The fall quarter was used to start finishing up the house. Solar water heating will be used for the primary heat source of the house. The tubing was run in the floors and routed under the joist in the crawler. Once that was done we could look at other tasks such as tile and cabinets in the kitchen. As it turned out, the floor tubing and the kitchen cabinets were a small part of the finish in comparison to the amount of effort that went into the plumbing of the hydronic system. The solar water heating combined with the radiant heat floors was quite a challenge. Even the logistics of positioning all the equipment on the wall in a way that made sense was time consuming and made students really think about how the project went together. They did a great job and the house will be heated with non-carbon producing solar hot water. We will also have a gas furnace as a secondary heat source. Because our goal is to achieve a true zero-energy structure it will only be used during the winter months. The gas furnace was intended to provide students with the experience of appliance and air leakage testing more than act as a heat source.
The other event that happened during the fall quarter was the U.S. Green Building Council Green Apple Day of Service. This was an amazing day and we were so lucky to have volunteers come out and get involved with our project and show their support for the community. The project was to build six raised vegetable gardens that would be irrigated by the three thousand gallons on reclaimed water collected from roof run off. The produce was then donated to a local food bank. It was not an ideal time to plant but we pushed forward and surprisingly enough harvested several pounds of lettuce and various greens for local families to serve for dinner. It was a very productive quarter. With the students input and imagination, we are showing that we can build more comfortable and sustainable structures and use that technology to give back to the community.
Good bye and good building,