Air sealing & controlled ventilation are probably the biggest performance improvements one can make in a building, and they affect all kinds of things; energy use, comfort, occupant health, and durability of the structure. It’s not often that making one improvement in construction can affect so many things so dramatically, but air sealing is one of them. For a fairly low upfront cost, air sealing will save our clients a great deal on energy costs for decades to come (helping the environment at the same time), as well as making their homes much more comfortable, healthy, and durable
We recently attended the 14th Annual North American Passive House Conference in Washington DC. The conference had exciting keynote speakers and breakout sessions about high-performance construction. At the end of the conference, we toured other Passive House projects and then spent several days taking the class to become Certified Passive House Builders.
One constant on almost every one of our job sites is the presence of existing trees and a desire to preserve them through the construction process, to the greatest extent possible. This is an area that has been a constant challenge for us (and I imagine for many builders). Given the unique ability that trees have to help fight climate change, we believe that anything that supports the health of trees on our construction sites is an imperative.
On this note, I am really excited to announce a new collaboration with Jerad Oren from Bluestone Tree Service, and Seth Inman, a certified Arborist with Trees PLE. We will now be working with them throughout the construction process to provide comprehensive tree protection services.
We had an opportunity to do a really special project recently when we were asked to decommission a built-in greenhouse for a previous client because it was dilapidated and becoming unstable and potentially dangerous. We have done several renovations in this home over the last two years and it has become quite special to us. It was built by our client’s father in the 1970s, largely out of reclaimed and recycled materials that he had salvaged from his own construction jobs at the time. He passed away a few years ago and his daughter and her husband and kids now own the home.
We are always on the lookout for more sustainable ways of building and materials that are more energy efficient for the homeowner. We decided to try Glavel in a new construction build as a replacement for foam board under the slab. Glavel also replaces much of the structural gravel substrate, eliminating in-fill stone costs for insulated slabs and crawlspaces.
Last week we found out that we made #6 on the Best Place to Work list for Bloomington. This is an anonymous survey taken by the LWB team and sent in to be scored for placement. While there are lots of factors that play into the results, I wanted to step outside of the data and share a little more about our special company and team.
We have never posted anything for Earth day before or even talked much (publicly, at least) about the environmental impact of what we do. We understand, all too well, the toll that the built environment takes on the natural environment.
In recent years we have been undertaking more and more adaptive reuse projects, as the Bloomington community continues to update some of its aging downtown infrastructures. One of the most exciting of these was the renovation and addition at the historic McDoel Baptist church for the Hoosier Heights indoor climbing facility.
Loren and Joel sat in with Deb Tomaro for a cohousing addition of her “REAL Real Estate” podcast. Deb asked some great questions and reminded us of the excitement that is building around Bloomington’s first cohousing development.
We are in the middle of installing siding on one of our current projects. To match the siding details on an existing building on the property, we are using a combination of corrugated Cor-ten and board & batten. Cor-ten is a really neat material that is used for both roofing and siding. The material that we use is 22 gauge and will start rusting immediately. It is a steel alloy that was developed to form a protective rust covering relatively quickly. The rust does two things: it gives it a nice red patina, and it eliminates the need for a protective coating. It also fits right into the traditional farm house aesthetic that we are shooting for on this house. The combination of the Cor-ten and our board & batten siding is looking fantastic (see pictures below)!