Holliston LEED House

This is the story of a family who built the first LEED "green" house in Holliston, Massachusetts. We were trying to spend no more than it would take to build an ordinary house,and maybe even succeeded. The dust is still settling.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Break time

I will be away until Saturday, January 3rd. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

What we got for Christmas is a giant melt. This was a gift because now the barn roof is clear of snow and the foundation interior is melting quickly. Hope you got what you wanted, too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One barn, check.

Okay, so the barn's done. Now, about that house. The foundation, although done, has not had the slab poured, and it snowed 15 inches here so there's just a little snow on the gravel. Since we need precise measurements about where the ground level actually IS, this means... well, Flip's going to Shovel Out The Foundation. Or more accurately, he's going to shovel the foundation into piles that the backhoe can lift out, since even Flip can't swing heavy snow up and out an 8 foot wall.

Since the weather warmed up today and will stay that way tomorrow, it could be Christmas Day that Flip shovels heavy, slushy snow. Good thing we're eating at someone else's house.

And Santa comes tonight.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

End Day Seven

And on the eighth day, they will rest. The last two doors are being constructed (inside) and the two sets will be hung tomorrow, then the barn is done. Well, for now.

Yes, there IS a cupola, but we need to shingle the roof first... and we still need a weathervane. So if you find a cool old one, send it along. We'll ask SCPB's crane to help us lift the cupola on when they're craning mid-winter. If the weather gives us a break after Christmas, we'll shingle the roof and get us some sort of heater so we can work in comfort. Of course, we need to await warmer times to pour the concrete floor, but we're good to go for now on gravel. Besides, the building will be settling for a bit. But it's nice to get out of the wind.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A little weather

This is our patio right now; the lump to the right of the table is a standard folding chair. We're hoping it will stop soon so we can keep the project moving.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Barn, Day 5

We are racing the weather today; major storm expected to start at around noon and the team is quickly closing in the barn to reduce exposure. The Paddock carpentry team of three is siding as fast as they can before the storm hits. Once we get the 12" expected, we'll have to rake it off the roof to dry it out... but hope to roof it next week.

There is almost no waste on this outbuilding project. Country Carpenters shipped exactly what was needed, and the team has been careful to use it wisely. We have a couple of small ends for kindling.

Radon and drainage

The first photo shows the radon abatement system which is installed for future use if needed. As we are in the area most subject to radon, and we don't know if it will be an issue in the future, a radon "escape" pipe has been laid around the perimeter of the foundation with a gooseneck which you can barely see on the far wall. If in the future we find we have an issue with radon, we can then tap this pipe head and clear it from the building with an exit fan.

The second photo shows the perimeter drain we installed yesterday. In the event of excess groundwater, it is much easier and less expensive to already have a drain system than to install it later. We have two exits for this drain, but will likely choose only one for the gravity feed.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pulling through

What do you do when your cement trucks get stuck in the mud? Kudos go to John Larter and the Varney concrete crew, who poured in spite of the mud and the dark. More to Mark Shaw, whose forms were finally completed and whose crew masterminded the madness. But mostly, to Fearless, who kept a cool head through it all. We have cellar walls, folks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Barn bones

Days end at the barn site. 5 guys, from ground to rafters. More tomorrow, but a strong start.

3 hours later...

Special Delivery

Country Carpenters, the barn people out of Hebron Connecticut, delivered the barn kit in two trucks this morning at 8:15; these pictures were taken about an hour later as they began setting the sills on the foundation. With the able help of Doug, Red, and Bob, the two CC men showed us the way. Admiring from a safe distance was yours truly. Fearless Leader (top) keeps an eye on the situation.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Pole of Beauty

So our new poles are in, and what a lovely sight they are; especially when we heard that there was an ice storm in Worcester last night and thousands were out of power; I suspect our guys will be busy for a while. I've been up last night and today watching water move, to help report what it's doing for our drainage plans. After three days of hard rain, it is surprising the situation wasn't even worse, but hopefully we'll dry out over the next day or two.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Weather delay

Barn raising rescheduled to Monday due to mud.


So it's pouring out, and I'm heading up to the site to meet the port-a-john guy to show him where it should go. Pulling up the street, I'm blocked by a Verizon truck. Verizon told us it would take 90 days to get our phone poles in (we need 2 so we can have electric service), so I'm thinking "this is not about me." But it seems the guy who got the work order used to work for Lloyd, saw his name and said "we'll do this one today." So be nice to your staff, your friends and your neighbors—someday maybe they'll put your phone pole in first.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gimme a B, gimme an R...

... gimme another R, that spells BRR... it's supposed to warm up today, but I must say on my dog walk this morning it started to sleet. Fearless Leader says forms man has a Big Job today, so probably won't set up until it rains tomorrow, or possibly early next week. We'll have to see. We don't want him there on Friday when we have the crane for the barn coming. Also, we turfed Alabama Man who's drilling for the geothermal until next week to reduce crowding at the site. Now, my punch list includes a port-a-john. Looks like we've got the bodies, all we need is Mother Nature.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Waitin' on the weather?

The footings are wrapped up for yesterday's snow, and it's supposed to warm up some tomorrow--all the way to 39, I think. I think the forms will go in this PM, but we could be waiting for the weather until morning.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Foundation in a box

Kind of like a slinky, the small box expands to become a complex (boy was it ever) array of footings for the foundation. Poured yesterday, we are about to go and cover them for the cold. But as you can see, there are some spikes sticking up, so tarping them will be... interesting. We should be able to pour the walls at some point this week, but we're watching the weather to make sure we have the pace right. More later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You got to move it, move it.

There's a hole for the house, now, these shots taken this AM while waiting for the inspector to approve to go to footings. Giving credit where it's due, partner John's truck says it all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On your marks...

Today, John's checking his final marks prior to digging the foundation hole for the main house. Best practices mean no waste, so John's carefully stockpiling the topsoil and underlayers for use. And boy, we're going to need that fill, as you can see below.

The barn foundation now quietly awaits it's slab floor... it will need to settle some more before we can pour, in spite of careful packing, so we may not have it by the 12th when the barn frame goes up. Small price to pay for moving forward.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Barn foundation is in, being backfilled and now that we have our permit, digging on the house foundation will begin shortly. We're putting the final team together now, tweaking the plans and moving forward. The engineer staked out where the house is going to be, plus 10 feet on each side for the backhoe's mobility. It looks huge to me, and now we can stay busy second-guessing ourselves as we move into spending Serious Money Really Fast.