Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PHIUS Certification in hand! Punchlist? Rainwater collection upgrade, Energy consumption update

We finally received our certificate and plaque for the house from PHIUS.  We can now say we're certified to their standard.  The curious thing is that in the month or so since we received the plaque and certificate, the house has not yet been added to the PHIUS list of certified houses on their website.  Pictures to follow when I get the plaque mounted on the house.

  We're still waiting for the punchlist to be completed - "nail pops," paint, bathtub scratches, and a few other things.  We have done a lot of work around the house since my last post - we'll publish photos in the coming days to update the blog.  Landscaping has been a big part of the work and soon we'll turn to indoor work with the heat and humidity become unbearable (yesterday was 78 degrees and about 95% humidity so it was pretty unbearable for any outside physical work).

  As an update on the energy consumption, our latest electric bill was $80 and our HVAC hasn't been running much since that bill so I expect the next bill to be lower.

We upgraded the rainwater collection system to a total of 1350 gallons, 550 of which is filtered so we don't get rotting-pollen-scented water.  For the record 1/2" of rain produces about 100 gallons of filtered water (due to slower flow rate of sand/gravel biofilter) and several hundred gallons unfiltered.  We had 1 1/2" of rain over the weekend so have about 1200 gallons stored at the moment.  No need to use it yet because we're getting sufficient rainfall but in a month or so the veggies and newly planted bermuda/zoysia grass and flower gardens will appreciate the water.  I'll try to document the "first flush" and biofilter setup and experiences we had in making it all work.  Rainchains are nice but they're a bit messy where they collect all the oak seed pods pine needles and leaf bits. Blocks the drainage and causes water to spray off the chains instead of flow smoothly down the chains.  We plan to install gutter guards this spring so that will alleviate the majority of that debris and rainwater collection will be cleaner.


  1. Hello,
    We are in Canada (Alberta) and we are in the process of building a was originally supposed to be a passive haus however we are doing it on our own without the modeling or involving a designer (we tried that and it was not getting us very far and was costing us a great deal) we are doing it on our own...Did you ever consider concrete for flooring. Any tips or insights would be great.
    Crystal and Jeremy

    1. Crystal and Jeremy,
      I posted a comment last night - I hadn't found the secret to replying to comments previously (not paying attention I guess).

      Yes we did consider concrete floors but they're hard for someone with back problems (my wife has a couple bulging discs). We had some other experiences that we would be happy to share. Since I moderate the comments (too many spammers trying to use comments to advertise their products or business) if you send me a comment with your e-mail I won't publish it and we can converse directly. There are many hints we have and some of them are "intuitively obvious" only after you have made the mistake!


  2. Thank you for the response. We would love to pick your brain or get any tips you could pass along to us. Our email is

    Did you do the modelling for your house before you began.

    It looks like you guys have done a great job.
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
    Crystal and Jeremy

  3. Hi John, my email address is
    I hope you can take some time to talk with me.
    All the best,