Placing the forms

It’s a quiet, cool, overcast morning as I arrive at the site around 8. Our ‘neighborhood’ wildlife have been up for hours, but still linger; songbirds singing, an owl ‘hooting’ across the valley, a deer or two strolling along the edge of the woods and into the nearby fields. It’s easy to imagine how the mornings will greet us during our first spring in the house next year, and how we’ll gradually ease into those days—but today, there’s no ‘easing’ into things as there’s work to be done.

Within a few minutes, the first couple of trucks arrive from Koball’s, loaded with foundation forms and a crew that immediately begins unloading, placing forms in their respective places around the house perimeter, and then one-by-one beginning the daylong process of linking them together. Curt’s our lead guy today, reviewing plans with the plumber and me regarding where chases and sleeves need to be inserted, giving directions to his crew, and then jumping into the thick of things himself setting up the tall cellar walls.

The house itself has no basement as it’s an on-slab design, but living in the northern part of the Midwest’s ‘tornado alley’—where warm, moist summer days can be met with surges of cold, dry northern air, resulting in intense thunderstorms and tornados—a storm shelter was high on our list of priorities. And because we’re avid vegetable gardeners, a root cellar was also on the list; so we combined the two into a storm/root cellar below the shop end of the garage. Small by traditional basement standards, but fairly large for a storm/root cellar, the cellar will also house a cistern for collecting rain water, as well as the first stop for our domestic well water (water softener and any future treatment or pressure tank needs that pop up).

Nine-foot-plus forms are set for the cellar, while four-foot foundation walls will support the rest of the garage and house, sitting on top of the 8-inch footings poured last week.

By day’s end, the forms are all set; the crew will return in the morning to square things up and pour. All’s well!



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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