Heating & Cooling

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 […]

Continue Reading »

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. […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »

Windows, step-by-step…

“Super-insulated houses require ultra-performing windows and doors.” That’s Passive House architect Christi Weber’s opening line regarding windows and doors on the “project overview” page of our Root River House site. “It would be pointless to work on the home’s envelope, only to cut a bunch of holes in it and fill them with low-quality, leaky […]

Continue Reading »


It’s cold, but we’re thankful for a string of sunny, dry, slightly warmer work days. We’re hustling to take advantage of them before the weather shifts, but the next big tasks—like installing the layers of rigid insulation that support the first floor and getting that floor base in place, grading around the house, and installing […]

Continue Reading »

Insulation: Round One

A week ago the crew from Expert Insulation put dense pack cellulose insulation in the exterior cavities of our house. It was an exciting day, and both John and I were there to watch the first of the two-part insulation process. Exciting, you wonder? Well, when you consider that the heating and cooling comfort of […]

Continue Reading »

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 […]

Continue Reading »


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


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.