Renovation Timeline: January - May 2011

Armstrong House Project: Renovation

Armstrong House

Late winter 2011. Long-lasting snow finally melts.







January – May, 2011

The renovation of the Armstrong land steward’s residence and education center proceeds towards completion and mid-summer occupancy. We continue to make all decisions based on principles of maximum energy efficiency and extended durability of the structure. Existing and donated recycled and reused materials continue to play a prominent role in both structural and non-structural elements of the renovation.

Prior bead-board wall and ceiling coverings have been reconditioned and reapplied minimizing introduction of new materials and maintaining the historic feel of structure. Where bead-board is not used as a wall covering, a greener, more sustainable drywall has been substituted. Our drywall is manufactured with post and pre-consumer recycled content and faced with 100% recycled post consumer paper.

Drywall sheets have been locally sourced having been manufactured at a plant within 500 miles from the project site. This GreenGuard indoor, air quality certified, wallboard with its impregnated mold resistance, mitigates issues relating to durability and indoor air quality of standard drywall.

The installation of our low temperature radiant panels is complete. In total we have over 2,000 ft2 of radiant panels in our floors, walls and ceilings that are supplied by over 4,400 linear feet of PEX tubing and 18 individual circuits from our 24 port manifold. While unusual, this sq. footage will allow a significantly lowered design temperature (~90 degrees at 10 degrees outside) that interfaces efficiently with our existing, basic flat plate solar thermal collectors. In the future, the Armstrong house has the ability to be heated 100% from solar energy with minimal upfront expense.

Inspecting re-used hard-wood flooring installed above radiant paneling - Living room

In the living room, our radiant floor panels are covered with mixed pine flooring re-sawn from reclaimed beams. The PRLC office has donated hickory wood flooring, unused surplus from another construction project. Kitchen and bathroom floor panels have been covered with cement board underlayment prior to the installation of sustainable green linoleum. In the three upstairs bedrooms, the radiant panels have been placed on the walls and ceiling to allow for the reuse and reconditioning of the existing 100-year old yellow pine floors. Over the next months, we will be finishing our wood floors, walls, and ceiling coverings with green finishes and trim rooms with recycled wood.

In preparation of our blower door test and to allow for adaptive and innovative residential usage patterns, we have continued with our insulation efforts. Window and door penetrations and exterior cavities have been resprayed with expanding foam insulation. All hot and cold domestic water supply lines have been individually insulated to minimize condensation potential and conserve heat energy. Radiant heating PEX supply lines are insulated as well in the interior partition walls and ceilings to allow for advanced zoning strategies to conserve energy.

Next, we are installing our heat recovery ventilation system with similar attention to flexible usage patterns and energy efficiency. All appliances will likewise be selected with a premium placed on energy efficiency and durability. Attention to these details achieves PRLC’s goals of preserving the historic character and landscape viewshed of the residence so important to our community, mitigating the residence’s environmental footprint and demonstrating how to ‘live lighter on the land’ while providing a residential living space ahead of modern standards and with reduced life-cycle costs. The Armstrong Land Steward’s Residence and Educational Center has been designed and built as a future, net-zero energy structure.