Our Net-Zero Home in Long Beach, California

Living the Change We Want to See in the World

  • Seeing the End of the Tunnel

    Having managed multi-million dollar projects during my aerospace career, I was not naive about schedule delays and cost over-runs. Nina and I knew that we were at the bleeding edge of home construction methods and we were willing to take the necessary risks to build our Green Dream Home. Our efforts to anticipate big risks went reasonably well but we didn't aniticipate how many small risks would come to fruition and interconnect to delay the project and drive up costs -- sort of like death by a thousand cuts. Fortunately, we aren't dead and we don't anticpate dying because the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

    Today, we are entering the last big phase of construction as we are ready for exterior stucco and siding and finishing the interior drywall with metal corners, tape and mud. Plan to make a lot of progress this week.

  • And Now for Something Completely Different

    This has been a lot more than a journey. We expected that with our major decision to use a new wall system and construction method would include moderate learning curve for our sub contractors. Turns out it has been a significant learning curve for most of our sub contractors.

    Pre-emptively, let me say that while we've have a number of problems, none of the problems have been major. The greatest impact of the problems is time and money.

    The majority of the framing went well, but the things that didn't go well caused significant delays while we figured out how to solve the problems. Same for the installation of utilities -- small problems, significant delays -- mostly because the sub contractors had never worked on a steel-framed house. Stick-built houses currently dominate residential construction the way that gasoline-engined cars dominate auto sales.

    As of today, we are almost ready to start wrapping the house so that we can apply smooth stucco and siding. We still have to install windows and doors which should be done by the end of next week.

    Hope springs eternal.

  • We have a lot of photos ...

    ... and we will post a lot more!

    One advantage of living next door to where we're building our new house is that it's easy to take photos when there's some visible progress (more on that in a future blog post) and we've been collecting these photos in a Google Photos photo album. We've linked that album to this website. You can access it by clicking on 'Photos' on the menu bar (top-right of any page) and you can see our mostly unedited stream of photos and a couple of videos.

    No captions on the photos as of now so you'll have to use your imagination on what they show. Some of you will know what the photo depicts because you are involved in our project and some of you know because you're in the industry.

    For now, please enjoy them and let us know if you have any questions.

    P.S.: Thanks to Joshua at mnmMOD for suggesting that we do this.

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