Sunday, October 28, 2012

We Are In

We did it. Our move went well and we have been residents of OCPH for 4 days now. We are still unpacking and finishing constriction details but we are so glad to be here. And just in time for hurricane Sandy to blow through. School has already been canceled for tomorrow and they are predicting downed trees and power outages. Unfortunately one of the details left to be finished is the installation of our back up generator. Ironic. I'm still happy to be here. I'll post more later about Passive House life. For now, here are some photos of the new digs.

Good luck to everyone during the storm. Stay safe.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Move In Date Is Set

There has been a flurry of activity at OCPH to get us ready for our move in next week (knock on wood. I don't want to jinx it.) The ERV and heat pump are ready to be tested. The kitchen and bathrooms are functional minus hot water. The on-demand hot water system will be installed tomorrow. Eventually the DIY solar hot water system will  be the precursory system, then if necessary, the on-demand system will kick in to heat the water the rest of the way. The DIY hot water system is half finished and temporarily back burnered to more immediate projects. Paul has been busy building closet interiors, finishing wood trim and installing the cork flooring in the basement.  The next step to completing the system is to solder the copper piping to create the collection coil to place in the panel. This requires space in the garage which is currently the staging area for many other projects like cutting wood trim and refinishing furniture, my project for the past two days.

The beautiful staircase has been hoisted into place. It weighs about a thousand pounds even without the steel hand rail. It is an example of true craftsmanship.

It has been chilly the past few days. When we arrive at 7:30 the house is toasty warm because we have closed the windows at night. We are installing a beautiful stone veneer wall opposite the southern windows. It's intention was decorative but it may have the added benefit of acting as a thermal mass.  In the winter months the sun hits the stone which absorbs the sun's heat during the day, releasing it into the house at night.  I touched the wall where it was in the sun for an hour today and it was toasty warm. Beautiful and functional.

About a week ago, Paul flipped the big red switch that put our solar panels online. We are generating electricity and sending it to the grid since all that's currently pulling power in the house is the empty fridge and a couple of lights, power tools and a radio so we have tunes while we work. When we move in with our computers and TVs, run the ERV and start using the appliances we will see how well we do in our energy balance.

There are tons of finishing details like light fixtures, towel bars, touch up paint, door knobs, etc.  A final list was made during a walk through today with Janet, our builder/project manager. We are cutting it pretty close but I have faith that we will be moving into our fabulous new Passive House next week as scheduled. (knock wood, you know Murphy's law)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Counters and Tiles and Stairs, Oh My!

It has been a busy couple of weeks at our Connecticut Passive House. The folks from Ageis Solar finished up the installation of the PV solar system and in what felt like a ceremonial gesture, we were presented with a binder containing the manual. As soon as the town building inspector comes and the CL&P meter is swapped out with a two way meter, we can flip the big red toggle switch and will be in the solar electricity generating business. The system was tested for few minutes a couple of weeks ago and according to the meter we generated one kW hr of power (it read 000001).

The tile installer has finished the bathroom tile and it turned out beautifully. The vanities will go in tomorrow.

The kitchen counter tops were installed today. I love them. They are a wonderful swirly granite that really compliment the organic feel of the decor.

Our custom staircase is being assembled tomorrow. It was designed by Jamie Wolf of Wolfworks. It is a great centerpiece to the house. It has a real industrial feel with ash wood stringers and 4" thick open treads contrasting the metal railings and hardware.

Thick stair treads

Paul and I have been busy at the house every day. We designed and built custom closet interior for the boy's closets. We spent lots of time clear coating all of the wood trim. I wood filled every nail hole in every baseboard in the house. Tomorrow we cut and hang the pantry closet shelves.

The weather is starting to get a little chilly in Southern New England. We have been keeping the windows of the house open during the day while we work. The ERV is not turned on yet. Still too much construction dust. All of these photos were taken with natural light. The light fixtures go in next week. This is a bright sunny house and I anticipate that we will be toasty warm this winter. That statement is a demonstration of my faith in Passive House design. I guess we'll know soon enough.