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PassivHaus barndominium in Minnesota

Hello everybody. First post -- just signed up. Great site. I live 30 minutes north of the Twin Cities and I'm looking at building a passiv type haus. I've found the land I'm building on (10 acres) and have somewhat of a plan for the building.

My wife and I want to build a barndominium. Looking at 50x70 total with 30x50 two stories and 40x50 shop. I have a general idea of how I want to build but alas I am newb and was hoping for some insight with the pros on this site.

Thanks again and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Asked by Ryan Picha
Posted Tue, 04/01/2014 - 17:43
Edited Wed, 04/02/2014 - 05:48


6 Answers

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It sounds like you are just beginning to think about green construction (since you have only a general question rather than a specific question).

Here is an article to get you started: Green Building for Beginners.

For more information on the Passivhaus standard, you might want to read some of the articles listed on GBA's “landing page” on Passivhaus.

[Note to other GBA readers: If you are mystified by the term "barndominium" -- I was -- you might want to read this Wikipedia article.]

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Wed, 04/02/2014 - 05:46

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My entire post just got deleted forgot to hit send!!! Been wanting to build green just recently looked into building green and want to get started this summer will be purchasing land once snow melts here in MN. I want the 50 ft side of the building to face n/s house side s garage part n with trees on the n and e ends with driveway/yard on the w and s ends. Radiant in floor heat entire slab and upstairs of house run by combi domestic/radiant hot water heater with ductless mini backup heat and a/c get large discount on elect with 2 heat sources. Think I've chosen Marvin ultimate casement windows. Barn will have steel siding/roof house part 20 ft walls garage 15 ft walls. Interested in double wall construction. Is the house orientation to the sun make sense? windows any good? heat/cool sound efficient or redundant? best/cheapest way to insulate the large cavities of the exterior wall? will steel siding be ok? I want to do as much of this project as i can myself any tips/tricks suggestions would be greatly appreciated thanks much!

Answered by Ryan Picha
Posted Sun, 04/06/2014 - 00:34

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It's usually a good idea to ask just one or two questions at a time. If you lack confidence in your design and specification skills, you should hire a designer, a builder, an engineer, or an energy consultant to help you.

Q. "Radiant in floor heat entire slab and upstairs of house?"

A. If you build a good thermal envelope, your house will be comfortable with a much less expensive heat distribution system. Radiant in-floor heat is usually unnecessary in a well-built house.

Q. "Does the house orientation to the sun make sense?"

A. Yes.

Q. "Windows any good?"

A. The brand of the window you choose is much less important than the glazing you specify.

Q. "Heat/cool sound efficient or redundant?"

A. Redundant.

Q. "Best/cheapest way to insulate the large cavities of the exterior wall?"

A. Talk to local insulation contractors. In most areas of the country, the answer will be dense-packed cellulose.

Q. "Will steel siding be OK?"

A. With any siding, careful installation details are more important than the siding choice.

Q. "Any tips/tricks suggestions?"

A. You probably need some professional help.

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Sun, 04/06/2014 - 05:36

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Can anybody recommend someone in the Minneapolis area who can basically give me the blueprint of what I need to do to get this place built? One person who does it all would be awesome. Thanks for the answers i appreciate it.

Answered by Ryan Picha
Posted Thu, 04/10/2014 - 09:24

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If you really want a Passivhaus — and there are strong arguments supporting the idea that a green building doesn't have to adhere to the Passivhaus standard — then you need to hire a Passive House consultant.

There are nine Passive House consultants in Minnesota:
Howard, Matthew — M.C.Howard Builders Corp., Two Harbors, MN
Meyers, Sean — St. Paul, MN
Anderson, Mark — Anderson Architecture, St Paul, MN
Bowman, Joe — Northfield, MN
Holdman, Brent — Coen + Partners, Minneapolis, MN
Eian, Tim — TE Studio Ltd., Minneapolis, MN
Books, Jennifer — Architecturally FIT, Minneapolis, MN
Gates, Paul — Paul Gates Architect, Minneapolis, MN
Crenshaw, Josh — Morrissey Builders LLC, Minneapolis, MN

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Thu, 04/10/2014 - 09:42
Edited Thu, 04/10/2014 - 09:44.

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Has anyone worked with any these consultants? How much would it cost ballpark to get someone to basically tell how to do this from the ground up? I don't need to adhere to the Passivehaus standard just want to be close as I can without breaking the bank.

Answered by Ryan Picha
Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 00:44

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