Archive for the ‘Beautiful Builds’ Category

Green Home Under Construction – Advanced Framing Techniques

September 24, 2009 2 comments

[youtube=]Today I’m posting about the advanced framing techniques being used by Sovick Design/Builders to construct a new green home available for purchase at 404 Park Street in Old Town Fort Collins.  These green building methods will minimize the use of dimensional lumber during construction, maximize insulation in exterior walls and reduce thermal bridging as compared to conventional framing techniques.  The benefits for the future owner are improved energy efficiency and comfort year round, and knowledge that their home was built in a manner more mindful of the natural environment.

If you haven’t done so already, check out the rest of the series documenting the construction of this green home and learn from the very experienced builder doing the work.  Now, let’s take a virtual tour with that builder, Dennis Sovick, via the YouTube video above to learn about a number of advanced framing techniques.   Or check out the stills and descriptions below.  Or both!

2 x 6 Studs
This image shows 2×6 studs spaced every 24 inches. The standard is 2×4 studs spaced every 16 inches.  The larger studs allow for a greater depth of insulation (R-20 or more compared to R-13) and wider spacing means fewer studs and less thermal bridging to the exterior.

Insulated Header
Many engineers and/or framers spec/use two 2×12’s for headers to be sure they are “covered” no matter what the load.  Sovick Design/Builders size their headers for the specific sized openings as shown in the above picture and incorporate rigid insulation into the header to break the thermal bridge created by the header.

Insulation Corner
This photo shows a special exterior wall construction detail that allows the corner itself to be insulated.

No Cripples
Standard practice is to add single studs under each end of the window sill.  These are known as “cripples”. They serve no purpose. In the image above, they are eliminated and only the studs on planned spacing are included. By eliminating the cripples, insulation space is increased and thermal bridging is reduced.

Interior and Exterior Wall Connections
With advanced framing, interior walls are attached to exterior walls with a ladder frame constructed from scrap lumber. Framers typically use three full studs for this purpose. Another benefit is that insulation can be positioned between the ladder framing and exterior surface of the wall, breaking a very large thermal bridge.

Engineered I-Joist
All floor joists are engineered I-joists made from waste wood materials. In addition to being a greener material, these joists are stronger and straighter than dimensional lumber.

By now, you should be getting a sense that this unique green home will have very solid “bones” and an energy-efficient “shell”.  If you are interested in owning a home such as this in the future  get in touch with The Green Team Real Estate. We are the Northern Colorado go-to company for more sustainable homes and we are best prepared to get you connected with  a builder, or help you find an existing home that will meet your needs.

Green Home Under Construction – Insulating Concrete Forms Foundation

September 20, 2009 1 comment

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) FoundationI recently had an opportunity to shadow the Sovick Design/Builders team as they constructed the foundation for the home at 404 Park Street using Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF’s).  This picture shows the ICF’s ready for concrete to be poured. 

For contractors, ICF’s can be a cost-effective alternative to typical cast-in-place concrete foundation walls or walls constructed of concrete masonry block.  The foam-walled forms that ultimately define the concrete’s shape stay in place after construction, providing insulation and eliminating a significant investment in reusable wood and metal forms.  They are easy to build.  Their insulating value allows concrete to be poured in colder weather without the use of special insulating blankets and the like.  And most are ready for interior finishing.  All of these contractor benefits help keep the cost differential between ICF and conventional foundations to a minimum, particularly when a finished basement that will be partially above grade is desired, as is the case at 404 Park Street.

And here’s the important part from the perspective of the future homeowner – an ICF foundation basement is quiet, solid and more energy efficient than a conventionally constructed basement.

So check out the video below to see the concrete foundation being poured and learn a little bit more about the forms themselves from Dennis Sovick.  And if you want even more information about ICF’s, go to the Insulating Concrete Forms Assocation website.


Up next…a site visit to learn from Dennis about Advanced Framing Techniques.

Green Home Under Construction – Intro

September 18, 2009 Leave a comment

sherwood houseWelcome to an opportunity to observe the construction of a unique and highly energy efficient, eco-friendly home at 404 Park Street in Old Town Fort Collins.  Grab our feed or subscribe by email to follow along in the weeks ahead as we post on what goes into creating a green home like this and what sets it apart from standard new homes. 

