Visits and signs of a house to come

We love visits and had the fun of sharing our house-in-process with Peter, Catherine, Pam and Jeff during this long Labor Day weekend. We walked through all the spaces in the framed garage, through every “room” (upstairs and downstairs) in our yet-to-be-framed house, to the sand pit (where we imagined what will be), and to […]

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Inspiration at New Forest Farm

Friday afternoon I broke away to visit Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm, near Viola, Wisconsin. It’s a mature permaculture farm where many crops are perennial, little soil is turned each year, and diverse grasses and food plants grow together. Order reigns, but not the kind that keeps food crops separate and bare soil […]

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Looking at how water moves on our land

My work communicating about streams literally came home today. A creek bed winds through the corner of our land near the highway, moving water from fields on the ridge and hillsides, under Highway 16, through the field to the north, and into the Root River. It’s usually a dry creek, but when we get a good rainstorm […]

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Good work on a hot day

We arrived at the site mid-afternoon after Jeff, Tom, Troy and JR had worked a full eight hours. They were winding up; temps have been in the high 90s for a few days, so they’d started early. Tom and JR had the roof nearly covered with waterproof felt, and Troy was sheeting the north wall.

With the second […]

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Garage progress and help from a friend

When I arrived Friday afternoon, peaks were on the trusses, stairways were in, and I could walk through the garage, the storm cellar, the workshop and room above, and the storage area to feel how big they are. It was great—it’s sturdy and quickly becoming our place.

As Jeff filled me in on next week’s plans, Joe Deden arrived […]

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Learning About Lighting & LEDs

The sun is showing itself in all its glory this week, with temperatures in the 90s and humidity that’s wrapping us in a blanket of heavy warmth. At the same time nightfall is coming earlier, hinting at cooler, darker days ahead and nudging us to learn about lighting.

Our current assortment of lights is a haphazard […]

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Framing is underway!

It’s taken a couple weeks for Jeff Vilen and his construction crew to transition from a project they’ve been finishing near the Twin Cities to getting everything in place to raise the walls of the garage, but they’ve done it! Tools, big and small, scaffolding, miscellaneous building materials and more have gradually been put into […]

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Radon pipes, plumbing, and materials

We stopped to check on building materials early yesterday and were surprised to see Matt Swenson drive in. A morning rain muddied up the other job he’d planned, so he seized the moment to install radon pipes. This gave us a chance to talk through cistern installation, the kind of pump we’ll use to get […]

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Materials are piling up!

We’re getting closer! Materials have been arriving over the past week. Roof trusses are piled high and the 1000-gallon cistern is sitting on top of the garage slab, ready to be lowered into the cellar. Advanced Building Center (ABC), of Oronoco, is working closely with Vilen Construction to supply building materials for the framing. Both […]

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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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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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