Radon gas abatement

Site work was minimal this week; our excavators made a return visit to finish filling the house foundation with washed gravel—four inches is necessary for the radon abatement system. Before the floor insulation is installed, plumbers will dig a network of 4-inch perforated pipes into the gravel; this allows radon gas to escape through the […]

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Sand in the cellar

We woke up early today and headed out to move some sand in our storm/root cellar before rock goes into open areas in the floor this week.

We designed this space for shelter from storms, but also to keep garden food fresh all winter and to hold a 1000 gallon rain water collection tank. Water […]

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Concrete floors

There was plenty to do, but I picked up my camera and went to the site to watch the Koball’s crew and Croell Redi-Mix pour and finish our garage and cellar floors. It was fun to watch the crew fall into an easy, synchronized rhythm and get the job done, almost without a word.


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Preparing for the garage slab

Randy Koball and crew arrived on site today to finish filling, tamping and laying rebar for the garage slab. In the cellar, under the south end of the garage, they built framing for the floor, about half of which will be poured; the remaining floor will be filled with gravel to allow a more natural […]

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Staying with the details

Today it was about as humid as it can be without rain—and hot. About 8 p.m. I went to measure the amount of sand inside our garage foundation and the distance of the radon pipe conduit from the north cellar wall. Hmmm…How much more sand is needed to support the garage floor? Will the cellar […]

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Gradually powering up

Viking Electric returned today to finish the work they’d begun yesterday on burying conduit from where the main electrical service panel will be located in the garage, under the breezeway, and into the house. Scott and his crew also finished installing temporary power next to the garage to support contractors’ work in the weeks ahead. […]

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Burying the plumbing

STS Plumbing is back on site today to set and bury the rest of the plumbing lines needed under the house. Unlike houses built with a basement where you can conceivably access mechanical runs to the first floor, our house is being built on-grade (no basement or crawlspace), so there’s no ‘second chance’ for certain […]

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Appliances 1-0-1

Site work is scheduled to resume later in the week when plumbers and electricians return to bury more pipe and conduit just ahead of the final concrete work and gravel back-filling within the house foundation.

In the meantime, Nancy (especially) and I have been working to get ahead on other details, this past weekend focusing […]

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Backfilling, drain tile, and Nancy’s rock

A busy day today as our excavator, Stan, and crew returned to begin back-filling around the foundation. We’re lucky to have a ready supply of sand from a corner of our property that leads into an old sand/gravel pit—an area we’re ‘reclaiming’ into something that will more closely resemble its natural surroundings. Digging, hauling and […]

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Waterproofing the cellar

The June monsoons appear to be over and work resumed today—a week later than we’d hoped. Vilen Construction is back on site to waterproof the foundation walls around the cellar. We’re using a material not routinely used to waterproof residential foundations in this area; Volclay panels are a “biodegradable kraft board filled with […]

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Lanesboro, Minnesota
Climate Zone 6 (cold/moist)
Latitude: 43° 44' 18'' N
Longitude: 91° 54' 48'' W

House Size

Net Treated Floor Area: 1,514 SF
Gross Square Footage (House only): 2,210 SF

Building Envelope

Roof: R-99
Wall: R-61
Ground: R-53

Windows & Doors

Glazing: U-0.10 BTU / hour / sq. ft.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): 0.48”
Frame: U-0.19 BTU / hour / sq. ft.

Modeled Performance

Specific Primary Energy Demand (Source Energy Demand): 12.1 kBTU / sq. ft. / year

Specific Space Heat Demand: 7.0 kBTU/sq. ft. / year

Peak Heating Load: 7,047 BTU / hour

Space Cooling Demand: 0.44 kBTU / sq. ft. / year

Peak Cooling Load: 3,625 BTU / hour

Pressure Test Goal: Whole House Air Changes Per Hour (ACH) = 0.4 ACH 50


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