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EMD360 06-16-2012 01:43 PM

Colorado Green Remodel
This house was purchased as a foreclosure at the very end of 2011. We got the call that the bank would accept our negotiated offer on Dec 28th if we could close the sale by the end of the year! We were glad they realized the heaving slab required a discounted price but the timeline was almost impossible. Well, not impossible because we did it! The house was ours as of Dec 31st. Happy new year!
Trouble is we live in Arizona, We plan to retire to this house in a year or two but in the meantime we have plans for lots of remodeling.
The house is 2213 square ft but that is the outside dimension. I calculate about 1850 inside. That is a lot of wall area, but the walls are thick. It is a 1980's passive solar house that is earth bermed on the north side. We built our own passive solar superinsulated house in Indiana in the 80s so thoroughly appreciate the thinking that went into this house.
Three bedrooms, three baths and an extra room that was a bedroom but not counted as one by the assessor, don't know why (it currently has a closet and a window!) but we plan to make it a family/breakfast room open to the kitchen instead.
The house is in two portions, the main house which is slab on grade and has the slab issue and a two bedroom addition which is on crawl space. Both are earth bermed to the north. The addition is earth bermed about 3/4 up on the east and the garage is on the west with the rear of the extra room earth bermed about half way up.
Time for some pics:
I signed up for LEED certification but not sure I can afford all the required updates. Mostly having to gut all the outside walls and ceiling to improve the insulation and thermal envelope. Learning the LEED requirements has been good for updating my knowledge about green building techniques.
I hope some of the DIYers on this site will chime in with ideas and advice.


Dinggus 06-17-2012 11:11 AM

I've never seen a house like this, looks awesome!

Msradell 06-17-2012 08:51 PM

Just wondering what do you get by getting LEED certification? Will you get any savings that will offset your costs or is it just one of those nice to have kind of thing?

EMD360 06-21-2012 08:21 PM

I don't get much, except a certificate. If I were to sell the house, the multiple listings now have a category for LEED certification but I don't intend to sell in the near future so my current LEED cert would most likely be superceded in the future.
I mostly signed up to update my knowledge about green building techniques and to learn from the green building group in the Denver area. I took the training to become a green rater and would like to work with younger folks who are interested in building better insulated and more sustainable houses.

EMD360 06-21-2012 08:36 PM


Originally Posted by Dinggus (Post 945445)
I've never seen a house like this, looks awesome!

Thanks, that is what we thought when we bought it. Just needs a lot of interior updating and some exterior. Tearing it apart has been fun. I found that the east wall is 2 x 6" with 1" of celotex thermax insulation (Polyisocyanurate-foil-faced) on the outside and a plastic vapor barrier on the inside. Even at 30 years old--Polyisocyanurate loses value over time, that is about an R25 wall. Not bad for the 80's.
I'm planning to improve this though. Need to have a thermal break in the wall. (Learned this from the LEED training.) So I'm thinking an extruded polystyrene inner layer to increase the wall to R30. Still in the planning stages though.

EMD360 11-17-2012 11:24 PM

November Update
Have been working steadily on the house all summer and fall. Tore out all the interior walls on the slab area of the house and took out all the mechanicals.

Hired a contractor to take out the old slab and dig out the dirt to allow for a Waffle Mat system under the new slab. It uses recycled plastic boxes to allow for soil lift and create heavy beams running cross ways through the slab, just like a commercial foundation.
We found out the rear wall is a caisson foundation, which I had never heard of, but it is deeply drilled reinforced concrete columns (they say to bedrock) that are filled in with poured concrete walls over a cardboard void that keeps the soil from damaging the wall. The cardboard was rotted and the soil pushed up in between the columns so it was dug out and will be a void again.

The soil against the back wall was wet so it could be that the french drain is not working, so we are going to put one inside the wall too.
We pulled a permit for the plumbing rough in so that is the next step. Also have the floor plan pretty much figured out for the rebuild.
Would LOVE to have the new floor in by the end of the year. That would be one full year of work and progress. We have until next September or so to move in. But there is a lot more to do!

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