The process of detailing the Net positive house was iterative and took the entire team. Detailing takes a clear understanding of not only the form but, the various layers of the building envelope. The building envelope is highly efficient and focused on creating a continuous seal around the entire house. The mechanical systems in the house allows inflow and outflow of air to the house when windows are not being used. We used raycore SIPs as structure, OSB for sheathing and foil faced Poly ISO for the WRB and continuous insulation. One of the biggest issues we experienced detailing this project was the continuous insulation, the IBC states there must be a continuous layer of insulation around conditioned space. We utilized rafters instead of trusses, allowing us to gain a higher ceiling in the public spaces of the house but presented a detailing problem on the exterior of the house where traditionally a soffit would exist. The transition from wall to roof specifically the insulation, we explored at a 1 to 1 scale in order to fully understand how the materials would interact with each other and lay on the house and came up with a design solution. Another tricky detail we explored was the window R.O, mid way through the design process the decision was made to abandon ZIP board as a WRB, this had serious design implications throughout all the details but the windows had to be redesigned because the nature of the Zip panels provided a structural surface to mount the windows and without ZIP in the new wall system we had to develop a alternate way to mount the windows. Ultimately, after time and iteration we decided to line the window R.O. with ¾ inch plywood to hold the window while screws were permanently driven through the aluminum window frame. This decision was made after consulting Interstate windows because their installation manual states an alternative method of driving the screws through flanges. During the actual construction phase of this project most of our details held their weight and did not have to be modified, as many times construction does not go as planned. However, we did find details that were overlooked or became issues as panels were constructed on site. Overall, Detail this project was successful! These project specific details we investigated will be used as prototype and precedent as the Net Positive studio continues its goal of creating affordable, efficient workforce housing in the future.
As we come to the final weeks of the semester, the Net+ Studio has had a busy first week on site, while also participating in the APDesign Kremer competition. Though we had some minor setbacks at the beginning, the studio worked hard to get all the wall and roof panels up on site. The studio had the help from Manhattan’s Habitat for Humanity, Manhattan Area Technical College, and HBI, with this help the studio was able to fully construct all wall and roof panels in just four days.
The studio has been working hard on and off-site in our final week of classes. The studio worked hard to complete a well round presentation for the APDesign Kremer Presentation. On Friday the 7th, the studio participated in the Kremer against two other fifth year studios. Though all the projects were amazing, and the students put in a long years’ worth of work, only one could win. The Net+ Studio is please to say that we placed 1st in the Kremer! We want to thank everyone who helped us achieve this accomplishment and we are so thankful for how this amazing project turned out!
Net+ Studio 2020-2021
As we get closer and closer to the end of the semester the Net Positive studio has been working diligently in APD West to complete panel construction. Working during class time and on our own time, the Net Positive studio was able to create a system of working that streamlined the last parts of the building process. Through this process we were able to complete not only the wall panels, but completely finish the roof panels by Friday morning. With all of the panels finished, we were able to prepare them for transport to Ogden. On Friday afternoon we were able to stack every panel onto a semi-trailer for transport. Though this process proved difficult due to the weight of the panels and the height of the stacks, we were able to get every panel but four on to the trailer, and the last four stacked onto the shop truck. Before calling it a day we put tarps over all the panels to protect them from the rain.
Next week we will be taking them to the site in Ogden and getting them up in place for the house. We plan to work with volunteers from habitat for humanity to efficiently and quickly get the home ready for interior construction.
As we start to close in near the end of the semester, our workload increases and remains consistently heavy. The Net+ Studio has been continuously preparing for the events of the 2021 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. We have been finalizing tests on our prototype as well as finetuning and practicing our presentations for the jurors. On top of this, we have been learning from the process of assembling the kitchen cabinets for St. John. Sometimes things had to be taken apart, recut, and reassembled, however, we have come away from the process with a beautiful, completed set of kitchen cabinets for the St. John project as well as a better knowledge for how to proceed with the select few custom cabinets in our own project in Ogden.
Due to unforeseen setbacks, our materials have been delayed a bit, but we should start to see them coming in at the beginning of next week. This will enable us to resume prefabrication of our wall panels for the Ogden project.
This week was very busy for the Net+Studio, the studio was split between many projects. Primarily, we focused on preparing a set of six presentations for the solar decathlon for the St. John project deadline coming up. We also focus on a continuation of the CD set for the Ogden house. The students organized a group meeting to assemble teams and delegate work to everyone so we can keep up with the multiple deadlines and work that lay ahead. As the semester winds down this time is crucial for us to step up and stay ahead of our work.
We also received our appliances including a refrigerator, dishwasher, range, washer, and dryer for the St. John house. Since receiving these appliances part of us focused on getting the cabinets cut and ready for assembly so everything could be brought to the house. Students learned how to use the CNC at the architecture department’s main campus shop without the assistance of the school’s resident CNC expert. We were able to CNC all the cabinets and bring them over to our studio shop to start assembly of the kitchen casework.
