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buffalobillpatrick 07-21-16 06:26 PM

Planning new house
Closing July 29, 2016 on sale of current house.

Planning next build:
8,800' altitude, zone 5b (dry) Teller County 10 miles West of Pikes Peak.

IMO at high Colorado altitude there is no need for A/C, in Summer open windows at night is all that's needed.

Will design slab radiant floor heating system for 0*F
Slab will have 4" of type 2 EPS under & vapor barrier, drainage & Radon venting.

New house will be a simple to build rectangle with a steep 12/12 pitch metal roof.

Main level will be a walk-out basement to the East, 8" concrete walls.
Great room kitchen in front 1/2 & master bedroom & mechanical room in rear 1/2

The upstairs framing will use attic truss, I have used these twice before & think that they a very cost effective way to get upstairs rooms. There will be a bedroom in each end and a bathroom & stairs in the middle.

The upstairs front (East) will have a large balcony that also serves as shelter for parking under by front door.

For the main level the concrete exterior walls will be stucco. Inside next will be 3" polyiso foam (R-16.8 this is the latest aged value) that I bought cheap on Craigslist. Then 2x4 stud walls with R-15 Roxul Rock wool, then sheet rock, no vapor barrier.

Upstairs the only exterior walls are the gable ends. The outside will be James Hardie lap cement siding on vertical 1x4 Cedar nailers over 30# felt over OSB with taped seams. The insulation will be the same as the main level.

As there are big pine trees close on neighbors lot, fire risk must be considered.

So I am looking for input on a couple of things:

How to keep forest fire embers out of soffit & ridge vents?

I plan to mount the main level Windows on the inner 4" of the 8" concrete wall, water control is my question? Flashing out past window would look bad.

lt190b 07-21-16 06:51 PM

Put a sloped sill (in the concrete) where the windows go.

buffalobillpatrick 07-21-16 07:00 PM

On the windows in concrete wall issue, I'm thinking of having the concrete sub make the window bucks to be removed when the forms are stripped.

Then I can add mud to the head & sill surfaces with Top 'N Bond Concrete Patcher.
They both would angle down so the head would have a drip edge & the sill would direct water out.

MEMPHIS91 07-21-16 09:00 PM

Don't let the embers in. use some aluminum window screening over the vents. It will trap the embers and let them burn out before getting into the attic, if you want you could do a couple layers just to make SURE nothing got it.
Safe AS much rain water as you can (2,000 gallons maybe more). Mix in some soap for better water penetration. Have a LONG water hose on a solar powered/battery backup water pump with fine mist spray heads to cover/double cover around the entire house. When there is a high fire risk use your rain water to keep things wet, or in the worse case the fire embers do make it to the area, the fine mist will put them out before reaching the house. I've seen forest fire "skip" over houses that used this method.

Fordguy64 07-21-16 09:31 PM

I will be watching this one

buffalobillpatrick 07-22-16 10:15 AM

Great ideas MEMPHIS91 Thanks a bunch

buffalobillpatrick 07-22-16 10:37 AM

For the egress window & sliding door upstairs in the framed walls, I bought some flexable 9" Typar flashing. It can be formed as one piece around the corners and onto the OSB.

I will prime the OSB around the openings with Glidden Gripper. This stuff really works, u can even glue foam to foam with it.

To reduce infiltration (which is a BIG issue) I will prime & tape all of the OSB joints.

BTW, why don't window companies have to specify infiltration using a standardized method?

buffalobillpatrick 07-22-16 11:24 AM

I'm a big advocate of lots of insulation, at a good price, 18" or so of blown in cellulose will be placed on the ceiling of the upstairs rooms & on the ceiling of the downstairs, outside the upstairs rooms, toward the eaves. Eave chutes will be used to keep the cellulose out of the venting.

No insulation in floor of upstairs rooms over downstairs ceilings.

The vertical walls (6') will get Roxul R-30 Comfort batts which are in a permeable plastic bag (I think) they are suppose to expand laterally if they can.

