Monday, June 28, 2010

Final Test: 0.36 ACH, almost half the allowable maximum of 0.6 ACH!

Hello again,
Another action packed week. We completed all the underground service. On Monday Van Van Van der Maten's crew masked off and spray painted the entire interior and on Tuesday and Wednesday Jim Campe, Barry Linder, Alden Adkins, Melanie Stone, Wendy Schwartz, Chris Greene, Susan Kelly and Sonya Anderson came in and finished what the sprayers did not complete. Cabinets were delivered late Thursday and begun to be installed on Friday.

Thursday Steve Potts brought in his portable mill and we re-sawed some of the recycled lumber donated to CLAM by Anna Francis. Potts milled up all the wood needed for the interior trim. Sun First came back and re-installed the solar hot water panels. Jorge finished the front siding and details and hung all the interior doors. Next week we should complete all the trim and counter top and the cabinet installation. There is not much to do after that. Perhaps another week of touch up, clean up and site work (final grading and delineation of parking and living outdoor space).
I am already getting work separation anxiety.
See you all next week............Terry

P.S. Reminder: Come see Blue2 and celebrate its completion on Monday, July 5, 11am-2pm. Details at

I think Sonya believes in CLAM ... she also volunteered when we painted the front house.

"The barefoot painting Pixies" Susan Kelly and Chris Greene.

Jim Campe cutting a line. He organized all the painting efforts and
with his wife, Pam, selected the color scheme.

Steve Potts sending an old 2x8 through the mill to make 1x8s for the trim.

Jorge putting up the last piece of trim. Potts and the mill in background.

My first full day back at the job. I had to rest every few hours. It amazes me that any one would actually take direction from a guy laying on his back.

Kitchen to be.

George Nesbitt of Environmental Design/ Build is the Master blaster of
blower door technology and testing. As a third party tester he volunteered three hours of rigorous air leakage testing of the Blue Two house. His test and report is one of the final documents we will need to hand in for the Passive House certification- that is assuming we hit the mark.

Thumbs up to our final test number of 0.36 ACH - almost half the allowable maximum of 0.6 ACH. Our air leakage at negative 50 pascals was around 40 cfm.

This may look like aikido but it's Rae and Terry completing a high five
to celebrate the 0.36 ACH. Rae (who recently completed her term as CLAM executive director) spent Sunday here at the Blue2 sharing history being made on a house she believed could happen. Thank you, Rae, for helping us all make our dreams and aspirations come true.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Floor Sealing and More ... Getting Close

Hi all,
The sheetrock got it's last smoothing out on Wednesday and we began finishing the floors on Thursday, hoping to have it traffic-ready by next Monday when Van will come in and begin painting. Cabinets, doors and trim are to be installed end of next week. We are getting really close to the end. Hard to believe that these walls will be echoing the sound of a baby in a month or so. The simultaneous birth of this house and the birth of the new tenants' baby will bring CLAM's community vision to a new high.
Yay CLAM..........Terry
Editor's Note: And YAY that Terry is back after a hiking injury that kept him out of the action for a couple of weeks.

Bill and Sebastian prepping the floor for stain.

Stain applied and drying.

The umbilical cord between the Blue House and Blue2 will be covered in two feet of earth. Water, electrical and future photovoltaic(PV) lines from Blue2 to the Blue House house meters below.

Jorge is adorning the front porch ceiling. We used scrap 2x4s, cut them into 1x4s and are filling in the underside of the roof. This could easily be a future termite hotel but the 1x4s were soaked two times with boron as well as the underside of the entry roof to assure no infestation will ever happen.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Open House to Celebrate Completion of CLAM's Blue2 Passive House

O p e n H o u s e
Come CELEBRATE! Blue2 is built!
It is the first certified Passive House in California,
uses 540 watts to heat itself on the coldest day,
creates permanently affordable housing,
provides superior health and comfort,
and addresses climate change!

Monday July 5th 2010, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Words of Celebration begin at 11:30 a.m.

Please park next door at West Marin School
This is a home. No random visits outside the Open House date.

For event information call CLAM at 415.663.1005 or email

Passive House: and

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Copious Details

Hello again,
After a mild flurry of miscellaneous framing details, the electrician, plumber and HVAC took over the interior space till Friday noon at which point we hosted the last "See the Machine" tour. Now it's a waiting game for a final inspection before we sheetrock the rest of the walls.
Enjoy it all.........Terry

Below is the ducting for the HRV (heat recovery ventilator) system. The large diameter duct (blue tape supply) brings outside air into the HRV box, not seen at left. There it steals the heated air from the exiting warm air and feeds it back into three fresh air supplies- one duct in the bedroom, one in the bath and one in the living room. Because our house is so air tight, it needs a way to get make up air when the windows are closed during heating cycles. The HRV does just that but has the extra advantage of recovering 80% + of the heat going out.

Architects James Bill and Jim Campe are seen here, designing, authorizing and signing a work change order drawn on some scrap paper.

Tea time- A vintage 1999 Bi Lou from the Yunnan.

The two horizontal copper pipes complete a loop to the bath sink and tub/shower. On the other end of this loop is a small pump under the kitchen sink that promises to deliver hot water to any fixture, wasting only a half cup of cold water down the drain. The pump can be turned on manually or by motion or set with a timer. The looping pipes were oversized to reduce water flow resistance and thereby making the pump work less and last longer.

There are copious details like this in all the systems of the house that were researched and debated and kicked around for weeks and or months to find the best and most efficient scenario. Saving a few quarts of water may not mean much today but it is likely to be obvious in a few decades. We are coming out of a building age of complacency. We believe this house is setting a standard for not only what could be done but what should be done in our buildings.

While these standards are new here in the US, they are becoming standard building practices in Europe. Communities in Austria have adopted the Passive House as the building standard and it is the building code in Frankfurt Germany. The relatively low cost of fuel in the US has not inspired builders and architects to design or build with fuel reductions in much in the same way that cheap gas never demanded our car manufactures to increase miles per gallon.