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Homestead Update 8/8 ~ Building our Passive House

We returned from Paris on Sunday and finally got back home to Iowa Monday night. The last few days have been crazy as we attempt to get back to normalcy around here, whatever normal is for us. Of course my garden needed attention and the fridge was empty. There was tons of laundry to do and we had to catch up on life with the kiddos. I’ve finally got a few minutes to catch up with you!

Big things are happening on our little homestead! Check it out…we are finally building our Passive House!

passive house holeWe have been planning for YEARS to build a passive house on our homestead and I mentioned a long time ago that we were finally moving forward with the build. Well, one entire year later, here we are, actually moving forward! It’s taken us a long time to get to this place in our lives. Life for self-employed home builders is very complicated and my husband deserves all of the credit for getting us to this point. We are very excited to see progress finally! The excavators showed up yesterday and started digging.

digging the passive house foundationThey dug all day yesterday. And they are still digging today.

watching the diggersEveryone is having fun watching them dig. It’s really amazing actually. Can you imagine having to dig that hole by hand? Wow. It must have taken forever to build houses in the olden days.

Anyway, if you’re curious about the Passive House, it’s a European concept. Essentially, the passive home is so well insulated that we will not need a furnace to keep us warm – even on the coldest of days out here in Eastern Iowa. Our entire house will be heated by the heat we generate ourselves {appliances etc} and the sun. Our home will use 90% less energy than the traditionally built home because it’s positioned in such a way to maximize solar energy and minimize energy loss.

We will have enormous south facing windows – 3 stories of them, in fact, as well as a state of the art ventilation system to keep our indoor air quality high. I don’t understand all of the specifics, but essentially, our home design has been through rigorous computer models to make sure it will preform as advertised. We have to minimize thermal bridges and maximize solar gain. Every little detail has to be taken into consideration. It’s taken a long time to figure it all out.

I can’t wait to see the finished product and I will be blogging about our progress. If you’re interested in the Passive House concept, head over to the Passive House website to read more!

In other news, at our homestead…

organic garden haul 8/6

My garden is still looking nice! I’ve got more green beans to freeze, tons of onions and potatoes! The peppers are coming on and one of these days my tomatoes are going to explode as they all turn red. They are loaded but I’m  not sure how I’m going to pick them as I didn’t bother to tie them or prune. 😉

crop dusterAnd here’s the rub with trying to live a clean life. Crop dusters came out yesterday as we were watching the excavators dig. UGH!

crop dustersWe certainly can control a lot, but I can’t control this. I made my kids go inside. Call me a freak or over reacting mom, but I just cringe at the amount of chemicals being spewed just feet from my kids.

crop dustersOh man. The entertainment factor was high, though! We had our own private air show. If you’ve ever seen crop dusters in action, you know that they are maniacs. They fly low and bank quickly. They zip and zoom and we were all enthralled. Last year, a crop dusting helicopter {weird, eh?} crashed about a few miles from our house. I know the “experts” say the stuff they drop is safe-ish, but let me tell you, that helicopter dropped its load in the little creek and killed the fish. The locals were warned to keep their kids out of the area. That doesn’t sound too safe to me.

So, while we are happy to finally build our clean, environmentally responsible home, I am saddened that I live so close to practices I can’t control. Please send me $1.5 million so I can buy the adjoining acres. 😉 Money always wins, eh?

And that’s what’s been going on around here. Have a great week!

Gold Coast House Builders

Wednesday 25th of September 2013

Looks like an incredible little pad you have there. On a side note, those vegetables look delcious! :)


Friday 9th of August 2013

I am so excited to watch this process happen! In SW Colorado some of our best friends were Straw Bale builders. Their houses are pieces of art that live in harmony with the environment. So beautiful. I heard that straw bale is illegal in Iowa. Not sure why.

Sad about the dusters. I will totally give you 1.5 mill. I'll wire transfer it later today! =)

Michelle Marine

Friday 9th of August 2013

Think of the commune we could open! :-)


Thursday 8th of August 2013

Wow, we'll done you. We have had a lot of programmes about this on our tv here in uk. In fact some people built one about a mile from us. It has a turfed roof! It's amazing. I look forward to seeing your progress.


Thursday 8th of August 2013

That's a BIG HOLE! We bought 5 acres 30 years ago to build a passive home very similar to what yours is going to be, but unfortunately, life plans changed for us and it never happened. We still have the land. Will probably sell it some day, but for right now, just hoping that it builds in value. Your house sounds wonderful! So sorry about the crop dusters. UGH! Wish we could stop that. Maybe some day.


Thursday 8th of August 2013

I'm really excited to watch the progress of your passive house. Very cool!

Michelle Marine

Thursday 8th of August 2013

Thanks, Kelli! We're excited too!!

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