The GreenBuild Homes have been insulated…again! We already saw insulation installed under the floor slabs and on the wall sheathing, but now the homes have insulation in the wall cavities. On Thursday, damp cellulose insulation was sprayed into the wall cavities to add even more thermal comfort to the homes; this, along with the 1.5″ of polyisocyanurate insulation attached to the ZIP sheathing brings the total wall insulation to R-29–that’s nearly 50% more than a code-built home! While the homes are under construction, we’ve been using them to teach students about high-performance home design and construction. Over the past several weeks, we have taken many students from this year’s Penn State Race to Zero team to walk through the homes and see the physical design and construction so that they can better understand all of the complex systems that go into high-performance homes.
Over the past week, Envinity has been sealing the home with expanding spray foam in preparation for the first blower door test. The home envelopes are designed to be very tight and let in as little air as possible–so little that fresh outdoor air will be mechanically supplied to and exhausted from the home. All penetrations from the outside to the inside are inspected and sealed so that the homes can run as efficiently as possible.
Over the past week, Envinity installed the roof trusses to the GreenBuild homes. Similar to the walls, the roofs use ZIP panels to combine the sheathing and the weather resistive barrier into one building element. The interior framing use a combination of construction techniques. The previous post described the Optimum Value Engineered wall framing; the second floor structure uses open-web trusses with 16″ spacing while the roof uses manufactured trusses with 24″ spacing. The second floor structure is closer together to provide a bit more rigidity to the floor.
Over the past two weeks, the Envinity team has endured the cold and framed two homes! Each home is constructed with 2×6 studs using Optimum Value Engineering (“Advanced”) framing techniques, meaning that studs are aligned 24″ apart rather than 16″, which is seen in most residential construction. This allows Envinity to use less wood and leaves more room in the wall for insulation. The homes also have insulation on the exterior of the walls. The homes use a 2″ ZIP panel that combines the weather resistive barrier, the structural sheathing, and exterior insulation into one building element. The panel Envinity is using has a 1/2″ ZIP panel glued to 1 1/2″ polyisocyanurate insulation. When completed, the full wall will have a total R-value (the insulation value) of 28; the building code requires a home to have a wall R-value of at least 20, so the walls of these homes are nearly 50% more insulated!
Today, the construction crew poured the concrete floor slabs for both homes. This wraps up the foundation of the homes; over the next several weeks, the team will begin framing the homes. Be sure to stay tuned as construction will surely speed up!