The upstairs attic truss presents a problem with venting the underside of the roof sheathing at the angled areas on each room side. This area is the nailer for the roof sheathing and the interior sheet rock.

The top cord is 2x8 (7.25" deep) that isn't enough for a vent chute + insulation.

The truss company said that they can easily scab on 2x4's on the inside, which gives me 3.5" more for 10.75" total.

For this angled area, I will build my own vent chutes out of 9" (3 X 3" layers) of polyiso foam (R-50.4)

I will attach 2x2 (1.5") at each side where roof sheathing meets the truss. Cut the polyiso 22" wide strips & can spray foam in gaps at edges, one layer at a time.

mejunkhound 07-22-16 06:07 PM

Safe AS much rain water as you can

Read that due to water rights laws (first in time, etc) it is illegal in CO to even have a rain barrel without having state granted water 'rights'. You are supposed to let it runoff so the state can allocate it ?

Obviously to the biggest political donors ?

Anyone conversant on that matter ?

As far as fie safe, CA has some pretty strict codes. Son built a house near Nevada City, stucco or brick or stone a must, no overhang, no wooden decks, etc. Might pay to pullup the CA fire zone codes and take a look.

BTW, at 8800 ft, your solar arrays, if you use triple junction cells, will give you abut 10% higher output than at sea level! Put an array on Haleakala, HI 15 or so years ago, have the wavelength insolation numbers somewhere if you are interested. Not as much advantage from single junction cell arrays.

buffalobillpatrick 07-22-16 06:32 PM

DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law on Thursday that allows for the collection of rainwater. The issue has been surprisingly controversial over the years as several attempts have failed in the state Legislature.

The issue became a battle over property rights, water in Colorado is the property of those downstream. It’s been illegal for more than a century to collect rain before it hits the ground.

“We just want to make sure we’re not the only state in the union where this is illegal. I think that’s why it gained so much national attention, even international attention,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, a Democrat representing Pueblo.

The new law, which takes effect in August, allows homeowners to collect as much as 110 gallons of rain in up to two barrels.

So 2x 55gal drums is max

I have a good well on property, rated at 6gpm tastes pure & clean.
I had it drilled to 300' & artesian pressure filled it up to about 50' below surface, so quite a few gallons stored in hole.

I also have a 1200 gal. tank that I will keep full, planning to heat it with ground mounted solar panels.

No animals except cats & dogs, and no crops on my well permit, can have a small garden.

You can drink all the well water you want, but u have to only pee at home. Hehe

buffalobillpatrick 07-22-16 09:05 PM

I love radiant warm water floors!

I have installed 3 systems & have learned quite a bit over time. Read this as: my first system only keeps house warm at -15*F because I put in so much insulation.

ECM pumps like the Grundfos Alpha really reduce electric usage, as I prefer constant slow circulation in heating season, this is a big deal.

Be sure to have a strong magnet in system, like the Caleffi Dirt Mag, as the generated magnetite will gum up ECM pumps.

This new system won't use a mod-con boiler, I'm sick of them!

Note: when a mod-con on LP happens to be working at high altitude, they don't condense very much anyway, so anything over 90% is wishful thinking.

And yes I bought an expensive combustion analyzer to set up these pigs.

I will use a Burnham RV3, direct wall vented, cast iron boiler, only 86% efficient, but they last 3x or more longer & have much less maintenance $$ vs. mod-cons

The boilers only master is the aquastat (30*F delta-T) on the Vi$$man dual coil 79gal. DHW / buffer tank.

Long efficient burn cycles help the boiler get to 86% along with post purge that gets most of the residual heat out of the high mass cast iron. As the boiler will be inside the house insulation most of the residual heat is not waisted, in Winter.

I have a new Erie Boiler Boss 3000 that controls the injection speed of a standard PSC pump using Outdoor Reset (the colder it is outside, the warmer the water that is injected into system)
This is set up with rotary parameter control knobs.
This was an EBay steal at $130

The system heat is pulled out of the top HX coil in the Vi$$man tank, boiler and/or solar heats the tank via the lower HX coil.

