September 16, 2020

Author

Suzanne Grant

TYPE

Passive Design

Home Stretch

PART 8 - BUILDING A PASSIVE HOUSE

Finalizing the finishes

Fortunately Devin and I are generally on the same page when it comes to finishes, there are elements that are more important to me and others to Devin so from that perspective it works well. Also we had quite a clear idea of the look and feel of the house, there are literally endless possibilities and choices for everything and I can understand how when building you get decision fatigue. Being a smaller house however, did mean we were able to choose some elements that are a little but more pricey because you wouldn't need huge quantities for example the larger skirting boards or architraves and taller solid timber doors.

After the Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation (MHRV) system ductwork was installed, and the other electrical and plumbing had been roughed in, it was time to cover up all that made the house airtight.

At this stage there isn't much that needed any specific Passive House considerations, the timber battens as per an earlier post served there purpose to act both as a service cavity for the plumbing and electrical requirements inside the air tight layer, and a fixing point for the plaster to be installed on without penetrating the airtight membrane.

After all rough ins and battens (only ceiling had been done up until this point) had been completed and before the plaster was installed we had our second blower door test. This came in at .38 ACH, and so a second sigh of relief from our team as well as from the plumber and electrician this time.

We chose a Queensland Spotted Gum for the timber flooring. This was glued and secret nailed directly onto the red tongue flooring. Before the first blower door test the joins in the flooring was sanded and then filled with polyurethane to seal any air leaks.

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Tiling in the ensuite, bathroom and laundry were layed. Keeping with a traditional feel, the floor tiles are mosaic stone grey hexagons and the walls a simple white subway tile. The laundry floor is a basic great rectangle tile.

For all the joinery we went with Albedors Sheree Square profile, it has a matt 2-pac paint finish, colour from memory was Dulux Snowy Mountains half strength. The stone benchtops are 40mm Quantum Quartz White Swirl

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In the kitchen the bulkhead above the rangehood acted as cavity for the rangehood ductwork. Being airtight the rangehood cannot be ducted to the outside, so it has a charcoal filter and the ductwork runs along the top, to the open shelving section in the corner.  ​

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Architraves, skirting boards and doors really start to pull the house together. Our doors are 2340mm high giving a sense of space down the hallway, and the office and rumpus have glass panels allowing more light and again a feeling of more space. The timber flooring was finished with a water based semi-matt polish.

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The house is only using electricity for energy and we chose not to be connected to gas, firstly because we have solar panels on the roof so we can offset energy consumption and secondly gas is problematic in an airtight house so we have gone with an induction cooktop. Just another new element of a Passive House to learn and test out.  

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