Project Complete!

All but a few small finishing touches, and this project is done!..  and it marks our 3rd completed this year with 2 to go.  It still amazes me that we can go from nothing to a completed home in 10 weeks!  Thanks to all the great volunteers, and there were a lot of them, that helped make this home possible for the Deik family.  The partner family receiving the home, Dave and Stacie Deik, are a great family and well deserving of taking ownership of this home!  This house was very special when compared to previous projects, due to all the innovative building envelope details and the primary mini-split mechanical heating and cooling system.

To highlight the features that are unique to this Habitat home:

  • Frost Protected Shallow Foundation built with Reward ICF blocks
  • 6″ of High Density foam under thermally broken slab
  • 10-1/2″ Exterior Walls (2×6 + 4″ of exterior foam)
  • Furring strips and Rain Screen for cladding ventilation and attachment
  • 18″ Energy Heal trusses (and the first Hab home with a cathedral ceiling)
  • ERV ducted independently from conditioning ductwork
  • Ducted and non-ducted Mini-Split whole house heating/ cooling system
  • Exhaust vent in garage to outdoors with motion activation

Exterior – 6/25/12

Exterior – 6/25/12

Landscaping – 6/26/12

Exterior – 6/25/12

Exterior – 6/25/12

Mechanical Room – 6/25/12

Rheem Marathon Electric DHW

Rheem Marathon Electric DHW

RenewAire Energy Recovery Ventilator

Garage Ventilation – Motion Activated


Kitchen – 6/25/12

Kitchen – 6/25/12

Rear Door Coat Locker – 6/25/12

Family Room – 6/25/12

Hallway – 6/25/12 (LED Lighting)

10-1/2″ wall cavity! Be-a-u-tiful !!

Mini-Split Control Center

Ducted Mini-Split supply (1 per/ bedroom)

ERV Supply diffuser (1 per/ bedroom)

Bathroom – 6/25/12

ERV Return air (1 per/ bathroom & kitchen)

ERV Return air (1 per/ bathroom & kitchen)

Stackable Washer/Dryer Combo


‘The Mini-Split’ continued…

Finally completed the hallway ducted mini-split head (1 of 2 total).  Each head produces about 9000 btu’s with a peak of 11,ooo btu’s.  Remember, our house was modeled based on thermal envelop and heating load at only 11.5000 btu’s, so the 1 ton mini-split is more than sufficient to provide our heating needs.  We also designed the system so that it would be zoned – 1 head (ducted) that runs the length of the hallway with 1 supply register into each bedroom and an additional head (wall mounted) that supplies the main living area and kitchen.  The beauty in this, is that the homeowner can call for heating/ cooling depending on which section of the house they will be occupying. i.e. – at night, they can heat or cool the bedrooms as they sleep and moderate the temperature in the living room/ kitchen and vice versa during the daytime hours.  It is a much more efficient way to provide comfort and obviously is considerably less wasteful by not conditioning rooms that are not occupied!

Wall mount head – Kitchen/ Living/ Dining supply

Mini-Split ducted head and Return air

Mini-Spit duct – Hallway run and feeds

Ducted head line-set and condensation drain

Mini-Split ducted head access for service (through bedroom wall)

Condensation drain feeds to Utility Room washer discharge

Framed hallway ductwork (pre-drywall)

Framed ceiling beneath ducting for drywall finish

Supply boot to bedroom from main duct

Mini-Split access through bedroom

Line-set(s) connected

Line set(s) connection at unit

Mini-Split & ERV ducting complete

Round two on HVAC Mini-Split post….   Hallway ceiling ductwork for mini-split head #1 complete.  As most of you following this blog, especially the HVAC portion of the build, are wondering, how do you keep a home comfortable with such a small amount of supply air being provided in the home.  Trust me, it was a big concern for me also.  We essentially have only 1 supply duct feeding each bedroom and a wall mounted head supplying the kitchen, dining and living areas.  What we didn’t want was hot or cold spots in the home.  It starts with high levels of insulation in the thermal envelope to reduce heat loss through the wall system.  Second, is controlling distribution, or air flow, through each room.  The mini-split system is essentially the same as a traditional forced air ducted system, supply and return, but on a much smaller scale.  In addtition to what the mini-split provides in air flow, we also felt the ERV would provide a good mix of air movement by ducting each of the same rooms as the mini-split.  That said, each room has a heat supply duct and an ERV (fresh air) supply duct.  We placed them on opposite ends of each room so that the air would mix as it’s being provided.  The return air for the mini-split head will be in the hallway drawing from the entire house.  The ERV return air pulls from the kitchen and bathroom (rooms with the highest concentration of poor air quality).  In the end, we feel the house will be comfortable no matter where you are located!

Ducted mini-split supply – 5/21/12

Bedroom Supply register – 5/21/12

ERV 4″ Bedroom Supply Air -5/21/12

Bathroom ERV return air – 5/21/12

Kitchen ERV return air – 5/21/12

ERV Ducting – 5/21/12

Bathroom, Kitchen Range & ERV exhaust (outside) – 5/21/12

Hallway view of Rough-in Mini-split head line-set – 5/21/12

HVAC – The ‘Mini-Split’!…

The big day is here!…  Mini-Split rough in has started!  It’s a bit difficult to tell without facial expressions being posted, but if you can imagine being 8 years old again on Christmas Eve and the level of anticipation you had, well that’s me.  This system was made for a high performance home, and that’s what we build.  The Fujitsu unit we are using is so effecient that for every 1 kw of electricity it consumes it produces 3.2 kw of heat (COP 3.2).  For those of you that are unfamiliar with what a mini-split heat pump is, imagine the heating/cooling unit you use when you stay at a hotel.  That wall mount thingy just under the window in your room controls both heating and cooling of that space.  It has the ability to heat or cool by pulling the heat out of the outside air (heating) or inside air (cooling).  The system we use is more centralized to support the entire home, but the concept is the same.  As metioned in earlier posts, our modeled heat load on this home is only at 11,500 btuH and the smallest forced air furnace available is 45,000 btuH, so the alternative was to find a smaller more efficient heating system – hence the mini-split.

This post will be long and in multiple segments, but hopefully educational on looking at alternative ways of heating homes!  Please ask questions by posting comments on this post if you have any and I will answer all that I can.

Fujitsu 1.5 ton mini-split

HSPF (Heating) 9.2 / SEER (Cooling) 17

Mini-split mounted

Mini-split mounting bracket