Monday, 29 August 2016

Inside Passive House CasaTortuga

We are closing in on one full year of living in the house now. It has been wonderful. I don't think either of us has missed Priscilla for even one second.

I'm still puttering along with finishing the bits that need finishing. The pantry is the next big project I'll soon be gearing up to start. The last couple of months has been dedicated to finishing the interior of the screened porch. It's finally done now too. At this time of the year it is the best room of the house. I will have to attempt to photograph it to show it off too but the quality of the pictures will be nothing like the ones that follow.

These pictures are some of only a few that you will find on the Kendel-Dezoete Designs Houzz page. We would like to give a big shout out to Mike Dezoete for making the experience of tricking out a kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a laundry room/closet so enjoyable. By the time we finally found our way to Mike we were pretty overwhelmed by the whole process of building a house and having to make decisions about a million and one details. He made it fun again...and easy. Thanks're the best!

So here is the main level of Casa Tortuga...

The kitchen is always the best room in the house. At this time of year the counter top is the same color as the leaves outside. It's almost like you're outside when standing at the sink, surrounded by green and the large window.
It makes doing dishes a little bit more pleasant...if that's possible.
                                                                                                                                               ~photo credit: RDZ Photography
The kitchen view from the dining table.
                                                                                                                                    ~photo credit: RDZ Photography
The living room view from the dining table.
                                                                                                                                    ~photo credit: RDZ Photography
The master bathroom (or "principle" bathroom as cousin Marie prefers. Actually, I like that better too.).
The barrier-free shower is in the background. Note the niche by the tub...tall enough to accommodate any wine bottle!
                                                                                                                                    ~photo credit: RDZ Photography
The view from the shower through the laundry/closet area into the principle bedroom.
                                                                                                                                    ~photo credit: RDZ Photography
The guest bathroom on the lower level. I still need to build the permanent vanity for this room. What is there now is guests have some place for toiletries when they visit.
                                                                                                                                    ~photo credit: RDZ Photography

That's it. The photographer was only here to photograph the kitchen and bathrooms. There are more photos that show more views of these rooms plus a couple more areas outside these rooms on the Kendel-Dezoete Designs page on Houzz. Check them out here:

And now for the not-so-high-quality photos...

The recently completed screened porch, looking west. Absolutely the best room of the house at this time of year!
The ceiling actually isn't arched. The only way I can take a photo of a whole room is with the panorama function
 on the iPhone's camera. That's the Turtle Falls workshop in the background...
where I spend most of my waking hours these days. 
Looking east in the screened porch. A wood-burning fireplace and WeatherMaster windows will allow us
 to use this room on those nice sunny days through the fall and winter.

That's all for now. I better get back to work...still many things to build for Casa Tortuga in the Turtle Falls workshop!

More later,

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Certified Passive House Casa Tortuga

Casa Tortuga's new welcome sign.
Five years ago we bought the piece of waterfront property we now affectionately call Turtle Falls.

Four years ago we started planning to build something. We had no idea what at the time.

Two years ago we started to build the house we call Casa Tortuga. We were striving for Passive House certification. It was a big leap of faith in an area where no other passive houses existed to help guide us on our journey.

We had 3 very dedicated men willing to help us achieve such a lofty goal. None of them had built a passive house before or had even heard of such a thing. They were meticulous in executing the details necessary to achieve passive house standards.

March 15th of 2016, we were notified that we had achieved Passive House certification.


The west end of Casa Tortuga...and the view you see as you drive up.
The south facing fa├žade with enough overhang to keep the interior cool
during the hot summer days.

We still have landscaping to do. But we have the rest of our days to putz away at that. The kitchen designer is wanting to come by soon and photograph the you'll have to wait to see the inside until that has been done.

That's all for now. It's a gorgeous day here at Turtle Falls and I really would prefer to be on the dock than typing away at this computer.

More later,

Welcome to Casa Tortuga...
one of Canada's newest
certified passive houses.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Insulation Insanity?

Time sure does fly when you're having fun. We have been living in the house now for 4 months and I am still puttering along on the interior finishing details. That's why I have been so lax with the blog posts.

Today's ramblings are about the insulation encapsulating Casa Tortuga. Insulation is one of the main components of a passive house. For the uninitiated, the amount of insulation we have in this house is a real head shaker. More often than not, folks will look at us in disbelief when the subject comes up and you can see them mentally calculating the expense of all that over insulation and then...well...they shake their head some more.

You be the judge. Here's what has gone into insulating this house...

14" (35.5cm) of XPS under the slab. That's an R-value of 70.
1" (2.5cm) of foil-faced polyiso/XPS between the stud wall and the concrete
foundation wall. This is the layer that gives us the continuous air-tight
envelope, bottom to top.
1" (2.5cm) foil-faced polyiso, making its way to the ceiling of the upper level.
This layer also serves as our vapour barrier.

The air-tight envelope is completed with the installation of
1" (2.5cm) polyiso on the ceiling of the upper level.

On the inside of the 1" (2.5cm) polyiso
is 6" (15cm) of Roxul mineral wool insulation.
On the outside of the concrete foundation, 2 layers of EPS Styrofoam
equal to 10.5" (26.6cm) is installed. Also, note the 16" (40.6cm) deep I-joist
cavities above the styrofoamed concrete foundation.
Those 16" (40.6cm) deep I-joists, installed all around the house above the
concrete foundation wall, get filled with dense-pack cellulose. The wall
system is now around R-72 (Roxul/polyiso/concrete/EPS) 
to R-90 (Roxul/polyiso/cellulose) when the Roxul, polyiso and cellulose
components are added together.
Last but not least, 28" (71cm) of blown-in cellulose in the
attic completes the passive house insulation. R-value here is around 80.

Well...are you shaking your head yet? Laid out in pictures like this it does seem a bit over the top. But the fact that the heat pump rarely gets past the ultra low setting on a cloudy day here in the winter makes it all worthwhile.

I will say the lack of a conventional heating system makes for a very comfortable living environment. You may know what it's like with the drier winter air and the forced-air you feel like you're drying up from the inside out, the chapped lips, the parched mouth, the itchy dry skin. Well...that doesn't happen here. Just one of the perks of insane amounts of insulation.

Gotta love it!

More later,