In other news, our materials for the Ogden house have been ordered. Raycore Panels are being made and should arrive next week as well as our lumber is being prepared down the street at Star Lumber.
This week, we started by setting up the APDWEST shop and preparing the construction panels area. Then, we completed a mock-up version of a typical wall and roof by assembling together all the pieces that we made last week. There were some issues regarding material cost because of the COVID 19 situation. In fact, the construction industry market price has significantly increased. For this reason, we came up with an alternative to replace the Zip board and XPS with polyiso insulation.
Framing is typically one of the most expensive parts of a home project. As part of the studio strategy, we knew this was a place to reduce the costs by doing the labor ourselves. As we are waiting for a restock of the lumber and ray-core, we started constructing two panels by using the remaining materials left at the shop from last year’s studio. We continued to finalize the construction drawing set by reviewing the plumbing plan, construction details, and casework based on the feedback from Habitat for Humanity.
On Friday, we brought up some fresh ideas regarding the landscape of the house. Considering the budget and the amount of maintenance the occupants would be saddled with, we came up with a potential list of trees, shrubs, grasses, and flower species to use. After assessing the landscape needs of the house, we settled for small grass beds at the foot of the pad to add a welcoming feel and pleasantly enhance the front porch’s overall impression. A screen between the patio and the driveway would block views of the cars while creating a private outdoor space to relax.
Seeing the landscape design successfully integrate the house into the neighborhood helps us project our drawings to reality. Now on to construction!
It has been a very busy week for the Net+ Studio! We have been making progress in both last year’s project in St. John as well as in this year’s project in Ogden. Monday through Wednesday were focused on doing shop work for our project in Ogden. This involved cleaning up the shop, taking time to meet in small team groups with Professor Gibson, and constructing an almost complete corner of house mock-up with a roof and window. Cleaning up the shop to create an efficient working environment was no small task. There was plenty to sweep, wipe down, reorganize, and move to best fit our needs in the coming weeks.
Later on, in the week we shifted focus to the house in St. John. Groups of students went on site with Gibson to work on the interior of the house to get it ready to have gypsum board installed by contractors. There will have to be at least one more tip back to St. John to do site cleanup work. Some students stayed in Manhattan to work in our campus studio space. These students focused on the casework that will be built by the Net+ Studio and installed in the St. John house. This work involved converting 3D digital drawings into two dimensional cut files for the CNC, estimating how much hardware will be needed, and decided what hardware should be used.
Quite the productive week!
The Solar Decathlon deadline was quickly approaching. This meant that it was time to put together a book to submit. As a class, we split into six groups to discuss the architecture, engineering, presentation, resilience, market, and affordability. This process was not only a deadline, but also a good opportunity for us to fully understand what the process for the 2019-2020 class was. We spent a few days reviewing the book that they completed last year and pulling information to fill the documents. After a few iterations we completed the work and handed it in. Our next steps will be to present this information mid April.
This information has helped us understand how thorough we need to be when creating our book. Every step we take should be documented in a way that helps many people understand our purpose and process.
2021, regarding the weather, became a waiting game to get back to St. John. Fortunately, the wait didn’t last forever, as the end of February brought an end to the cold snap and an opportunity to return to the construction site. A small group made the trek at the end of the month, and upon arrival were greeted with the site of a fully clad house, equipped with siding and roofing.
The completion of the exterior work meant that the work focus shifted back to the interior, and the group’s trips in late February and March have been solely focused on completing interior partition wall framing, and the preparation for the contractors (Electricity, Plumbing, HVAC, and Drywall) to begin their work on the house. As of mid-March, all interior framings, both walls and ceilings are completed.
The initial February trip brought about another opportunity for the studio, in the form of talking to a reporter from the Wichita eagle about the project in St. John. Early march saw the publication of the article and with that a surge in interest about the Net+ Studio and potential for similar projects in the future. Check out the article here: https://www.kansas.com/news/business/article249689623.html
We started Monday with going through our Construction Documents and marking our drawings. Our class is working in separate groups but at the end we are compiling all our sheets together to go through our progress. We started first with architectural design mark ups and then moved to structural and detailing. After that we had to do some changes and meet on Wednesday to mark our drawings again. On Wednesday too we marked up drawings and go through if we missed anything.
On Friday we met up with Manhattan Area Habitat for Humanity and MATC (Manhattan Area Technical College) to present our design and HVAC plan. We progressed quite a bit with some drawings. The group from MATC went through our schematic mechanical plan and suggested some layouts that can work. We also went through our drawings to install electrical panels and water heater closet in the right place. After Friday, we are supposed to make some more updates in our drawing for the overall design to come together. We have achieved quite a lot in our work, and we will continue to achieve more.