Saturday, March 21, 2009

Material Recycling Report

Thought we'd post the results of our first Construction material recycling report from E.L. Harvey. For January and February the results are:

7.97 tons of materials generated

1.20 tons of concrete diverted

5.58 tons of wood diverted

6.77 tons of material diverted

85% recycling rate

Although we are astounded at the amount of material being generated from this relatively modest project, we are excited by the efforts and reporting of E.L. Harvey, which, apparently, is one of the premier C&D recycling companies in the area. And it's great to know the results, which seems to be a unique feature from this company. And, it costs no more than normal C&D management companies. We plan to get more information about where the materials being diverted actually go.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Totally forgot to mention that a week before work began, we had a blower door test conducted by Byggmeister (, a local newton green remodeling company, as well as a HERS rating analysis. For those who know about these things, the results were:

1. 2400 CFM at 50 pascals
2. A HERS rating of 111

I'm told that the 2400 CFM is a moderate leakage rate, not horrible but not great, and that the 111 score is better than many older New England homes, which often get scores of 130 or above. A home built to the current code would receive a score of 100. We'll say it here: our goal is to get our CFM down to 1,000 and our HERS score to 60. Not sure if we'll get there but we'll see.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We still have not yet begun the super insulation part of the project, but the house is starting to take shape inside and out. The addition is framed, using a Zip sheathing from Huber, which resists the elements better than traditional plywood sheathing and is slightly cheaper!
We plan to soon remove all the insulation from the attic (which has multiple layers of mixed types) but the weather has made things move a bit more slowly.

Several key decisions have been made, such as triple pane low-e glass fiberglass windows from Fibertec ( and we're actually converting to an all electric house, including the water heater and range. This is not necessarily our first choice, but there are several reasons, some of which are more compelling than others:
1. A house that is so tight is much safer without any combustion inside the house
2. The price of electricity can only go as high as the cost of solar, while who knows what will happen with gas prices.
3. We reduce our utility billing and payment effort to just one per month.
4. We eliminate the minimum charges associated with just having gas service.
5. Since our HVAC system, which will be the highest cost energy user in the house, will be electric, it made sense to go all electric.
6. Our water usage is pretty minimal (was about 10-14 therms per month) so even with electric the cost shouldn't be that high.

We will see if we made the right decision, but one option is to buy green electricity until we install renewables so as to reduce our carbon footprint.

We're also using E.L. Harvy to recycling our C&D waste and expect our first report from them in mid-March.
Several windows have been framed - note the extra inches on the window frame in preparation for the 4 inches of insulation on the exterior. In talking to our contractor, this is clearly a new approach to window framing but doesn't really seem all that complicated and provides the structural strength needed for the heavier triple pane windows.
We expect the exterior insulation to start once the front, 2nd floor dormer has been rebuilt. Will post more pictures then.