New home….Passive House

Last week we started work on a really interesting and fun new home project. It is the construction of a new home using the Passive House standards. Passive House standards take home building to a whole new level. With attention to every detail of the home, the unintended air changes per hour are lowered to very low levels. With high levels of insulation, special doors and windows, and other features the homes are designed to use far less energy than a standard home. Our Passive Home project was designed by testudio architects.

Our first task was to demolish the existing home ont he property. This site is a lovely area in rural Rice County, but the existing home had reached the end of its useful life. The house was inspected for hazardous materials and when given the all clear, we arranged for the demolition contractor to crush it and dispose of it in several large dumpsters.

Once the demolition was completed we started on the foundation work. This project uses large quantities of extruded polystyrene foam for insulation under the floor. We excavated about 15″ below the basement floor elevation so we could install a layer of free draining rock. This rock will allow both water and radon to migrate to collection points. Once the rock was compacted and leveled we installed a 2″ layer of polystrene insulation. On top of that insulation we installed a layer of heavy polyethylene as an air and vapor barrier. The polyethylene sheeting had all joints taped and sealed. Then 6″ of polystyrene insulation was installed on top of the sheeting, for a total of 8″ of insulation under the basement floor. On top of the insulation we will lay 8″ of clean sand, then pour the footings and basement floor integral as one complete unit. Stay tuned…