DEnd 07-22-16 11:52 PM

In that climate I would really consider the passive house approach. Without a need for AC you can get really really close to actually being truly passive.

I have to say I agree with you on the modulating condensing water heaters and boilers. My experience with them has not been highly positive. I think I would look to put the energy savings in the building rather than the equipment.

*edit... uggh... I didn't see where COs new law was only 110 gallons. While a step in the right direction that is highly disappointing.

buffalobillpatrick 07-23-16 10:53 AM

A rant on why professionals love mod-cons, and it's NOT that they are more efficient & save consumers money: (that is a sales gimmick)

Mod-cons are much lighter & easier to install = more profit

Mod-cons cost 3x more = more profit

Mod-cons require much more maintenance = more profit

Mod-cons need replaced much more often = more profit

buffalobillpatrick 07-23-16 11:32 AM

I like much about the Passive house idea.
They make sense in Euro-land, IMHO not so much in USA

Europe has much higher energy cost than USA (for now)

In Europe it is quite common for many generations to have lived in and make payments on the same house.
You don't see this in USA, this next house will be house #6 for me.

Most people here move around more.

It's usually more about the up-front cost (payments) & bling and later, the resale price.

I wouldn't live in my fathers house & my son will never live in my house.

Don't get me wrong, I try hard to be energy efficient, but with an eye on cost.
I over insulate & use good Windows.

In my current house that is selling Friday, basement is ICF's, all the other walls are thick SIP's (7.25" EPS) all brick on outside (no maintenance).

All Windows Have a base of: triple pane, low-e, argon filled.
Six of the large (72" X 48") have a 4th layer of 1/4" storm windows, one decorative window has 6 layers of glass.

BTW, I'm looking for good windows at a good price? Ideas?

I like the Marvin Infinity, but the only local seller stated that they wouldn't install their replacement type windows into a new construction house.

DEnd 07-24-16 07:07 AM

A passive house is a decision on where to spend your money. I try to look at things Via a cost for performance perspective, rather than just up-front cost. I'll even pay a bit of a premium when you compare life-cycle cost for better performance vs. lifetime energy costs. My reasoning is that Energy Costs are highly volatile and it is a lot more annoying to try to budget for rising energy prices than it is for a mortgage.

As for Windows I like what I see from Alpen, Though Marvin Integrity and Infinity are good choices too as are Numerous other Fiberglass options. My preference is to get something that has local support. Alpen is fairly local to you (Yes I know how big CO is) so that would be a big plus in my book.

You may be able to get a more affordable option by going with a uPVC frame such as Intus Windows as well.

You might also look at Indow interior storm windows as well those will give you about a 0.9 R-value increase. And if you want to get really crazy insulated exterior shutters (other than air sealing this is likely the best bang for the buck).

buffalobillpatrick 07-24-16 11:07 AM

Sorry to say, my lifetime energy costs will be pretty low, I will probably be 77 yrs old when house is done.

I got top dollar for current house partly because the buyers appreciate that my energy bills are less than 1/2 what code built houses typically would be.

Mostly it was the solid construction details, low maintenance, & fantastic views.

I have been in the Alpen store in Boulder, I'm not a fan of the plastic film inside their windows.

buffalobillpatrick 10-12-16 09:11 PM

Now have a good Draftsman & Structural Engineer on board.

Changed from vented roof to unvented, worried about possible fire in nearby trees.
Will have underside of roof sheathing SPF closed cell high density. Going for R50.

Got window bid on Anderson 100 series Fiberex Argon U=.25 & .26 a bit over 7K

Got attic truss bid about 7.5K

Main level walls will all be 8" concrete with 6" of polyiso on inside.

Going with 6" of type 2 EPS under slab.

Daox 10-13-16 09:38 AM

Thats a good bit of insulation! Very nice.

buffalobillpatrick 10-13-16 10:36 AM

Upon checking prices for closed cell high density SPF, I decided to do what we did in my sons new house.
Flash & batt
Put only 4" of the closed cell high density SPF against under side of roof sheathing, this meets the requirement for a vapor barrier & then Johns Manville R-30 Rock wool batts.

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