Saturday, August 30, 2008

Starting to Look Like a House!

It's so exciting to see our new home starting to take shape.

After almost two years of research and design, to see it spring to life is something to behold.

In this picture, you can see the foam insulation in the SIP panels.

All of the first floor SIP panels are now in place and over the next several days after Labor Day, the framers will start framing the downstairs interior and putting in the second level floor.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Walls are Going Up!

After days of delay due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay, our SIP panels are finally going up. Here's our progress so far...

SIP Panels Arrive!

The SIP panels were ordered a couple months ago after many, many months of design and re-design. So their arrival has been much anticipated.

SIP stands for Structural Insulated Panel. These are what our exterior walls and roof are constructed of. They are "green" because they are manufactured off site so on-site construction waste is minimized. They are also extremely energy efficient with four inches of styrofoam on the walls and ten inches in the roof. The insulation factor is several times standard insulation.

They arrive from the factory with all the holes cut out for the windows, doors, electrical outlets, etc... So once they've arrived, we will start to see our house beginning to look more like a house!

The Floor is Added

With the foundation and bottom brickwork finished, the time came to add the floor. The go-ahead for laying the floor finally came as word arrived that the SIP panels were nearing completion.

More on the SIP panels later...

The Green Illumination

Almost two years ago, we decided that it was time to build a new house. We had lived in our current house for almost 18 years and raised two wonderful children, a son who is now grown up and living a successful life on his own and a daughter who will soon be graduating high school and heading to college.

Because we had learned so much about the "green" movement through interviews on my radio show, Maggie and I decided we wanted to build a green house, one that was energy efficient and environment friendly. Our efforts started with a search for an architect that knew something about green residential building. We could not find one in the Midlands of South Carolina, but we did in the Upstate. Bob Bourguignon of Sustainable Architecture in Moore, SC came highly recommended and after interviewing him, we decided to contract with him to design our new home.

After more than a year of working with him, we finally had our house plans. The next step was to find a builder. Of course, we could not find a builder in the Midlands either who knew much about green building. After interviewing several candidates, we finally decided on Jay Rogers, with Rogers Construction Engineering, mainly because of his professionalism and enthusiasm. He really wanted to build the first truly green, LEED certified house in the Midlands.

For those of you not familiar with LEED, it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED has been around for many years in commercial building but is brand new in residential building. LEED is administered by the US Green Building Council and awards points for various design elements which can result in Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification. Our home is going for Gold.

Here are a few pictures of our home as construction began.