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.
Congratulations to our sister company, Hugh Lofting Timber Framing, Inc: Hugh Lofting Timber Framing Gains Passive House Certification Company recognized by Passive House Institute US as one of only seven Certified PHIUS Builders in Pennsylvania; passive house project underway in West Chester, Pa. Hugh Lofting Timber Framing, Inc. has been recognized by the Passive House Institute US as a PHIUS Certified Builder, and has a passive house under construction in West Chester, Pa. The PHIUS designation means the company understands passive house principles, has mastered craftsmanship techniques specific to passive houses, and can meet challenges specific to the North American climate. A passive house achieves overall 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. Passive construction does not employ active technologies such as photovoltaics, and can thereby be less expensive when the principles are used alone. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Challenge Home program, passive and active design principles used together can be the best direction toward Net Zero houses. “Hugh Lofting Timber Framing has long been committed to energy and design efficiency,” said founder Hugh Lofting. “The firm has embraced the use of FSC-certified timbers, reclaimed and salvaged woods, and environmentally aware finishes. Attaining PHIUS certification demonstrates to our clients and colleagues that we remain focused on long-lasting, energy-efficient homes and buildings.” A passive house is heated primarily by passive solar gain and by internal gains from people and electrical equipment. Energy loss is minimized through super-insulation and an airtight building envelope. Shading and window orientation help to avoid heat gain, which limits cooling loads. Superior air quality and comfort are accomplished with a heat/energy recovery ventilator. PHIUS Certified Builders have passed a four-day training program and a written exam. There are 45 PHIUS Certified Builders in the U.S. Hugh Lofting Timber Framing, Inc. is one of seven in Pennsylvania. Hugh Lofting Timber Framing presently has a passive house in construction in West Chester, Pa. To find out more on this project, visit the owner’s blog The Winding Path to a Simple Home. The 2,000-square-foot residence includes high-performance Intus windows and a super-insulated structure. Completion is planned for early 2014. The house will stand as a local example of passive house techniques blended with timber frame craftsmanship. About Passive House Institute US Passive House Institute US is a registered 501(c)3. The organization’s goal is to build a network of other organizations and individuals to share expertise, resources, and effort toward goals of energy conservation, sustainability, smart growth, systems thinking in design, and a higher quality of life for all. For more information visit http://www.passivehouse.us.
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!
Sill seal was installed in between the concrete foundation and the sill plate to reduce air infiltration. Sill seal was installed all around the house. A termite shield was installed between the foundation and the sill plates’ wooden components that are joined to the foundation. The termite shield is a metal barrier shaped in a way that diverts water from running down the face of the wall and eliminates the movement of termites from the soil into wood framing members. The garage was framed out with 2×6’s and engineered framing materials to create open and useful spaces. The 2-car garage also has a back portion that is designated for the homeowner’s motorcycle collection. I-joists were installed in the garage to support the bonus room above the garage. The end of the parallel strand lumber (PSL) beam was cut to create the opening for the stairwell. The PSL beam allows the floor to end so that the motorcycle section of the garage is open to the above. PSL’s are strong and have a high load carrying ability. While the garage was being framed out, the crew started on the rest of the house. The garage roof slopes in a way that adds dimension to the roofline and style to the entire structure. This roofline, along with the motorcycle collection, help define the atmosphere of the garage. The beam in the picture below was salvaged from one of the barns on the property. This is just one of the many reclaimed/found items that the owners wanted our design team to incorporate in the design of their house. The beam was repurposed and used to create the entryway from the foyer into the office.
Since HJLCMS broke ground on June 1st on the Hansen House, there has been a lot of progress on site. We wanted to make sure that none of the trees were unnecessarily disturbed by the construction process so signs were placed at drip lines of the trees to protect the root systems. The new driveway was engineered to share a portion of the existing driveway to reduce the footprint of new construction. Gravel was used because it is a permeable surface that allows rainwater to be absorbed and therefore naturally filtered. Once the driveway was complete, the crew excavated the area for the house and dug out the footers. The Hansen House is designed as an energy-efficient building. One of the keys to an energy-efficient building is the use of high levels of insulation. The concrete footers and block foundation both contribute to the super insulated slab and insulated slab ledge. Because heat is lost through foundation walls and concrete slabs, it is important to insulate them. There is 2” rigid foam insulation along the perimeter walls of the block foundation. The foundation is part of the house’s thermal envelope. A clear penetrating sealer has been applied on all perimeter walls from the footers to the tops of walls to damp proof the foundation. The insulated foundation contributes to the conservation of energy and heating and cooling costs and also eliminates potential moisture and mold problems. Check back for the next phase of construction.
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!