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Building an Energy Efficient Home on an Existing Foundation

Building an Energy Efficient Home on an Existing Foundation


The goal in doing this house was to show
how one can do a relatively affordable, urban, energy-efficient house on a very
tight site and I think that cities all over the world actually have old houses
on tight urban sites that need to be redeveloped and I was hoping that this
house would be an example of what you could do and what’s possible in these
situations. Hey guys we’re at the future site of Tom Fisher and his wife
Claudia’s energy-efficient home in beautiful St. Paul Minnesota. Let’s go
hear more about it. So I’m Tom Fisher. I live in St. Paul Minnesota.
I’m a professor in the school of architecture and I teach urban design at
the University of Minnesota here in the Twin Cities. And looking forward to
living in a new energy-efficient house. Well the house was designed so that you
could live on one floor so it was designed to age in place in and so it
has everything you need on the main floor. The idea of the house was to make
it as energy efficient as possible so it will have a solar array on the
south-facing roof slope. There’s good solar access and that was actually one
reason we picked that site, we knew that you know, it would be able to basically
generate a lot of its energy off the sun. It has highly insulated walls and roof
and floor and windows, new – all new windows, and so it’ll it’ll be a very
energy-efficient. It’s not actually a passive house in terms of being
certified as a passive house but our architects
feel that it’s going to come very close to that standard anyway. So we’re in the
demolition phase. What we did is we purchased this small house right behind
our existing house and had thought initially that we could renovate it, but
there was just too much structural damage that had happened over the last
hundred years in the house and so it really was less expensive to just start
over from the foundation up so that’s what we’re going to do. They plan to
recycle about 80 percent of the existing building
materials and they are sorting it into – the house had a cement stucco exterior
so they’re sorting the stucco into one dumpster. They sorted metal and then
they’ve also sorted wood they took all of the appliances out and recycling that.
So, and there were stained glass windows
that got recycled and so there was a lot of material in the house itself that has
been handled so that it’ll be recyclable in some form. And then we’re keeping
the existing foundation and then building up from that. That was also
largely, not only money saving effort, but also to not disturb the existing mature
trees on the site because once you start digging a foundation you really can
damage all of the the trees, some of which are themselves over a hundred
years old. So even though the the footprint of the house is relatively
small. The whole house is only 1,700 square feet in the end the first floor
is a little over a thousand square feet so it’s not that big, and then by using
the windows to project out you feel as if there’s more space and as well you
can have window seats so you can avoid having as much furniture because you can
sit in the windows. You know, the idea was to be able to live off the grid as much
as possible in terms of energy. There is a gas line that was in to the existing
house that we’re just going to cap so there’ll be no fossil fuels used in that
in the house itself, which in one reason was just simply because we didn’t want
carbon monoxide in the house. We didn’t want to have to ventilate that and plus
we also wanted to decarbonize the house so that we could basically be living off
of solar power as much as possible. There will be a Tesla Powerwall in the
basement so that we’ll be able to have battery power that can hold us over at
night so we don’t have to draw from the grid, as well as in you know power goes
out. So, we’re trying to be as responsible as
we can in terms of energy. I think that the good thing about the design process
is it also forces you to sort of ask well what do we really need as opposed
to what do we think we need or think we want.

Comments (2)

  1. Know someone who has redeveloped their home? Comment below!

  2. pretty easy to do if you don't have a wife working you too and redeisining every DIY video she sees. No follow up vid? Its only been 6 months, maybe too soon. usually take a yr anyways

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