Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reading Material

I have a problem with collecting things. I try NOT to collect stuff, but still things accumulate. This tends to happen when I am obsessed with something as I am now preparing to build a house.

The objects I have been collecting so far are reading materials. Example, here is a stack of books I have been studying.

I feel like I need to learn Google SketchUp so I can better communicate my ideas, but learning a new computer program is not my idea of fun.

Below are some of the magazines I read. I love Fine Homebuilding and Journal of Light Construction. One day both issues came out on the same day. I was so excited that I took them to work in case I had a moment to read. I told my boss, Jack, how exciting it was to get both magazines on the same day and he thought that was sick (as in mentally ill, not as in seriously cool). I think it is seriously cool.

Sunny can interfere with reading though. She likes to chew on page corners.
Tomorrow I talk to a representative from one of the local solar companies to see if John's site is a good place for solar. I figure we might as well investigate the possibility now. I'll let you know what they say.

Wednesday I have an online seminar on ductless mini-splits with Allison Bailes of Energy Vanguard. Starting October 1st I have an online course on Designing a Net Zero home that lasts until December. I've got 2 lectures to prepare for September for the residents at the hospital (pediatric orthopedics intro and wound care). I am about to get busy which is not something I really like. I don't like having to schedule things and keep up with deadlines. But that's the way it goes, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Designing a house

We are getting closer to building John's house. I have been putting a ton of thought into how to do it relatively cheaply and how to make it very energy efficient.

Here are some drawings (scribbles) I've done.

First I was trying to figure out how to "Innie" windows. Innie windows are windows that are applied to the exterior sheathing then exterior insulation added on outside of them. The details of air sealing around the windows and framing the trim are somewhat difficult. Here are some notes that I took (and modified) from GBA (Green Building Advisor). I am thinking about using both foam and mineral wool as the exterior insulation. Probably crazy, I know. I have not calculated prices yet. That will likely alter my plan.

This window is an innie. Innie windows need careful flashing details to prevent water entry at the jambs and sill.
Courtesy of Green Building Advisor

The reason I like Innie windows is that the window is protected from the elements better and the temperature is moderated better, more energy efficient. Disadvantage - harder to detail around it. Still have to think about it more.

Now for my plans for the house. I wish I had downloaded and learned SketchUp before Google sold it.

Trying to figure out the layout. John wants the stairs to bisect the downstairs space because he wants to use it as a music room. 
Better drawing. I can't figure out how to layout the bathroom and the laundry room.  Should we put a shower downstairs? 
I signed up for an online class called "Zero Net Energy Homes" taught by Marc Rosenbaum to help me understand how everything goes together when you are building a superinsulated home. Now, I do not think we can get to a zero net energy home based on the financial constraints, but I will at least entertain the possibility. John is so cheap - if anyone in my family could achieve a net zero home it would be John.

It feels good to get something down on the blog again. Thank you for listening. Lucy

Cat update

I don't know what it is, but so far I have not been able to post during the 2 summers I've had a blog. Last year I had an excuse with John going through chemotherapy, but no medical excuses this year (thank goodness!). Ben is continues to do really well. He goes next week to see his orthopedist with about 1000 miles on his bike. Amazing, I think.

One of my partners was out for 3 months with her new baby girl so I had to work more than usual, but that's not really a good excuse.

I've just been distracted I guess.

Anyway, some gratuitous cat pictures.

Fuzz Parker in all his fuzzy glory. He LOVES boxes.
Sunny playing Ring Around the Table Leg with Daisy. Sunny is the little girl and Daisy is the big boy cat.  Both just showed up at my house several years apart. Do you think they are related somehow?
Sunny in all her golden cuteness. 
Sunny after a feather.
Sunny getting the feather. She is quite an athlete.
So Sunny is my newest cat, even though I reached CATURATION a long time ago. She showed up in my yard and kept climbing under my car so I had to catch her and keep her, right? I adore this kitty, she steals my heart.