Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, CEB Demonstration

WOW! What a fantastic day! We were hoping some folks from the green community would stop by to observe the manufacture of the TerraBricks/CEBs during our demo that we had scheduled and announced a few weeks prior. We had well over 100 people throughout the course of the three hour demo period, with some arriving early and others still coming after the end of the demo. The weather was spectacular, friends and relatives were able to come by, and my colleague, Scott, and his wife, Laura, brought cupcakes that folks enjoyed.

The folks who attended were a mix of people from within the green community, including Jason from Amicus Green Building Supply in Kensington, MD, some folks who consult and supply "clean energy solutions" and a whole host of consumers
- and even a delegation from the Government of Costa Rica - who heard about CEBs and wanted to check out the demonstration as they consider this technology for their home construction.

The demo was a great marketing opportunity for our architect, John Spears, with the Sustainable Design Group, our contractor, Aaron Holmes with Cornerstone Building Services, and the folks at TerraBuilt who leased the Green Machine to us.

It was also great to show off our construction project to my family members who were in town visiting from Pennsylvania.

We'll have some short videos coming soon in another post showing the Green Machine in action and the crew stacking the bricks.

Our Contractor, Aaron Holmes, talking with a demo attendee.

John Morris from TerraBuilt explaining the Green Machine.

A normal miter saw is used to cut the TerraBricks/CEBs.

City of Falls Church green program leaders gather to watch the crew set some of the TerraBricks.

Setting the TerraBricks.

Our friend, Jeff, ready to video the crew set the TerraBricks.

TerraBricks in place - two levels high.

Friday, 3/20, Brick Making

While we were installing the radiant system below, Willy, John Morris and Aaron were outside manufacturing the TerraBricks/CEBs. During the afternoon, we welcomed a number of Falls Church staff who dropped by to observe the CEB making. While civilizations around the globe have been building with earth for generations, it's now a unique construction process here in the U.S. where the "norm" is construction methodologies designed for quick assembly. Unfortunately that results in a disposable house with a significantly shorter lifespan than expected for our solid CEB house.

Willy on the left and John Morris on the right, ensuring the quality of each and every CEB!

Matt Brown and Jason Widstrom, City engineers, observing the CEB manufacture.

Andreas protecting his hearing and wondering if and when
they'll make a quieter version of the Green Machine!

Our clay soldiers all lined up, ready to be stacked as a wall.

Friday, 3/20, It's Getting Hot

Aaron picked up the staple system early in the morning, so we met him at the lot to start work on the pex tubing installation. We worked diligently for approximately six hours installing the tubing. The staple system made it very easy, as compared to the other method of zip-tying the tubing to a metal grid. We took lots of pictures through the installation process, and the final product. Some of these photos are for our benefit in the future (after we win the lottery) when we install the wine cellar and build out another wall to create a media room. If you see in the photos below we left one area open without radiant tubing (for the wine storage) and a wide area in another section for a wall to divide the basement area to create a separate workshop and media room space.

A note on Radiantec - the company that we purchased our hydronic radiant floor heating system from. These folks there were extremely helpful, supportive, and responsive. We called a few times in advance of the purchase with questions and once since we received the product shipment. They were happy to take our calls and extremely helpful.

Thursday, 3/19, Change of Plans, but Good Progress

We were scheduled to install the pex tubing in the basement for our radiant heat flooring system. But things fell a bit behind schedule on Thursday as there was a last-minute change in plans on how to install the tubing. Our architect learned of a staple system that fastens the pex tubing to the 2" extruded foam board insulation. So that stapler had to be obtained while the plastic staples were sent overnight for a Thursday morning arrival. Well, that didn't go as planned, but it all turned out fine in the end (as you'll see in the next post) and Andreas and I didn't have to work in the cold rain.

Meanwhile Bartley Corp.'s team was on-site to add yet another 4" of stone to the basement, plus the 2" extruded foam board. They wrapped up their work while our contractor Aaron, Willy Obando who oversees the crew for making and stacking the TerraBricks/CEBs, and John Morris from TerraBuilt who was training the crew and managing the operation of the Green Machine, were testing out the machine and the getting everything set for brick making.