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.