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.


Progress on building a house on Lakeside Court.

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 in the house for a year and are very pleased with the result. Still have minor punch list items but the major ones have all been resolved. With one year of heating data and 18 months of solar data, we have a much better idea of the efficiency of the house. We are using roughly 1/2 of the amount of gas as the old house and producing about 65% of our electrical load (Averaged over a year. During 5 months we are net producers of power, but then our demands go up as the weather turns colder and our production goes down as well.) See the new page on actual electrical and heating production. Note that the 18 month data are much more accurate than my optimistic estimates of August 13. Landscaping that went in last summer is doing very well. The bamboo in the garden is now between 6-8 feet tall and still growing.
September 7, 2003
Slowly, oh so slowly, working our way through the punch list of things that need to be finished and fixed. Did some corrections to the wiring for the battery banks and replaced a cable connecting the two Trace Inverters. This seems to have allowed the second inverter to start working properly. Further tests of the 2nd inverter shows that it is working fine now. Thanks to tech support at Trace for their help.
August 13, 2003
Since we moved in (June 20th) we have been averaging 22.5 KWH of PV production and 19KWH of consumption for a net sale back to the grid of about 3 KWH/day. We tend to sell about 11 KWH/day and buy (at night) about 8. We still have some construction work going on (e.g., painters and some carpentry) that probably is driving our consumption up slightly. Although we have bought 439 KWH from the grid since June 20th, we have sold back 610 for a net addition to the grid of 171 KWH over 54 days. We have not tuned the inverters for optimal production and have had some problems with one of them failing when under battery operation. Now that we have more than 6 months of data, it is useful to observe monthly averages of the total daily output, output per slate/field, and to compare consumption to production.
August 12, 2003
Hard to keep updating the page when everything is so wonderful. Some recent exterior shots (including one interior of the bamboo railings for the stair case) show that most landscaping is done and most external construction is done. Punch list continues (and continues).
June 20, 2003
Moved in!
March 2, 2003
Bamboo floors are being installed, and they look great (photos to follow).
Atlantis Solar slates have now been producing power for 1 month. We have produced 400 Kwh for February with daily output averaging 12.8Kwh and varying from 4.5 to 25 Kwh. Power consumption is running about 3 times as high as predicted (presumably because we are running 2 dehumidifiers 24 hours a day to dry out the trim and flooring, running table saws, compressors for nail guns, etc.) and has been averaging 54 Kwh/day. Therefore, by producing 12.8 kwh/day we are producing only about 23% of our total power consumption.
March 1, 2003
Have done empirical calculations on energy use for January and February. Even with construction going on and the resulting infiltration of open doors, unfinished vents, etc. the house is very efficient.
February, 2003
waiting for bamboo to be chosen (problems with various suppliers), prepping for radiant heating, problems with gypcrete installation, miscellaneous frustrations.
January 28, 2003
Two way electric meter installed so that we can now integrate the solar slates with the grid.
December 27
Altantis Solar slates have been installed on garage, roof is finished! Note the use of Non-Power slates on garage makes for a cleaner line.
December 10
Altantis Solar Slates have been installed on Belvedere and 2nd Floor, roof is finished except for garage and front porch
October 28
Insulation starts going in, shingles added to the Belvedere, solar panel framework is installed, electrical equipment for PV arrives and is mounted.
October 6
Interiors of the Belvedere, wrap around views from the Belvedere.
October 5
The house is coming together and looking more and more like a real house. The exterior window trim is almost finished, 1st floor and 2nd floor plumbing are finished, electrical piping is almost finished.
September 24-28th:
Exterior trim, interior framing, plumbing
September 6-11
windows installed, temporary stairs
September 4
Windows arrive! Plumbing and HVAC are underway, continued discussions about kitchen design
August 28
Underroof is finished, Waterproofing is installed, chimney is raised
August 27
views in and from the belvedere
August 10
walls of the belvedere are finished
August 4
starting the belvedere ridge
July 12
joists for second floor
July 5
interior walls almost finished
July 3
starting on the interior walls
June 30
making good progress on walls
June 29
Working on the walls
June 28
Walls are starting to go up
June 25
Finished first floor deck
June 20
working on the first floor deck
June 18
Electrical box and grounding, (not connected to power)
June 17
Sewer and water connections, further cross supports for floor joists
June 16
Floor joists are almost finished
June 4
Steel beams are in
May 28
Waterproofing added to outside of walls, drain tiles installed, back fill the overdig
May 21
Foundation walls are poured (slightly too short!)
May 13
Footings finished.
May 7
Frames for footings are put in
April 30
Demolition is finished, digging is finished, waiting for the survey before pouring concrete.
April 25
Demolition is finished, one more survey and digging starts.
April 23
House demolition finally starts!
April 17
dumpster can not make it. Power shovel continues to wait.
March 25
Gas company still has not disconnected the gas.
March 21
Electrical off. Demolition scheduled for March 25.
March 17
Removal of cabinets, lighting fixture, door knobs.
March 10
Yet another demolition party, once again demolition expected within a week.
Feb 17
Demolition party open house for neighbors, demolition expected within a week.
Sept-December, 2001
Working on the plans and model for the house.

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