Why no Windows?

The house is not the most conventional / normal home. Most people who’ve looked at pictures and stuff have scratched their heads and asked some fun questions. My answers boil down to a strong desire for comfort and control of the inside environment of the house. The less outside that comes in the more control we have, I.E limited windows, thick insulated walls equate to better control.

Where are the windows | we have two 8’x8′ glass openings in the middle of the house where the kitchen will be. These openings will be sliding glass doors, there will be windows in the doors in the rooms, and some windows in the peaks of the walls. But most of the walls will not have windows because the walls will be covered with soil. Also there will be eight dampened solar tubs in the ceiling for natural light all over the house. In most houses I have lived in the windows ended up covered with blinds or curtains to control light / heat so windows have never been a big deal for me. If I want to see the outside from my living area I go outside or into a room with a window.

If I want to look outside the kitchen will have a great view, and a small sitting area between the counters and big glass things looking outside. When I sit in my living room to watch TV, or read, or play with the kids windows distract from the ability to control lighting and comfort level. In the bedroom windows are nice to let air in at night and keep the place from being stuffy, in the morning I want them covered to keep the light out to sleep better – again better comfort control without the view. We should not need to open the windows in this place because we are managing air quality with a small internal garden of plants designed to filter and cycle air. No more need to have a window open at night.

Is this cheaper | Cheaper comes from choices, in design and materials. We are building the simplest house shape we can, a box. Every corner in a house costs time, materials and money – by limiting the exterior corners we cut out a significant cost of construction we are applying to better insulation and building materials. By back filling the house vs. putting up Hardy siding, doing trim work, and painting every X years we cut that cost and increase the thermal efficiency – dirt at 50-60 degrees all the time no matter what on the walls. Vs walls heated by the sun all day, and cooled off at night in a never ending cycle make house less influenced by exterior temperature variations, and more controllable.

The concrete costs more than wood at the base – but the Quadlock is 5″ of EPS foam for an R value of 27 in the walls before you do thermal mass / barrier of the concrete in the math. Plus the walls are thick and dense to the point where hearing the outside is not going to happen. Read much more comfort. To get the same R value, high quality construction + sonic insulation would be about same cost when you do the math on materials ~16,000 for the walls.

Why concrete || A. I’m a bit obsessed with concrete. B. I think America, Canada and sometimes Japan are in the handful of counties still primarily building houses with wood vs. concrete. The rest of the world builds with concrete, stone, brick, and steel when they build things. C. Concrete is more durable, read 100’s of year’s vs less years with wood. Our house will not rot, bugs or rodents will not harm our walls, trees falling on the house will bounce off, sound will not travel through the walls, nothing will squeak or creak or flex when you apply pressure or walk on a surface, heat will take long times to move from outside to inside and change our level of comfort, and the big bad wolf will not be able to blow the house down; House be solid and then some – plus we got to build the walls out of Foam Legos.

What about the floor | the floor will be 2″ of EPS foam (R11) covered by 4″ of concrete with ½” pex pipe all over the place to provide the heating and cooling. We’ll polish the floor and not install any covering over the concrete save an area rug where needed. This reduces the cost of the house by A. not needed a furnace or duct work to move and heat air. Moving air creating noise and disturbing control and comfort is not something I want. Our heating will be silent. B. not buying any floor covering saves about 3-22$ per square foot depending on type and quality of the floor covering.

Progress update – walls are at max level. Steel rail on top, Jbolts, and lateral bracing are being added this weekend. Inspection is scheduled for Wednesday morning. We should be pouring another 50 years of concrete shortly afterwards.

Some pictures, always with the pictures after the words, so many words today.

Current view from today. All of the foam is up, and some bracing is visible to the left

Wall bracing from the inside

Maddex very proud of the Dinosaur femur he found digging behind the house.

View of the top of the wall as it was being built

Michelle showing off her belling stacking Legos on some scaffolding.

 

 

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