Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sneak Preview/We Love SEED

When we began our search for architects and builders in the Asheville area, we interviewed a lot of professionals who had some "green" expertise. The most knowledgeable and experienced person we found was Kevin Ward from Southeast Ecological Design. (Be careful if you go to this site - you will probably end up needing to move here and have him build your house!) He is very familiar with green building materials and methods, and he is a designer whose aesthetic sense is close to ours (or to Jackie's, more importantly!). He is also a skilled landscape architect and stone mason. He has been very patient with us during this process, (we ask a lot of questions!) and we feel fortunate to have his company building our home.

The pictures above are renderings of the house from the north and the west sides.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SIPs - A Good Thing

Structural Insulated Panels - SIPs - are foam sandwiches, basically. Not as cool as straw bale or other more "natural" building materials, but they are the most energy efficient, use very little wood and are the fastest to put up (which means lower cost). Window and door openings can be pre-cut, but ours were delivered like this so the cuts can be made on-site. (You may have thought, weird house without windows!). These panels contain all the insulation and structural strength of traditional stick-frame houses. They create such an air-tight house, good ventilation is the biggest concern.

The picture with the generator shows the beginning of construction of the deck on the west side of the house.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fahma's Mahket on Mahs Hill

At the end of our road, we avoided hitting this turtle that we then helped cross to the river (we hope that's where s/he was headed). We were going to the farmer's tailgate market at Mars Hill College, the closest to us of the dozens of markets in this area. Mars Hill is just a few minutes away. Lots of great local produce, baked goods, and crafts. We got rosemary fig goat cheese and organic broccoli.

We learned this week that LVL (laminated veneer lumber) beams are stronger, straighter and better for longer spans than conventional materials. And these floor trusses are also a good design because of the web form inside of them.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Trusses and Cicadas

It's hard to believe that it's been hotter here than in St. Augustine, and this has not made Jackie happy at all. We were treated this week to the serenade of the seventeen-year cicadas who have emerged from the soil to sing their mating song. The sound is a bit eerie in a Twilight Zone-ray gun kind of way. If we were still in the city, we might think it was someone's house alarm going off all day. These periodic cicadas are interesting, and some say, delicious!

The floor trusses are all in, and the SIPs (more on those later) are due early next week. We won't be able to stay for their installation, but it's okay. We had a good bonding experience with our future home. We got to meet the crew and they are all great people.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lesson One: Patience

Welcome to Forks of Ivy! It's the name of the exit you will take when you come to visit us in our new home. Our property is in the Ivy River watershed. It's been 2 years since we found the perfect location for our passive solar house, and now we have a foundation!