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Blog Post #8: The Envelope Gets Sealed

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

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 marina at Fish Creek, the roofline of our home is emerging. We're please by the relatively low profile of our house. County planners have created a clear, reasonable set of guidelines for shoreline construction. Here we see the positive effects of these guidelines: a shoreline that's not overwhelmed by houses and that instead maintains the natural beauty of our island archipelago.


San Juan Island, July 23, 2019

Cape Drive Zero Energy Ready Home

Blog entry #8: The Envelope Gets Sealed



Ten days since the last blog post and roof framing has been competed. The over-framed roof has been insulated and sheathed. This will be the final silhouette of our house. Our thanks to Mt. Findlayson for inspiration!


In this view, the 2x6 over-framed roof is shown with the addition of R-15 unfaced batt insulation, which will bring our total roof R-value to 66; quite an improvement from the code minimum of R-49. Added insulation is a very cost-effective way of getting us closer to Net Zero energy.


The roof of the house is now fully sheathed and awaits the installation of the roof underlayment and standing seam metal roof. The soffits of the roofs will be clad with 1x6 clear red cedar boards. A semi-transparent stain will maintain the red color of the cedar without requiring much upkeep.


Air sealing is vitally important in a Net Zero energy home. Here the crew has dabbed sealant on every nail hole and seam of the exterior Zip Wall sheathing.


This view of the house shows the soffit framing at the eaves, as well as the extensive air sealing undertaken by the crew. No penetration or seam in the building envelope has been left unsealed.


At the Master Bedroom wing, the lower windows have been installed and air-sealed. Wraparound windows at both the Living Room and Master Bedroom corners will provide unparalleled views of Fish Creek and beyond.


From below, the final roofline silhouette can be seen through the trees that make up our shoreline vegetation buffer. Lucky for us, the craggy nature of our site is a challenge for the native firs and madronas, which grow with twisted and contorted forms. These provide not only screening from the water, but valuable perch trees for our bald eagles, ospreys, hawks and- my favorite- ravens.


The view from our dock shows the Living Room wing, while the Master Bedroom is screened from view. The tall fir at the upper left is the favorite perch of our resident raven, who has learned to mimic the barking of a dog. Revered by Native Americans as the Creator god, the Raven is also considered a "trickster". Listening to ours "barking", we can see that the name is well-deserved!

In this view from the mouth of Fish Creek, the house is visible at the center of the photo. Once our roofing and siding are on, the house will blend in even more with the shoreline, keeping the nature of our beloved Cape preserved.

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