The Photo Shoot Part II

A few weeks back we had Corey Gaffer back to our home to take final pictures of the exteriors.  The results were amazing and the process was enjoyable to watch and experience. We have become accustomed to cars driving by the front of the house and minutes later to see the same car in the ally.  Most enjoyable is the foot and bike traffic as we get a chance to chat and answer questions about the roof lines, build process and Passive house building methodology.

Day Shots ...

Dusk Shots ...

Summer break

We have had a very enjoyable and busy summer taking some time off from updating the blog, but it is back on!  There have been a few house tours we hosted early and mid summer for a group of people from Fresh Energy, the City of Minneapolis and a few others.  It is always fun to share with the groups and educate on Passive house design.  It turns out our oldest son enjoys giving tours as well and he impressed a group of people when he explained what blower door testing is, how it is performed and why it is important (see old post for more information on how it went).

"5 Star Plus" Home Energy Rating Score

Our home was evaluated to determine its Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score.  This is a way to compare it to other homes, including old and new construction.  The home received a score of 5 star plus and the HERS index was 32. 

This means the house is estimated to be 68% more energy efficient than standard new construction and 100% more efficient than older existing homes.  The HERS report includes an estimate of the annual energy cost which was $1,249, broken down to heating ($256), cooling ($80), water heating ($104), lights/appliances ($692) and service charges ($116).  Knowing what our montly energy bills were for our last house, it's hard to believe those numbers are for the entire year!  The annual savings is reported to be about $2,840 over a comparable size existing home rated at 130.  Without adjusting for increasing cost of utilities over time, that's a savings of $85,200 over 30 years. 

While it's fabulous to see that we'll save money on utilities from now on, that wasn't our main motivation to build this type of house.   We were really impressed with the quality of construction and how comfortable the Passive homes were that we toured.  Once we learned about the Passive house concept, it really made sense to us to build a home this way.  Perhaps living in a century-old-home for 12 years put us in the right mindset to build for longevity, knowing this structure will be here long after we're gone.  It feels good and really makes sense to build a home that minimizes its impact on our environment, and will do so for well over 100 years.  In the meantime, we have the pleasure of living in it and enjoying its comforts as a family.


Nice Indeed

Our artistic friend drew a cute house cartoon and framed it as a housewarming gift.  We absolutely agree; it sure is nice to have a passive house!

Throughout the 4 frigid months that we've lived here, we've found that our Nordeast Nest is simply a super comfortable home.  There's no need to wear slippers to keep your feet warm on the wood or tile floors.  You can open a closet door and walk in without experiencing a drop in room temperature, even though the closet has two exterior walls and no heat vents. We appreciate the extra storage space in our mechanical room that has no furnace.  We've had our (electric) heat pump set to maintain a baseline of 64 degrees, and we let the modulating gas fireplace heat the house up to a cozy temperature during the day.  In January, with an average outdoor temperature of 19 F, our gas bill was $30 (which $15 is tax and fees) and the electric bill was $140 (which $21 is tax and fees).  We definitely use a lot less energy than we did in our old house next door, despite the new house having over twice the heated square footage.  We look forward to coasting through spring with even less heating (or cooling) needed.  Spring has to arrive at some point, right? 


Artwork by the multi-talented scientist/artist, Lisa LaGoo.

The Photo Shoot

It's a good sign when your architect, designer and builder want to capture professional photos of the end result. The team hired an architectural photographer, Corey Gaffer, to document the home for their portfolios.  They all came for a fun-filled day of photography.  The designer unloaded an entire room full of props, including accent pillows, artwork, vases, flowers, oranges, and beautiful runner rugs. Everything supplemented our existing decor perfectly, and enhanced the rooms while matching our style.  Everyone contributed to polish faucets, re-arrange furniture and adjust dishes to look just so. A few days after the photo shoot, our 4-year-old saw me making his bed and said, "Oh, you're staging it." Yes, a lot of staging took place that day, and the end results are stunning. Corey is a talented photographer, creating magazine-worthy images out of our family home.    Here is our Nordeast Nest- looking particularly photogenic that day.  ;)

Living Room-


Master Bedroom and Bathroom-

Kids' Bathroom-