The Woodka Remodel: Week Ten

Ten weeks in, and the amount of activity at the Woodka house continues; in fact, things are busier than ever, with several ongoing projects happening simultaneously. The entire property is abuzz with activity. Let's take a look at what's happening this week....

Geothermal Loops Installed

Last week we mentioned the beginning of the geothermal installation. This week that work continues. The excavators are here, and are completing the excavation and installation of the loop system in the back yard for the geothermal system that will efficiently heat and cool the Woodka home. This new loop system circulates water from the house into the ground, which is a constant 50 degrees year-round. The circulation process works to transfer heat from the ground into the home for heating in winter, and reverses during the warmer months to transfer heat from the home back into the ground for cooling. The whole process sounds complicated and even a bit mysterious, but in fact is fairly simple. Learn more about geothermal heating and cooling HERE. Once the entire system is installed, it will heat and cool the home very efficiently; geothermal can reduce heating and cooling costs by 50% or more compared to a traditional gas or electric HVAC system.

Insulation Insulation Insulation

The goal is to make the completed Woodka renovation as energy-efficient as possible. The homeowners are highly motivated to create a showcase for the latest in energy saving and sustainably-sourced materials. The substantial investment they're making now should pay off for the lifetime of the home in greatly reduced operating costs.

As part of the efficiency upgrade to the home, new insulation is being added. During the 'deconstruction' phase of the existing home structure, all of the old fiberglas batt insulation was removed. That process uncovered several major issues with batt-type insulation; shrinkage and settling of batt-type insulation can occur over time, pulling the insulation away from wall studs and creating gaps in the homes' air envelope that allows air to leak into and out of the home. That's a huge source of wasted energy in any home. Another problem discovered with the old fiberglass batt insulation was mold. Air leakage can also allow moisture into the homes' wall and roof cavities, and where there is moisture and darkness, mold is not far behind. This mold, if not controlled, can contribute significantly to respiratory and other negative health risks to occupants of the home.

All of that old insulation has been removed, and this week new spray foam insulation is being applied to all existing exterior wall cavities (this is being done now while the interior wallboard is removed). Spray foam insulation is an outstanding insulation product offering advantages of more traditional batt-type insulation; it covers the entire area completely, eliminating gaps and removing the possibility of air leakage. The spray foam insulation also prohibits the growth of mold. The result is an extremely air-tight thermal envelope, which leads to lower energy usage to heat and cool, which leads to lower energy bills.

The spray foam insulation is only being added to existing walls; the walls of the new expansion areas have been built with PorterSIPs, which will keep those areas well insulated.


Window Installation

Week ten sees another important project beginning; the installation of the brand new Andersen windows that were delivered last week.

All of the homes windows are being replaced, so it's a big job. This week most of the windows on the main level of the house are installed. With the new insulation and the windows, the renovation project is on its way to being a completely air-tight and super-efficient structure!

The homes original windows were very inefficient, as almost all windows of their era were. New window technology and designs are allowing windows to be incredibly efficient, almost as efficient as the insulated wall structure itself. The owners have chosen Andersen windows for their exceptional efficiency, durability, and appearance.

Additional Week Ten Projects

In addition to every mentioned already, even more work is being done this week. Framing began on the main level covered porch on the lakeside of the home. About 75% of the homes' electrical work has been completed along with 90% of the plumbing. The entire home was give a rough inspection approval this week; further inspections (electrical, mechanical, and building) will be completed in the coming weeks.

Week Ten Wrap-Up

All in all, a great deal of work was accomplished in week ten. The new geothermal looping, spray foam insulation, and Andersen windows are all critical parts of the puzzle that, once completed, will make the Woodka an incredibly energy-effiient, state-of-the-art home. Seeing them in place is keeping the excitement level up as we move into week eleven, which you can read out about HERE.

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