Acker Builders Logo   Energy Star   Green Built Home



This website documents the construction and performance of our "green built" home in Middleton, WI. Acker Builders completed construction on November 16, 2009. On this site you can find real-time solar panel output, photos during and after construction, and a description of the techniques used to improve indoor air quality and maximize energy efficiency.

Solar Panels

Today was a busy day for us, both at the lot and away from the lot.  In chronological order:

Construction Loan Closing - Finally, the construction loan is closed! As somebody on a forum that I visit had posted:  "You should buy your agent a gift; construction loans are very unforgiving.  Tons of work and the borrowers are usually upset as they are extremely complicated even after they close."  Kristy from Jim Pope's office slogged through a bunch of painful paperwork and largely kept us insulated from it; for this we are very appreciative.

Energy Star Visit #1 - At 2:00 PM we had our first appointment with Laura Paprocki. The main purpose of this visit was to identify opportunities to insulate and seal the house better. She had a lot of questions for Matt and a lot of recommendations for both Matt and the insulation contractor. We already knew that contracting her services was a good investment, but after this meeting there is no doubt.

Electrician's Walk-Through - The most eagerly anticipated meeting of the entire construction project for me, since I have very specific requirements and seeing that they are met is one of the most significant reasons why we are building a new home. Dan Flanders spent 3 (!!) hours with us, making sure that all of our electrical and data wiring would be to our liking.

Installation of Windows - During the Energy Star visit and the electrician's walk-through, the windows were being installed.  I joked to my wife that this is the only time that Windows will be installed in our home.  (Get it?  Hint: we only use linux and Macs.)

Other work - Plumbers and HVAC were there as well. I meet with them tomorrow though.

That was quite a mouthful but as I said, busy day. Here is today's installment of pictures.

Video tour of the second floor

Posted Tue, 09/01/2009 - 22:59 by kpbadger

Today's work at the house was the beginning of framing the deck/patio, some finishing details on the ceilings of the bedrooms, and the start of the rough electrical work. Since none of that lends itself to particularly interesting still photos, here is a video tour of the second floor of the house.

A Look Ahead (2)

Posted Tue, 09/01/2009 - 12:50 by mattacker

The framing is getting wrapped up.  They still have to install the windows, and build the screen porch and other "punch list" items.  But as you can see, the structure is built.  Here is what's next:

-It's time for the subs to "rough it in."  The HVAC, plumber, and electrician are going to commence the rough work.  This should ake about 1.5 to 2 weeks, and ends with the inspector saying we are good to cover up the walls.

-In this time frame, we will pour the garage floor.

-The insulator will insulate spots that will be covered by tubs.

-We are also going to have our 1st meeting with Laura Paprocki to consult on energy conservation matters.  I'll go into detail on this after the meeting.

A few last framing details

Posted Mon, 08/31/2009 - 20:33 by kpbadger

Today, the framers kept busy making the small changes that we discussed with the Ackers last Friday night.  These included cutting one of the joists over the stairs to make an angled piece, raising the head clearance from 6 feet 4 inches, by a few additional inches.

They also raised the windows in the guest bedroom by 3 inches to avoid a conflict with the pitch of the roof.

And they were quite busy in the basement, installing our staircase and getting ready to install the 2x4 framing over the cement wall.

We added continuous R-5 foam insulation around the entire perimeter of the basement's cement walls, upon the recommendation of our Energy Star consultant. This is both to stop heat loss and for moisture control. The "foam sandwich" was installed below the stairs already.

The windows arrived today. They're all wrapped in boxes, which isn't that interesting. Pictures will be posted when they're installed. This evening we also had an opportunity to talk to one current neighbor, one prospective future neighbor, and Dan the electrician as he was dropping off a trailer for the upcoming electrical work.



Roof complete, windows next

Posted Sat, 08/29/2009 - 17:58 by kpbadger

On Friday, the shingles were installed on the roof, and the front elevation of the house was completed. Windows will be installed Monday. Our meeting with Laura for our first Energy Star verification, and walkthrough with Dan for electrical, will be Wednesday.

Here is the picture of the completed roofline:

On Friday evening, we met Matt and Wayne at the house to discuss a few framing matters. There were some slight differences between the elevations as drawn and the house as constructed from an engineering perspective, and the Ackers wanted to make sure we were aware and accepted them. In each case we found that we weren't compromising; we liked it better as built.  (Especially the height of the roof over the front porch.)

We also discussed the construction of the tray ceiling in the master bedroom. When we insulate, we will be covering art: Tongue out

Here are some pictures of the upstairs:

We also have a new sign, courtesy of Acker Builders:

And finally, here are a couple pictures of how our under-construction home fits into the neighborhood.