Archive for December, 2011

Southface Green In Action DC

Today we were part of Green in Action DC training tour!

Here are the videos describing our project.


Garage and etc.

For the past few weeks we’ve been working on a variety of things, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and the garage.  Unfortunately, nothing is completely done but we are gradually getting there.  Here are some photos that should give you an idea of our progress.


ERV Ductwork

Because the house is heated and cooled by a point-source minisplit system, all the ductwork is being built for the ERV.  Michael Bonsby Heaating & Air Conditioning worked with us to come up with the most logical location to house the ERV and lay the ducts (we came up with a plan before but once the house got put together, it just didn’t seem logical anymore).  To preserve the ceiling height, in majority of the second floor, we set the ducts to hug the ceiling as much as possible.  The ducts themselves were sealed with mastic.  Michael’s crew did an excellent job putting it all together.  We will be doing a duct blaster test to see how tightly they were sealed.

Here's our Ultimateair RecoupAerator 200 DX

Click here to learn more on the ERV

Outside Unit Location

Here’s Michael showing us the location of the MiniSplit outside unit and the penetration on our wall. Michael, sorry for cutting your face out!


Laundry Plumbing

Plumbing is not as directly linked to heating and cooling performance of the house as say, HVAC, so our coverage tends to be a little thin.  Plumbing is actually very important to take into consideration especially with regard to penetrations.  We are using Studor vents to reduce the number of penetrations.  We will also equip the home with a  ventless/condensing dryer to lose that dryer vent and keep the dryer heat in the house.

Lighting & Electrical


The home will be lit mostly with recess lights (approximately 60 of them).  We elected to use regular can that takes bulbs with regular screws.  It really makes no sense to use dedicated LED cans.  Their initial and replace costs are both way too high.  LEDs are now being made to go into almost every type of lighting fixtures.  Prices are dropping too.  When we first started designing this project (more than 1 year ago) a 75w equivalent LED bulb was $49 at Home Depot.  These days they cost less than $30.


Since we have a SIPs roof, the only way to have recess lights is to drop the ceiling.  Intellistructures built tray ceilings in all three bedrooms on the second floor.


Garage framing is also underway. We have these giant steel beams which allow us to cantilever in the front and side entrances.  I can’t wait to see the terrace above.


So, for now, that’s all we have.  Stay tuned!

Videos with Intus Windows

We made some clips with Intus Windows to show off their windows and doors that were installed on our house.

If you are an energy/building geek who want to know about super efficient windows, check these out!

Oh, enjoy the musak!



Whatever happened to Arlington Passive House?

We are still working on the house.  It just took a few days to wake up from my turkey induced sleep from last week.

We’ve had HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical in the house.  We eagerly await for it to all get done so we can seal the penetrations.  Stay tuned.

For now, here’s an article that appeared in the most recent issue of Capitol File covering Passive Houses in the D.C. area.  I am not sure why the CalTech solar decathlon house is in it too.  I guess they thought that’s what a “Concept Passive House” should look like.

Capitol File077

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