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Posts: 261
Reply with quote  #41 
Been following your house project for a while - really impressed with what you have accomplished.  The latest photos are inspiring.

Are you familiar with the RiversongHousewright site?  I think you must be, because I can see many elements of Robert Riversong's design in your house in addition to the truss wall system - things like use of locally produced, minimally-processed materials (like the clapboard siding), celulose insulation, general avoidance of petro-chemical based materials (foam, OSB), passive solar heating with appropriate amounts of south glazing and thermal mass (I like your floor!), simple, exhaust-only ventilation with makeup air vents, even the wood stove.  Riversong resolves the passive solar vs. super-insulation debate by incorporating both, but in a balanced way.  He frequently makes the point that taking any design feature to extremes can result in 'unintended consequences', such as 'what happens to your super air-tight house if there is an extended power outage or if your ERV suffers mechanical failure?'  I recall he designs his structures for 1.5 to 3 ACH/50, so they have good efficiency but will keep healthy IAQ at all times.

I know you're probably busy now that it's spring, but I have a couple questions - (1) I think you mentioned a water-resistant barrier at some point, but what did you use (felt? housewrap?)  Is there 1x strapping or some other type of rainscreen gap between the plywood sheathing and the board siding?  (2) In the photos, I see what look like anchor bolts poking up out of the center of the frost wall foundation, but the walls are built on top of an edgewise 2x6 riser.  Is there a full-width sole-plate under the riser?  (It's hard to tell from the pictures.)  Seems there would have to be something there to attach the wall to the foundation.

I recall you were planning to add a hydronic system for DHW and space heating.  For the space heating part you were going to have radiant walls, rather than tubing embedded in the slab.  I agree that will give you better control than a long lag-time heated slab.  If you're interested, there's a very informative article about solar hydronic heating in Home Power magazine issue 152 (12/12-1/13) by John Siegenthaller, with details about various heat distribution methods.  There are also free-standing radiators available now that are optimized for lower-temperature water, such as provided by solar as opposed to a boiler.  Something there may work for your application.  Thanks - Don C.

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