Interior Painting

It’s been slow going, but the interior painting is now coming along nicely. Both bathrooms are done – 1 coat primer + 2 coats color – and look great. The kitchen is also finished and ready for the cabinet installs.

The rest of the house is in the priming stage, and I’m trying to put in a number of hours everyday. It’s wonderful to see it all coming together, piece by piece. Rae picked up 8 more gallons of our “off-white” today, as well as the accent wall colors, and I can’t wait to put those on this weekend.

We chose Pittsburgh Paint’s Pure Performance line which offers Zero VOC, low odor and Green Seal Class A Certification. Since we’re planning on some bold accent colors, starting with a Zero VOC base is essential because the tinting process adds VOCs, especially the darker colors.

So far the paint and primer has been excellent, with good coverage and very little odor. We’ve gone all day and not noticed any symptoms of being in close contact with the paint (headaches, nausea etc.) but we’re still getting plenty of fresh air flow through the open windows just in case.
The primer and two coats of final color did peel off around the shower however when we attempted to remove the masking tape without scoring first, showing that it hadn’t soaked in, but this was a heavily mudded part and not the drywall. Thinning the primer for these types of area may have prevented this, allowing it to soak through the plaster a bit more. A full days drying may have done wonders too, but we were impatient!

Here’s our color swatch:

And here’s the latest gallery of painting progress:

[pictobrowser 46448896@N00 72157602579388441]

Mechanical Systems

It’s nice to finally see the various mechanical systems in the house connected.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’ll be running:

• Lifebreath Model 155 Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV)
– The “mechanical leak” for the house
• Lifebreath Turbulent Flow Precipitator TFP3000
– Filter system that works with the HRV. Removes 99.97% of particles such as pollen, fungus spores, dust, animal dander and dirt
• WaterFurnace Envision Series Geothermal All-In-One Heat Pump
– Main heating and cooling for the house
• Superstore 45 Gallon Coil Booster Tank
– Water storage tank that collects the “waste” energy from the WaterFurnace, and provides us with 100° hot water.
• Eemax EX190TC On-Demand Electric Water Heater
– The “booster” unit to heat our 100° hot water in the tank to a pleasant 120-130° for showers, dish washing etc.

So…a little detail on HRVs.

When you build a super-insulated house you can’t always rely on opening windows to bring in fresh air, especially in Vermont where outside winter temps can drop to 30 below! This is where an HRV comes in.

As a “mechanical leak” for the house, the HRV automatically exchanges the inside air for fresh outside air, but the cool part is it “recovers” the temperature of the inside air and applies it to the new air coming in. Lifebreath claims 83% effectiveness for this unit, though we’ll have to wait to see if this is true. The advantage in winter is that you don’t lose your warm inside air as you bring in cold outside air, which also means less runtime for your heating system.


Well the drywall is on, and the taping and mudding is done!
I spent most of today cleaning the master bathroom, guest bathroom and guest bedroom. It’s very time consuming checking the finish, sanding, wiping down the walls and vacuuming the huge amount of dust that it produces. All this is to prep for painting, which we’d like to finish before we move in.

Cotton Insulation

The mechanical room has a potential of being quite loud depending on the particular equipment running (geothermal furnace, hot water heater, heat pump etc.) so we felt insulating this room was a must. Recycled cotton batts – one of the better green insulation products – fit this need perfectly. Dad and I drove a fews hours south to the only Vermont distributor of Bonded Logic’s UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber insulation and picked up 12 bundles of varying thicknesses and R-values, which my girlfriend Rae and I installed all day today. It’s excellent stuff, very dense – so perfect for sound absorption – but easy to work with and install. Working without gloves was nice (which I wouldn’t do with regular fiberglass) but the cotton fibers gave off a lot of dust and so a mask and eye protection were very important.

We also did the ceilings in the two downstairs storage/bedrooms to help with noise transferring though from traffic upstairs.