Passive House Update – Zehnder ERV, Insulation Time, Blower Door Test!

I promised you an update on our Passive House progress in February and it looks like I failed because March is here already!  Since February was such a short month, I guess you can still consider this February’s update.  The good. The bad. The ugly truth.

passive house update, march 2015 simplifylivelove

Passive House Update – Zehnder ERV, Insulation Time, Blower Door Test!

Getting to Insulation

I had hoped to have pictures of drywall for you at this point. Sadly, I do not. There’s just been so much to do to get to that point. We’re getting closer – but we’re just not quite that far along yet.

But that doesn’t mean people haven’t been working on the house since my last post. Someone {us, the plumber, electrician, and/or HVAC guys} has been working on our house almost every single day since I wrote the last update. We’ve honestly made more progress in the last month than we made in the last six months combined.
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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!

Bedroom Makeover

This blog is all about keeping it real, right? I can’t pretend that life is always rosey, kids are always happy, and the house is always clean. Sometimes, things are just a mess!!

One thing I have had a terrible time doing is getting my children to keep their rooms clean. It was a little easier when we lived next door and had all the bedrooms on the same floor, but in this house, the kids’ rooms are upstairs and my room is downstairs. It’s easier to ignore the mess when I rarely walk up to see it.

We’ve only lived in this house since February…and here was the state of Anna’s room yesterday…go ahead, gasp away in horror…

You get the idea – general disaster…

 

In her closet…

 

Between the bed and the bookshelf…

 

Under the bed…

 

I’m not sure how this blue thing ended up in her room – or where it ever came from for that matter…

There were a few major problems with her room. First, it’s quite small, which in and of itself is not a problem. But, stuff just got shoved there when we moved and was never removed. There was NO WAY for her to keep it clean because there was just way too much stuff.

So, I went in yesterday morning and removed at least half of the stuff. I moved the bookshelf and some toys around a bit, swapped out one little piece of furniture with Cora’s room and tried to give Anna a place to put things away into. Here’s what it looked like this morning (still clean!).

Bedroom Makeover

 

Much better! The curtain on the blue bed side table will be hung on the window…
I need to make a curtain for this armoire too. Dan’s parents made this for the nursery along with a crib (when I actually thought we would use one) and changing table that I still love.
Closet still needs a little work, but it’s much better than it was…and she plays in it!

So, I still have some work to do, but overall, it was a good morning’s work. Anna is pleased with the results and I can now breathe when I walk into her room. After I finished her room, I read this great post about simplicity parenting by a friend of mine and was inspired to do more – in time…there are two more bedrooms and a horribly messy basement to reclaim first.

My question to you is, how do you inspire your children to clean their rooms without yelling, nagging, and threatening? Do you have any great tips, because I could sure use them!