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)


  1. The bathroom tile looked really nice in your other post. Having lived there now for a year and the winter upon us again, do you think this stone wall has been helpful as sort of a trombe wall? I have a wall too on which this type of treatment is possible so your experiences would be helpful.

    1. The stone wall next to the living room stairs was put in strictly for aesthetics. The sun definitely shines on it during the winter months when the sun is low in the sky, but I couldn't say whether this would perform better than the sheetrock we were originally going to go with.