Over the weekend we traveled up Boulder Canyon and into the foothills to visit a building site where another of our custom designed homes is currently being built.  This mountain vacation home, while traditional in style and form, was designed using simple passive solar strategies (as pictured right) and some of the most modern green building techniques, including SIPs (structurally insulated panels). 

The site plan (as pictured right) illustrates one of the most basic and effective sustainable building techniques, proper solar orientation.  This simple design technique can account for up to 80 to 90% of the energy demands per home or  building.
Site Plan Illustrating Solar Orientation

Scroll down for more descriptions and diagrams on other green building techniques implemented.
Energy Efficient Foundation Insulation Techniques

Basements of yesterday are cold and damp but you can eliminate this by using some of  today's available insulation techniques.  For this project we were able to achieve a whopping R-Value of 29 while eliminating the often troublesome traditional vapor barrier by utilizing a combination of rigid XPS (extruded polystyrene insulation) where all seams were tapes and sealed with spray foam insulation coupled with treated 2x4 framing @ 24" O.C., with fiberglass Insulation in each cavity.

Floor Framing using I-Beam Joists

Traditional lumber today is often warped and twisted on account of poor storage and curing techniques thus resulting in increased labor costs.  In order to counter-act this we designed the floor boxes of this mountain home using Engineered Wood I-Beams.  The I-Beams boast several advantages over traditional framing lumber including: Increased rigidness and limited deflection rates, lager span capabilities, better uniformity (less warping), and they are more sustainable because they use more new growth trees compared to traditional lumber.

SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels)

Conventional homes are constructed using 2x studs with insulation in between each framing cavity.  This century old building technique can result in undesirable air infiltration and thermal insulation breaks wherever a stud occurs.  We solved these potential problems by utilizing SIP for the wall and roof framing.  The SIP panels helped us to not only achieve amazing R-Values of 48 on the roofs and 24 on the walls but also vaulted ceilings throughout the home thus increasing the feeling of the interior spaces.  The SIP panels are also expected to be installed between 1 and 2 days upon site delivery.  We will be documenting this particular construction process using time-lapse photography within the next few weeks.  

Pictured above is a photo-montage of the cabin as we expect it to reside within the site after construction is completed early this summer.  During the next few weeks, while this project continues through construction, we will 
be updating the blog with SIP installation videos, information and pictures of: the ultra-energy efficient Weathershield windows used, the recycled corten siding panels, solar panels, and much much more.  Stay tuned!
A view from the Southeast garage looking North towards the entry.
In July of 2010 F9 Productions was commissioned by a young Denver developer to design a unique duplex project in Golden Colorado.  The developer had purchased a foreclosed property that contained an existing foundation completed for an un-built duplex project prior to the market crash in 2008.  Working closely with the client we were able to create a unique and thoughtful design solution despite the existing foundation constraints.

Yesterday we visited the site for the fist time since construction began early this month.  Walking about the site we were pleased with the initial "bones" of the project coupled with the play of mass and void.  Later this week the client expects the trusses to be installed and thereafter windows, doors, roofing and siding.

Stay tuned as this project continues to develop.  We've provided renderings and additional site photos below help give a better impression of what the final duplex might look like after construction is completed.
One of our Solar Patio projects is currently wrapping up construction in Lakewood Colorado.  We recently visited the site for framing inspections and the client also kindly provided us with an updated photo set after the finishes were applied last week.  This was one of those great projects where the client, constructor, and designer were all on the same page throughout the entire design and construction process making for a great piece of built work.