability goals, including life style and home efficiency goals, for both the home and project site.  Through our charette based process, HJLCMS brings together key elements of the building team including the electrician, plumber, HVAC mechanic, engineer, architect and landscape designer before breaking ground, to ensure the smoothest building process.  HJLCMS has a strong commitment to creating sustainable homes; we have completed projects including a green roof, geothermal wells, rainwater catchment, and solar power.  HJLCMS has completed a LEED for homes Silver Certified residence in Kennett Square, PA and an off-the-grid residence in Annapolis, MD, which is LEED registered.