• Denise Garcia

Post #5: A-Tilting We Will Go!

The following blog will chronicle the construction of a new Zero Energy Ready Home

designed by Domain Design Architects and located on San Juan Island, Washington. Denise Garcia and her husband, Eric Schmidt, who together have degrees in architecture, landscape architecture and city planning, have been passionate about environmentally responsible design since their student days at MIT. Their new ZERH home is the culmination of over 30 years each of professional experience. We hope this blog will inspire others to consider building a Zero Energy Ready Home.

In the view from the Cape San Juan Marina- just across Fish Creek from our lot- the house framing is just visible through the trees in the center of the photo. San Juan County shoreline regulations require that a home occupy no more than half the width of the lot. Any trees within the first 35 feet from the water must be left intact, while any trees between 35 feet and 75 feet from the water can only be removed with approval. These two simple regulations have done more to preserve the beauty of the shoreline than any regulations I have encountered as an architect. They are easy to understand and apply, something not often found in shoreline regulations.

San Juan Island, May 30, 2019

Cape Drive Zero Energy Ready Home

Blog entry #5- A Tilting We Will Go!

Its been a month since the last blog post and wall framing for our Net Zero Energy Ready Home has started. Our crew has expanded to 4 framers and the long days enable them to work from early in the morning to late in the day. To frame the walls, the crew first builds them on the platform of our subfloor then tilts them into place. Watching this "raising" reminds me of the long tradition in home building of craftsmen (and women) working together to get the shell of a home upright and secure.

On a misty morning in late May, three crew members work to tilt the south-facing Living-Kitchen wall into place.

Another view of the south Living-Kitchen wall being slowly tilted into place. The jog in the lower edge of the wall corresponds to the change in height of the foundation wall, where grades allowed the floor joists to rest atop the foundation wall, rather than frame into it.

On the north wall, the new, taller Master Bedroom wall joins the previously framed Garage and Guest Room wall.

The south wall in its final position. The green sheathing on the walls is Zip Wall Sheathing, which is structural sheathing with a built-in water-resistive barrier. The barrier achieves optimal levels of permeability and drainage while it protects against water intrusion. Using this product helps speed up construction, as it replaces the typical two-step process of installing sheathing and then installing a water-resistive barrier, such as house wrap or roofing paper. The results are reduced labor costs. As an added feature, Zip Wall Sheathing is 98% landfill-free in its manufacturing. Only 2% waste is produced, most of which is recycled. A win-win for our environment and our wallets!

In this view of the south wall, the large corner windows of the Living Room are shown. We wanted to wrap the corners of the house with windows to provide expanded views of the water and to allow our neighbor to see "through" the house at the corners. While a bit more challenging to frame, the corners are designed to resist both seismic forces and lateral wind loads while providing nearly-uninterrupted views of the water.

All that's left of our mountain of excavated rock are these two piles of boulders and smaller rocks. We were pleased that the crew could re-use most of the excavated rock as backfill and rough grading material; it's the ultimate recycling!

The infiltration chambers of our septic drain field were finally installed! These chambers direct liquid down into the perkable soil in the drainfield. We were fortunate to have 44 inches of soil with good percolation in this area, a contrast to the 2-3 inches in the location of the house.

The completed septic drainfield, fully backfilled. We will now let nature take its course and re-vegetate this area.

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