Roof and Ceiling Insulation Added
October 19 – November 8, 2016
Loft floor is installed and…..
…. ceiling is insulated with cellulose to R90.
Rammed Earth Walls Complete
September 28, 2016
… next comes the loft floor.
More Wall Goes Up
August 22, 2016
First section of wall complete.
This view shows up the beauty of the finished rammed earth wall.
Notice the layer of insulation between the inner and outer rammed earth wythes.
Slab Poured and Wall Construction Begins
July 31, 2016
Rough slab and footing is in.
The formwork is up for the first section of wall.
Pneumatic tampers are used to compact the soil into a rock hard consistency.
Installing Foundation Insulation
July 13, 2016
Once the site has been levelled with a layer of gravel 15” of Insulraft insulation is laid down. This will insulate the concrete slab and footing from the ground.
Rebar, plumbing, and electrical rough ins are installed prior to pouring the rough slab and footing.
The trough for the footing is separated from the slab by 6” of insulation. This layer of insulation will continue up the wall separating the outer rammed earth wythe from the inner wythe providing a continuous thermal break. Notice the fiberglass rebars running from the slab into the footing are used to reduce heat loss.
Construction Begins near Battersea
June 29, 2016
This week was spent grading the site. This is fairly rugged terrain so lots of fill is needed to make the site level.
Building an Affordable Energy Efficient House with Natural Materials
There are two philosophies to building a sustainable house in the green community. The first is to build your house using natural materials such as straw bales, clays, reclaimed timbers, etc. The goal is to use non manufactured materials that have very low embodied energy. The second is to focus on reducing the building’s operating energy, (heating, cooling, and electrical). This approach requires good insulating materials, airtight sealing, (which is difficult to achieve with natural materials), and high performance windows.
Combining the two philosophies is challenging since they often work against each other. It is difficult to achieve airtightness with natural materials alone. Natural materials also aren’t the best choice for insulation. A compromise is to build a hybrid using a mix of natural and manufactured materials. One such approach that shows promise is a house built with rammed earth walls.
Rammed earth is an ancient technique where soil is compacted until it is hard as stone. Besides the benefits of durability and finished beauty, the thermal mass of the walls offers thermal comfort and its own humidity control. By adding adequate insulation to the walls as well as the ceiling, under the slab, and around the footings we are able to obtain efficiencies approaching that of passive house standards.