Plumbers under pressure

Just 24 hours before the final plumbing inspection, we had no toilets, wall-mounted sinks, faucets, shower heads, or water-connected appliances installed.  How many plumbers does it take to do all this in a single work day?  The answer is seven.  Everything got installed and the house passed the plumbing inspection.  We let out a sigh of relief after that.  All of the fixtures are ultra low-flow, which caused some confusion during ordering with the supplier.  Apparently, low-flow fixtures are not what they're used to supplying.  That was surprising to me.  Next time you install a new faucet, get the low-flow!  They provide plenty of water and will reduce your water usage and your water bill.  It's a win, win.

Nobel prize winning lighting

The recessed LED lights that we're using in our home.

The recessed LED lights that we're using in our home.

It was exciting to see 3 scientists win the 2014 Nobel prize in physics last week for their invention of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs).  Their invention makes energy efficient and environment-friendly bright white LED lighting possible. Our Nordesast Nest is outfitted with recessed LED lights in the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, bathrooms and basement. They cast a pleasant white light and are controlled with dimming switches.

S14 Clear LED Bulb

S14 Clear LED Bulb

All of the surface mounted lighting fixtures also have LED bulbs.  Some of our fixtures come with the LEDs built-in, but we found that purchasing regular fixtures and using LED bulbs to be more cost effective. They even make decorative LED bulbs for the pendant lights. Here's what we're using for the fixtures where the bulb is visible:

 

The new LED lights are around seven times as efficient as conventional light bulbs and about twice as efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs. That means big energy savings. It’s just huge — worldwide we could close or not build over 500 large power stations, if everyone used LED light bulbs.

Check out the link to the NPR story:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/10/07/354282468/led-lights-shine-in-nobel-prize-now-how-about-your-home

More finishes! Like icing on a cake.

What's happening at the Nordeast Nest?  A lot of hard work, day and night.  We have the final inspection for occupancy scheduled for October 29th.  We're excited and exhausted at the same time.  This has been a super fun project for us to design and build our family home together, and we are thrilled to be so close to moving into it!  We have LED lights functioning in the living room now, and the air exchanger is now quietly and continuously bringing in fresh air.  The exterior is painted and we await the installation of the metal porch roof.  The quartz counter tops were installed in the kitchen and bathrooms.  The tile in the master bath was completed, and the mudroom cabinets are installed now too.  So beautiful!  This weekend, Ryan installed the Brazilian Walnut flooring in the upstairs hallway, and it is gorgeous.  We look forward to seeing the hardwood go in on the main floor this week.  Hardwood is a slight understatement; Ryan showed us how a strong hammer hit to the Brazilian Walnut barely made an indentation.  We figure it should hold up well in a house with 3 kids.  Our new garage is currently the workshop for sanding, priming and painting all of the trim, and Tarek has been helping Ryan out with this big task.  Next up... priming and painting all the cabinetry doors.  Also, the appliances will be delivered on Wednesday!

No, that's not air conditioning...

Tile, tile and more tile installation is what's been happening at the Nordeast Nest.  It's incredible to be at this point, watching the house become the home we envisioned.  With Ryan and Kurt tiling in full swing upstairs, Tarek took on the task of painting the basement ceiling and walls.  A few days later, the basement is bright and one step closer to becoming the kids' playroom.  Exterior painting is also in progress, and that should be done next week.

Last time we wrote, it was cool outside and warm inside the passive house.  Now we know that the house performs well in the reverse circumstances too.  The cabinet-maker commented that the air-conditioning felt good as he carried in more kitchen cabinets on a hot and humid evening.  Ryan responded that we didn't have the air conditioning fired up yet, but "it was just cold two days ago."  After the house gets electrical service this week we could put the minisplit AC/heating system to use, as needed.

Cool outside, comfortable inside

There were several items checked off the long 'to do' list this week.  Among them include:  all the siding installed and ready for paint, some kitchen and bathroom cabinets installed, kitchen and bathroom sinks ordered, garage door installed, steel cap on garage roof installed, mudroom and bathroom floors prepared for tile, kids' bathroom floor tile down, master bath shower water-proofed and ready for tile, drywall and taping done in the basement, hardwood flooring delivered, bedrooms measured for carpet, plumbing for the tankless water heater finished, and the house is now connected to Minneapolis city water!  Phew. 

Cooler fall weather kicked in this week, and we had our first glimpse of how the solar passive house behaves.   It was chilly on Wednesday and Ryan closed all the windows in the morning.  When we entered the house in the evening, we went from the cool outdoor air into a comfortably warm environment inside the house.  Considering the house is still not connected to electricity or gas, we were enjoying heat from the sun, retained by the super-insulated walls and air-tight construction.  This is so cool, or as our 8-year-old would say, this is epic!