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The Mattapoisett Cottage
In 1981, we built our first superinsulated project in the small coastal community of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. It was our first foray into the ultra energy efficient arena. Here are the Results . . . Some details follow the pictures that were taken 25 years later.
The homeowners first noticed how quiet their "new" home was. Then they noticed the complete absence of drafts. The home was comfortable at any time of year. Not only was it cooler in the summer, but it was warmer in the winter. An all electric home might have been a concern in terms of energy costs, but the owners were delighted to inform me that "that unusually cold February, their electric bill finally came to slightly over $100!" At the time the electric rate in the area was .129 kwh.
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The Mattapoisett Cottage Pictures

The Mattapoisett Cottage Pictures
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Original Conditions
This was an existing 675 square foot, elevated cottage. It was situated on the open ocean on the south end of Buzzard's Bay. It was set back from the water about 200 feet. It faced due south, toward the water. Originally, it was not winterized, the kind of cottage you see all along the coast of southeastern Massachusetts.
Remodeling The Shell
We completely gutted it down to the framing and sheathing. We installed the then available Andersen triple paned windows. We located the majority of the glass on the south side. At the client's request, we built two operable, Heat Mirror Superglass Quad pane skylights on the south side, and a small one on the north side over the bathroom. For doors, we used the typical steel insulated doors available at the time. We installed storm doors as well. We installed trim and new cedar shingles over a carefully detailed homewrap with ice and water shield at all openings.
We insulated with R13 in the existing 2x4 stud spaces, and R19 in the existing 2x6 rafter spaces and floorjoist spaces. Inside that, we lined the entire inside of the home with 1" foil faced, polyisocyanurate rigid insulation, and foamed all joints. Inside that, we installed furring on the walls and cathederal ceilings to provide space for electrical and other utilities inside the rigid insulation, which also served as a vapor barrier. We then roughed in the plumbing & electrical, carefully sealing any penetrations with foam. After insulating in the furred space with additional R13, we installed drywall and the finishes. This meant we ended up with about R35 in the walls, R42 in the ceilings, and R30 in the floors, with a very tightly sealed envelope around the living space.
This was an all electric home. We included a Heat Recovery Ventilator, (HRV) unswitched,set to run 24/7. The home was heated with electric radiant panels in the ceiling. It had an 80 gallon electric water heater, an electric range and oven, refrigerator, and of course lighting. There was a bath fan/light, and range exhaust hood. The water supply line from within the ground, up into the cottage was heat taped & insulated. Compact fluorescent lights were not generally available at the time, so lighting was incandescent.




Copyright 2012 Ronald Sauve All Rights Reserved

This page was last modified on April 06, 2012

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