Brrr…(part 2)

When I first used that headline back on December 1st (the first day of ‘winter’, according to the record-keepers), little did we know – or even expect – we’d be building during what is now officially the 5th coldest ‘meteorological winter’ ever (December 1 – February 28, as defined by the NWS – National Weather […]

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Connecting through Zola

If it’s not art, you don’t typically find me raving about stuff. I’m not much of a shopper and I like to spend my time gathering and connecting with people, getting outdoors, or digging into projects. But I have to say that we are wowed by our windows and doors.

Many times during the past […]

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Dense-pack cellulose + sheetrock

In late October a crew from Expert Insulation filled and packed the outside six-inch cavity of our house walls with cellulose insulation. In January they came back to fill the attic with 30 inches of loose-fill cellulose. Just 10 days ago they were back again to pack the interior cavity of our exterior walls with […]

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Super systems, amazing people

We’re in the depths of the longest, coldest, snowiest winter southeast Minnesotans have seen for years. The photo below was taken on February 5. A few things have changed on the exterior of the house since then, but the view was much the same yesterday—white sky, blustery wind, and several more inches of soft, mounded white everywhere. […]

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Why high-performing windows?

We are excited to see that the Root River House is progressing so well, and that the window and door installation is complete. The windows they’ve installed dramatically outperform traditional U.S. windows, and John and Nancy have asked me to describe why. Can we really not buy a good window here in the States? Why […]

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How airtight is the house?

Our car thermometer dropped to -28 degrees Fahrenheit as we drove through the Root River valley on our way to the house Tuesday morning. Steam rose from areas of icy water flowing over river rapids, somehow underscoring the irony that we were about to test just how air-tight the construction is that will insulate us […]

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Why use a Larsen truss wall?

As I explained in the Project Overview, this house employs an interior, site-made Larsen truss to create a double wall system that will virtually eliminate thermal bridging through the building envelope.

Green Building Advisor explains thermal bridging as follows: “Thermal bridging occurs wherever assembly components with low R-values relative […]

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Interior framing

Temperatures are rising, but snow still squeaked under my boots as I walked to the house Thursday morning. Inside I found Jeff, Troy and Scott beginning the day’s work with interior framing, which has been the focus on many of these bitter cold days.

All of the interior walls are now framed, upstairs and downstairs. The four-inch cavity between the OSB sheathing (continuous […]

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Installing a unique insulated floor system

Through early December, we stepped into the house and into a hole. It was like being a child in a giant’s house, standing on tip-toe or jumping up to see out, with ceilings extra high.

The extra depth was there because we’ve chosen to install a 13-inch insulated subfloor system directly on the ground, over a six-inch layer of […]

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Bitter cold descends

Shortly after our last post, temps dropped drastically. Just in time—the day before, and as the deep freeze moved in—the roofers moved their scaffolding and backfill went in around the foundation. Excavator Stan Hongerholt set records for work accomplished in one day! Below, John and Stan made plans and John shoveled fill under the front […]

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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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