The Virtual Office of Todd C. Sheets, Msc.GB  
              Entrepreneur, Building Biologist/ Theologist/Inventor

 

   Big Brother Koka      About us

I'm pleased to announce that I have completed the Master of Science in Green Building Degree program, offered through the San Francisco Institute of Architecture.  Class of 2012.

 

My Journey into Alternative Construction ~ House #1

 

In the 1977 I built my first house with my wife. I started by drawing the house plan at my kitchen table using a simple straight edge ruler, 1/4" to the foot scale. Since the house was a simple retangular design I wanted to do as much of the work as I could. I had built some porches and had helped on other construction projects. Most important to me was to save money on my electric bill, conserve energy, so I asked the local lumber yard for 2x6 studs, instead of the usual 2x4 studs. They looked at me as if I were crazy and I was told those studs didn't exist. I was forced to buy 16 ft. long 2x6 and cut them in half to make 2 studs (88 5/8"). All my moves were motivated by logic not science, so the plan was also to caulk all the seams of the studs, around the window casings and headers, every place where I thought air could leak in.

As with every home owner we wanted to save money on our construction project so I hired an experienced framer to put together the core structure and I would do the rest. The framer had half the walls up when I realized he was not following the plan. When you draw your own plan you have mentally built that house many times, so I knew he was off by 3 feet. I stopped him from working and he argued that he thought the house needed to have a few walls tweeked. With that I fired him, tore down his work and started over. Again, thinking logically I framed the corners with one of the 2x6 studs turned sideways, thinking more of the insulation could go behind the wall. By putting in a wood stove I was able to heat this home easily and my normal electric bill was small compared other homes of the same size.

 

House #2

 

Keeping with the idea of energy conservation I built the next home with 2x6 studs 24, inches on center but now I just bought 2x6 nominal lumber and trimmed them at (92 5/8"). By now I was reading any book on alternative construction and intrigued about earth bermed homes or earth shelterd homes. I decided to partially bury the house into a hill side and to face it south. This house was 4,000 sq. ft. and I put a wood stove in the basement and another upstairs. For the size of this house it performed well, I also installed a heat pump, a new idea rarely used in Central Oregon at the time.

 

House #3

 

Having paid to much for 3 arce parcel that I thought I could build a commercial building on, I was forced to build a small house to recover my cost. I discovered that many homes built in California are on slab floors, so I built a 1300 Sq. Ft. 2x6 home. I built the heating plenum at the ceiling line, this way all the attic insulation would be on top, providing me most efficient distribution of heat. The house heated easily and it was quiet.

House #4 1990

The electric company was now offering incentives to build energy efficient homes so I built a home with 2x10's that I designed with thermal breaks in the top and bottom plates. The home faced south and was certified as super energy efficient. With all my homes, I caulked all the seams, inside the structure to slow the movement of air. The heat pump runs more efficent and home is cozy.

I have been building for over 30 years and appreciate the leaders and visonaries of sustainability and green building design. Fred Stitt and The San Francisco Institute of Architecture are just one of the many fine examples of leading by example, leading the way to a build a better world for mankind.