Friday, September 30, 2011

0970 Lagom House Construction Prints - very close to finished

I've been working slowly on the Lagom House Construction Prints over the past few months. As the first of our house plans to feature the USA New Wall, and the Swedish Platform Framing right out of the box, I've had more than the usual amount of work to prep the plans. But we are almost there.

Also a feature of the Lagom House plan set will be the unique foam insulation formed slab on grade. Similar to a frost protected shallow foundation, this is an "Americanized" version of the slab forms that are a commodity in Sweden. These allow for home foundations to be made quickly, with low labor and low material costs, resulting in a highly energy efficient foundation system. Beats spending money on muddy holes in the ground.

Look for the plan set to break in the catalog very soon. We'll take pre-orders any time. In fact, if you are the negotiating type and you want pre-order discount, then you better get on the horn now, because once the plan set is posted to the catalog negotiation time will be over!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Raising our standard of care

One of the foundations of how the Swedes build houses is the air tight barrier created at the vapor retarder/barrier plane of the wall. There is a movement about in the US to push that air barrier to the exterior of the wall, and the vapor retarder with it which raises a whole host of other problems. One of the issues is that its well known that its nearly impossible to seal an air barrier around the floor joists of a two story house. Well how do the Swedes do it? Simple, they use this:

Doh! Why didn't we think of that? Why not is a good question. Its because our standard of care is too low. Builders everywhere in the US use fiberglass batts with asphalt impregnated craft paper as their vapor retarder. This is trimmed loosely around obstructions and never achieves an air-tight barrier. Now that more builders are thinking about this I see decent air barriers installed, but the space between joists - spray foam is recommended. Another subcontractor, another process, another reason for a builder not to bother. So that's why the Swedes have these clever folded vapor barrier sheets - so they can quickly wrap and tape off a penetration by a floor joist or beam. They don't need a special insulation for between the joists or new trades or subcontractors.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Energy Smart Housing Innovation, The Swedish Way

I am very tardy in introducing this book to you. I've known of it for some time as it was written by Holger Gross, a friend of Scott Hedges, my co-author in the Letters from Sweden series. In this book Holger makes a thorough introduction to many of the techniques and products used in Sweden to create energy efficient houses.

Holger comes from a structural engineering background but spent a large part of his career in the timber framed housing industry. He has since written several books as consumer guides to home ownership and condominium ownership. This book takes a consumer guide approach to explaining the ins and outs of energy efficient house building.

You will find first a background on Swedish housing and energy use, and basis for what has driven Sweden to refine their techniques for building efficient housing. He continues to outline conceptual approaches for improving performance, and then launches into a detailed look at the various components of building.

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