The last time we visited this project in Germantown, NY, we got a good sense of the research that builder-homeowner Everett Kramer has put into making his new home perform at near-Passive House levels. As noted then, he is not a professional builder but he is a building science zealot. He has committed 100% of his time and budget to a high-performance build, which he also designed. Although he is not pursuing Passive House certification, Everett is working with Cramer Silkworth, a Passive House consultant, who has been on board from the start. Everett forfeited the idea of using an architect but he felt Cramer’s expertise was critical to achieving his goals.
Since our last check-in, Everett has installed the windows and doors, insulated and air-sealed the entire envelope, built the exterior steel structure and lower roof, polished the slab, nearly completed the deck framing, and started in on the electric and plumbing. Of those things, the windows were probably the most exciting.
Installing Zola windows
The triple-pane lift-and-slide Zola Thermo Alu75 windows weigh about 800 lb. each. Their installation required a day’s worth of on-site tech support from the manufacturer. “That was absolutely necessary for us to be able to do the install ourselves,” Everett says, noting that it took about three weeks to get all of the windows in. Of course, installing your own windows is cost-effective, but in this case the savings were exorbitant given the size, number, and complex detailing of the units.
Though pleased with the results, Everett says he wished he had gone with Passive House…