ENERTIA   HOMES No Fuel? No Power? .......No Problem

Construction and Photo Tour

Although the ideal site for an Enertia® home allows for the excavation of a full basement, that is not always possible. There are other ways to achieve the benefits of full ground contact, and here on the coast of North Carolina, one family is showing us how it can be done.
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This level site near the coast, does get a lot of Sun. With that advantage, the homeowners have decided to build their lower level by berming up dirt rather than digging down.
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The plywood used to build the forms will be salvaged and reused on the roof of the house. The 2x4's will be used for bracing and then for interior wall framing. Waste not, want not.
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The house foundation came out perfectly. The smaller slab in the foreground is for a detached framed garage.
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Everyone can find something to do on this job.

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The subfloor is the next project. The outer band and girders are in place, and the decks are also framed at this time.

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Once the subfloor framing is complete, the plywood is nailed down, leaving an opening for the stairs and airspaces in the North wall.
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The first row of timbers, "A" row, has to be drilled on site to accomodate anchor bolts that are set into the concrete foundation, and lowered down over those anchor bolts. This ties the house to the foundation in a way that Nature will find hard to defeat.
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The North walls and Sunspace wall are starting to take shape.
Looking down between the inner and outer North walls you can see the airspace and the metal struts that tie the two walls together without obstructing the airflow that will be part of the envelope when the home is completed.
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Due to the layout of this site, each timber had to be lifted up onto the subfloor. To save time and energy, the homeowner rented a lift truck to hoist the timbers as needed.

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The first floor of the kit is complete, and the next step is to set the floor beams that will support the second floor.

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It is almost dark and the moon is rising between the floorbeams. The shot on the left is from the main level looking up, and the shot on the right is from the upper level looking down. Wires for lights that will hang from the beams are run before the upper level subflooring is laid on top of the beams.
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The walls of the main level sunspace are also complete. Part of the sunspace is open to the lower level as seen in the shot on the right which is taken from the upper level looking down.
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Once the upper level knee wall is complete, the gable ends begin to go up. As always, bracing of windows is important, and bracing of the entire gable wall is critical until the ridge and rafters are in place. A big wind could wreak havoc with an unbraced gable end.
The ridge is set in two parts.
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The rafters are set in pairs.

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Inside, the plumbing connections for the back-up radiant floor heating system are discretely hidden in a closet. This also supplies domestic hot water.
Once the sheeting is covered with 30# roofing felt, the house is "dried in."
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This Equinox 2 is now a home! The family did the finishing work themselves and continue to do some finishing projects, but now are living in and enjoying their Enertia® house. The retaining walls allow the owners to have a walk-out South lower level, even though the North, East and West are bermed so that the lower level is in the ground. Ground contact is important in an Enertia® home because the stability of the ground temperature is part of the thermal design.
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The bedroom on the left is on the upper level, and has a window (partially visble in the picture) looking out over the Sunspace and lining up with the Sunspace skylight. The bedroom on the right is on the main level and has an operable casement window opening to the sunspace and a high awning window opening to the outdoors.
The stairwell is one place where some customers like to use sheetrock. Others prefer to continue the "wood" theme with wood paneling, or to use wallpaper. There are some tricks to hanging the sheetrock so that the settling of the wall timbers is considered.
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The homeowners decided to leave a portion of the sunspace open (unfloored) so that there would be a completely open area from the lower level to the roof on the South side of the house. This view is from the lower level looking up.