Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Barn is Born-The Movie

A slideshow of the building of a storage barn in Northern Michigan (discussed in previous posting).

Drawings-sketchUp 7
Movie creation-imovie
Embedded from-My YouTube site.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Barn is Born

Moondog Vineyards
This project is complete and was an exhilarating job to work on and coordinate. I was contacted by the owners of this brand-new vineyard last winter to discuss building a storage barn. They planted their first grapes this last spring and worked mightily on the vineyard, on the barn and the state of the art trickle irrigation system they had installed. Their plate was full.
They were interested in using green techniques and products. They wanted to do the project in phases. We started through the design process and worked through the different needs, wants and have-to-haves.
  • They needed storage for their farm equipment. Garage doors on each gable would allow for the tractor to pull in and pull out with efficiency
  • They wanted a second floor for storage but also for the future possibility of office space.
  • They needed a design that gave them the flexibility to add solar in the future.(photovoltaic and/or water heating)
The Inspiration

After some preliminary sketches and discussion, they found this design which became the inspiration. This is a barn house from The Netherlands designed by JagerJanssen Architects. It has such a modern sensibility and has some nice green elements. The roof and eave walls use a corrugated cement board product and the thinking was we would substitute metal panels. The wood siding on the gables invited us to use reclaimed siding from Odom's in Grawn, MI.

The Design and Drawing

The project was designed with these green elements in mind:
  • Cedar sill plates on sill seal.
  • 2x6 studs on 24" centers to allow for more insulation and less wood (O.V.E. framing)
  • Sheathed with OSB and wrapped with Typar. Additionally, we used a drain plane product to allow for an airspace on back side of wood siding.
  • Floor trusses-to eliminate beam and posts that would get in the way. Also 2x4 components in trusses use smaller trees than big 2x12's (which wouldn't span the 24' width.)
  • Trusses for roof system. Again smaller components, plus more efficient labor-wise.
  • Metal panels from McElroy Metal. These were chosen because they are manufactured in Marshall MI, well within a 500 mile radius of the job.
  • South facing sloping roof for future solar.
  • All windows were purchased from a window suppliers "dog" bin. These are misordered or display models. All were pan-flashed, window wrapped and spray foamed during installation. The majority (2nd story) are energy-star. All, but 1 fit within framing layout eliminating headers, which cuts down on thermal bridging.
  • They opted for finger jointed cedar T&G (found on Craigslist) from Charlevoix, MI. for gable ends.
The Finished Project

It was a great privilege to work on this project. I'd really like to thank McNeal Electric Inc., Mills Construction Inc., Jim Swanson, Skip Bryant and...
 Chantal and Mike

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Garage

It has been a busy summer/fall and while that's a good thing in this economy it's also my excuse for not blogging like I should be. This project was during this last summer. 24' x 24' detached garage, on an alley, in Traverse City. Aside from the Permit hoops one must jump through, it was relatively painless. The city was very cooperative and helpful. Give them a shout out! Unfortunately, I had to comply with the requirement that the garage match the house, hence the vinyl siding and shingle choice.

The Green elements of this project:

  • 2 x 6 studs on 24" centers (O.V.E. framing)
  • 1/2" OSB sheathing covered w/ Typar (because durability is Green)
  • Attic trusses on 24" centers.
  • 2 skylights for daylighting upstairs
  • Re-use of window that had been removed from house.
  • Recycled all cardboard from project.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I'm pleased to announce that I received GreenAdvantage certification today. 
"GreenAdvantage is a nationally recognized environmental certification for building-related practitioners that prepares you to use green practices more effectively."
This was a 16-hour class and 2-hour exam offered by Northwestern Michigan College in partnership with Grand Rapids Community College. 
The instructor was Sue Norman, LEED-AP.

Hammontree Builders

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stimulus Success! Shut Down Window/Door Maker Gets A Second Chance

Stimulus Success! Shut Down Window/Door Maker Gets A Second Chance

Posted using

Serious Materials Finalizes Purchase

As seen on  the "Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC last night-(and mentioned here in a previous posting)
Serious Materials purchased troubled Republic Windows in the Chicago area. I love this company! Great Green products and Great social responsibility. Triple bottom line. People, Planet, Profit.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Stimulus and Energy Tax Credits

Now this is better... 
I've been writing a bit about the Federal Energy Tax Credits and the incentives available to homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. This can be a real boost to our economy and to the Greening of America! You can find more information for specific elements (windows,insulation,HVAC etc.)here.
This is from the site:
How has the new Stimulus bill affected the tax credits for energy efficient home improvements?

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed a stimulus bill (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that made some significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. the highlights are:
           The tax credits that were previously effective for 2009, have been extended to 2010 as well.
           The tax credits has been raised from 10% to 30%.
           The tax credits that were for a specific dollar amount (ie: $300 for a CAC), have been converted to 30% of   the cost.
           The maximum credit has been raised from $500 to $1500 for the two years (2009-2010). However, some improvements such as geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, and solar panels are not subject to the $1500 maximum.
           The $200 cap on windows has been removed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Serious Materials to buy Republic Windows

Thanks to Jonathan Sweet (The Sweet Spot Remodeling Blog) at, 
Serious Materials, makers of ThermaProof Windows and EcoRock is awaiting the final OK to purchase Republic Windows and Doors. Republic was in the news last November, when the Chicago plant was closed suddenly, throwing many people out of work. The workers staged a sit-in to rally the public's interest. My previous blog entry discussed their green products and their sustainable philosophy. If the purchase goes forward and they manufacture their 
ThermaProof windows in the Chicago area that will be great news for both the employees of Republic and Green builders in the midwest.