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Finalizing a floorplan takes a bit longer than you would expect. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and become familiar with at least one of the various home software tools. We found LiveHome3D to be a great tool for quick iteration, but eventually you will have to bite the bullet and learn Sketchup or a similar pro tool. Once you’re iterating, you’ll be amazed at how many ways you can place walls and furniture in a square area. It’s almost addictive to find a way to fit something (i.e.: a TV, and then strive for the next goal of fitting something else (i.e.: a bathroom closet).
While our primary goal is to become Passive House certified, we’ve always wanted to consider other building certifications. This week, we finally got around to reviewing what LEED has to offer. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, “raises the bar on the green building industry. From improving energy performance to emphasizing human health and integrative building design, LEED encourages project teams to operate beyond the status quo.” With that noble goal in mind, we jumped right in to version 4.1 to see where our project stands, what practical changes can be made, and whether or not we should go for certification.
We’re on to the floor now that we’ve done a first pass on the roof. We have to figure out how the first floor walls will transition to the rim joist and basement walls. Mainly, we have to prevent thermal bridging, maintain the necessary R values in the floor, and continue the air barrier. It will also be worth considering floor trusses vs joists, and how to arrange the floor for soundproofing. The spacing of the supports and the type of insulation can affect the latter. As with the first floor ceiling, some sort of service cavity (probably of the cheaper, generic drop ceiling variety) is likely to be used.
As we dig into the roof assembly a bit more, we’re coming across transition details that need to be ironed out. First, how is the thermal envelope continued around the overhangs? There is a thermal bridge up the wall studs and through the trusses and out of the overhangs. This seems to be a similar issue at both eave and rake overhangs. Second, how will the air barrier transition from the Zip sheathing to underneath the trusses? Do we use Zip and Intello, or stick to just Zip? We’ll have to turn to our trusty Youtube and Green Building Advisor resources to see what we can find.
One of our goals with this build is to know basics about each trade, so that we can ask the correct questions. So, we’ve done some preliminary research on residential electric to come up with the notes below. Areas of interest range from fundamentals to products to understanding our electricity needs. If we research enough, we should hopefully be able to have a conversation with an electrician, and be able to sort the professionals who care from those who don’t. Disclaimer: this is all new to us, so please don’t take anything at face value – always confirm with a professional.