The Green Team Real Estate is pleased to be listing this home for local green building specialists Sovick Design/Builders.  Dennis Sovick started designing and building green homes in the 1980’s – long before doing so became a trend.  His wealth of knowledge on the topic of green building allows him to create properties that take advantage of active and passive solar, conserve energy and water, minimize resource consumption, and create healthier homes.  We’ll be delving into all of these topics as construction progresses.

This infill project got underway in early September 2009 and is scheduled to be completed in February 2010.  Dennis and his team are using a tested plan, one they recently built several blocks away.  That home is pictured above.  You can take the video tour below to hear Dennis talk about the site and plans for the home, and follow us on a bike ride through the nearby neighborhood.



Click here to see the floorplan and other details of the Park Street home.  Finishes and colors will be up to the future owner.  So follow along to get ideas for your future dream green home, and contact us if you think this one might be it!

Join the Green Homes Bike Tour!

August 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Tour de Green '07  Straw Bale HomeThe Green Team Real Estate would like to invite you to the second Tour de Green, our Fort Collins green homes bike tour.  Don’t miss this chance to visit 5 very unique and sustainable homes around Fort Collins by bicycle, with tours provided by builders or owners. We’ll provide breakfast to start the day, plus a picnic lunch to round out the tour.  (And it’s free!)  If you’re interested, the details follow.
Tour de Green '07 Morie HomeWhat:  See cutting edge energy and water conservation technologies and green materials you may want to someday install in your own home.  We’ll show you a home with a 10kW solar PV system and geothermal heating, a home with a gray-water catchment system and its own wind turbine, a turn of the century bungalow remodeled with nearly all reclaimed building materials, and a project to refresh a dated 1970s home.
Where:  Meet at the Grey Rock Common House, in northwest Fort Collins, at 2265 Shooting Star Lane (please click here for a community map)  where we will begin with a light breakfast followed by a short presentation and a tour of their unique and very sustainable co-housing community. From there we’ll hit 4 additional homes.
When:  Sat, Sept 12, approximately 9am-1pm.  (Come early for breakfast. We’ll have food available by 8:45.)
How:  Come on your bicycle, whatever type you may have. We’ll ride a total of about 6 miles between our 5 sites. This tour is designed to suit most abilities. 
Please RSVP to  with the names of the people who will be attending by August 24.   (No kids under 13 please.)  We’re capping attendance at 40 people so make sure to RSVP promptly.
We look forward to seeing you and hope you can join us!

Virtual Tour of a High Performance Green Home

High Peformance Green HomeA great way to get ideas for making your home more eco-friendly, or building your dream green home, is to tour other green homes.  So I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a video tour of a beautiful home that Barry Schram, owner of Lamar Valley Craftsman, just completed for one of my clients (video at bottom of this post). 


Barry’s business is founded on a strong environmental ethic, a passion for creating high performance structures, and a special talent for building homes that satisfy the soul.  Like us, he was and still is inspired by Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House body of work.  Fortunately for the planet, more and more builders are starting to think and operate like Barry as more and more of us start to demand homes built with sustainability in mind.


My clients were an excellent fit to work with Barry.  They had very specific desires for their dream home’s feel, performance, and environmental footprint.  Some highlights of the home that they collaborated to create include:

  • Concrete floors with in-floor radiant heat and Buderus high efficiency boiler.
  • Heat recovery ventilation system.
  • Passive solar design and Tamarack whole house fan to eliminate the need for air conditioning.
  • Energy efficient appliances and lighting.
  • Sierra Pacific aluminum clad exterior low-e windows.
  • Optimized natural lighting including Solatube Daylighting System.
  • Lots of thoughtful Not So Big details including a special window detail for growing herbs, built in bookshelves and window seats.
  • Other sustainable building materials including locally sourced beetle kill pine for exterior soffits, MDF trim to minimize use of harvested timber, and recycled content decking.


It is also worth noting that this house is an infill project in Old Town Fort Collins on a lot previously occupied by a 1920’s-built cottage that was beyond rehabilitation.  


The home has a great open floor plan, with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, plus an office/away room.  It has about 3,100 total square feet – about 2,100 above ground with another 1,000 at a “garden level”.  It also has a detached 2 car garage with alley entry. 

So I hope you enjoy the video tour and hearing more about this great home from the builder himself.  If it whets your appetite for some in-person touring, the American Solar Energy Society now facilitates a nationwide grass roots solar tour, and the Parade of HomesTM events around the country are getting greener every year (just Google green parade of homes).


Don’t miss your chance to build the green home of your dreams at Midori – a new green neighborhood in Fort Collins.