Building a house on Lakeside Court

Information about construction, energy, power, and conservation. Also including a time log of progress on the construction. (See what's new to track changes.) These pages started as a guide for ourselves, our friends, but most importantly our architects and contractors. These pages became a history of our house building project as well as a record of our plans and our questions that we needed to resolve as we move forward. The energy and construction pages summarize what we have learned about how to build a house that is as carbon neutral as we can make it. They are meant as a resource to others who share our concerns about the need to reduce our nation's reliance on fossil fuels and are interested in building energy efficient houses. Please visit the post construction web site for a more user friendly discussion of what we have learned.


What's New?

As changes are added to the various pages on building an energy efficient house, it is useful to know what is new. This page is to track changes to the web pages themselves. When working from printed copies of the house pages, check the date of the last update at the bottom of the page.
March 11, 2006
After two and one half years we remain very happy! The website has been completely redone to reflect what we know and to be more user friendly than the original site. Please visit the revised site.
June 20, 2004
We have been living in the house for a year and remain amazed with how happy we are with how it turned out. I have finally had some time to analyze our actual energy production and consumption. Consumption was much higher during the winter than expected, presumably due to the demands of our heating system. I have added a detailed analysis of heating requirements in terms of gas (abouth .18 therms/degree day and of electricity (about 60-80 watts/degree day). Now that the term is over, I hope to be able to update the rest of the pages as well.
June 1, 2004
House is inspected for Energy Star rating. We qualify with a rating of 92. (Details to follow when available.)
September 8, 2003
Have added a photo page to make it easier for the casual visitor. Have done some reorganization of the introduction and updated the timeline.
September 1, 2003
Have done more analysis of the over capacity of the heating and cooling system. Discovered that the Fireplace Xtrordinaire probably will not work as installed.
August 15, 2003
Have updated the electrical page with 6 months of solar data. Some pictures of the (almost done) landscaping have been added.
March 15, 2003
Added 40 days of empirical data on the performance of the solar slates. Changed the energy and electrical pages to reflect these corrections and additions.
March 2, 2003
Finally started adding new information. Added empirical estimates of energy usage to the construction-heating page. Expressed extreme dissatisfaction with our HVAC contractors style of over building and under consulting.
December, 30 2002
I am experimenting with Cascading Style Sheets to make it easier to change the organization and appearance of these pages. It is unclear how well these work with different browsers. Please visit the test page and let me know a) if you can see it (it is a copy of the radiant heating page), b) what you think about the color choice, what browser and c) what operating system you are using. (I am particularly interested in PC users, for I can compare most Mac browsers myself.) Results from my tests suggests that IE 5.2, Mozilla, and Navigator work fine, but that OmniWeb has some problems and that iCab doesn't work at all.
December, 22 2002
added a new page on gray water energy recovery and various issues concerning radiant heated floors.
November 1, 2002
Converted the pages to two column format with a consistent table of contents across all the pages. This makes the flow across the pages easier to follow. Tried to reduce the number of inconsistent HTML tags identified by iCab. Removed the old photos page of the former house.
October 7
Added a brief discussion of whole wall R values versus the more typical overestimates found by just looking at the insulation estimates to the construction page. Also pointed out the consequence of over optimism about windows and walls in estimating heat loss.
October 6
Added a new page: photovoltaic and electrical equipment to show exactly what we are putting in so that we can do final checks of system compatibility.
October 1
Updated the link to the tour of Evanston solar homes. Updated the progress log to reflect the great progress in September. Added a link to the page Glen Hunter is creating tracking his progress in building a solar off grid home.
August 31
Have added a page discussing the use of bamboo as flooring material as well as a potential plant in the garden. Have also added a brief page discussing water conservation.
June 28
Have started to update the pages to reflect that we are actually in the process of building.
April 28
Added a time log of progress on the house including unedited photos.
March 27
Minor updates to energy and construction pages as I learn more about insulation. I am trying to estimate heating and cooling requirements in order to understand the estimates provided by our various engineers.
March 17
added a variety of information about solar heating to the energy page, added background calculations for optimal pitch for heating and PV to the energy page and a supplement to that page. Included more information about SolarSlates from AtlantisEnergy
January 13
added even more information about geothermal heat pumps to the energy page. Added a direct jump to geothermal.
January 6
added information about geothermal heat pumps to the energy page.
Janary 1, 2002
Added extended calculations about solar shingles versus solar standing seam roofing to the energy page. Estimated actual PV output for planned roofs.
December 30:
Added information about radiant heating and bamboo floors to the construction page. Added more links about kitchen design to the appliances page. Supplemented the energy page with more information about standing seam roof photo voltaic systems and what is available in Chicago.
December 28:
Reorganized the structure into multiple pages to allow for easier updating and tracking of updates. The major pages (energy, construction, appliances, etc.) cross link to each other as well as to relevant outside references.
December 18:
Added more detail on solar elevation as a function of solar angles. Added some links to follow up on kitchen designs, fans, woods.
December 16:
Added a detailed analysis of shading effects. Some energy references. Updated information about water levels and wave action.
December 10:
Updated information about solar energy. Added references.
November, 2001:
Minor adjustments and additions.
September, 2001:
Started serious compilation of information into web page.
August, 2001:
started web page with photos from David Revelle
June 29, 2001:
Closed on house
January 1, 2001:
Celebrated the millenium by making an offer on Lakeside Court.
December 27, 2000:
Visited Lakeside Court. Met Terry Nugent
December17, 2000:
First saw a picture of the view of Lakeside Court .

version of August 15, 2003 As is true of all web pages, this is part of a constantly growing set of pages. If working off of a printed copy, it is useful to look at the date of the last version. As changes are added to the various pages on, the "What's New" page will track changes.
Prepared by William Revelle. Comments to W. Revelle