Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's what's outside that counts

WARNING: Panos - the content below contains no images of dirt, digging or destruction. Only paint chip samples and r-value explanations. Reading this post may leave you wanting for men without shirts wearing tool belts...

Monday afternoon I met with Kate (Smallworks) to go over a revised version of the house plans. With Brendon still in the Kootenays and not yet back from a string of weddings he entrusted me with the job of signing off on the plans. I'd like to think this is because we've come so far in our relationship that I truly know what he would want. But really, I think that he would have given his bad foot to be there and truth be told, being a photographer, he can visualize these two dimensional plans better than I can. That said, I was really happy with the plans and when I shared them with Brendon tonight, he was thrilled too. Now, with a few small tweaks they'll get submitted to the City of Vancouver for review and in four to six weeks we'll be issued our building permits. In the meantime, pretty much every week Brendon and I will be meeting with Kate to pick out everything from exterior lighting to built-in kitchen seats.

The process starts with the exteriors. Because the home is actually built in pieces off site, Brendon and I have to decide on all elements of the exteriors before we're issued the building permits. This means that we have to go over the shell, windows, doors, insulation, rain drains, roof and the all important paint colours. Choosing the right exteriors can really make or break a green home. How well the shell is built determines the energy efficiency of the building so the decisions we make here are uber important. Here is a sample of where we are headed:

Exterior shell: We're going for wood here. The lumber will be sourced and milled in BC and will be from second growth forest to ensure that virgin trees aren't used in our home. The majority of the house will be painted knotted pine with the exception of the trim which will be BC cedar. They key here was for us to choose renewable products that were locally sourced. This on its own significantly reduces our footprint.

Windows: Double paned windows throughout the house. This will help reduce heat loss while still ensuring that we can take advantage of the passive heating attributes of our south facing windows.

Insulation: There are two things to consider when selecting insulation - how well it keeps heat in and then how good it is at keeping moisture out. The R-value is the indicator of heat trapping ability. The higher the rating the better the performance. With the choice of insulation Smallworks uses, we'll be looking at an R-value of 26. For green homes, the City of Vancouver suggests an R-value of 20, so we'll be a little above standard. Want more information on our insulation(Polyisocyanurate Insulation Sheathing)? Check out the document on the right. As for the moisture barrier, I’m drawing a blank so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Colours: Durango (main home), sea haze (trim) and apple crisp (doors). There really is nothing like picking out paint colours. What do you think of our choices?

Phew - okay I’m wiped. I think that we’ll have to leave our roof and door options to another time. But before then though, stay tuned for our adventures into landscape design.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Akua!

    I like the paint colours for the exterior. Fresh but understated, I would say. Are you thinking of painting the cedar trim in the Sea Haze? A natural cedar trim would look really nice with the field and door colours... we can look into some naturally-based stain for the cedar too.


    P.S. I love the sketches! You or Brendon?