This week the garage and causeway, between the garage and house, had their concrete floors poured.
Xcel also hooked up our house meter, the framers were busy downstairs and our water management design for the area at the bottom of the retaining wall got a trial run.
The concrete pour was a pretty cool process which I got to watch some of (while staying out of the way of course).
One note, concrete is not very environmentally friendly in that it takes a lot of nasty stuff to make. As a building material, however, it has lots of advantages.
To increase the recycled content of the concrete, as well as strengthen in, the concrete we are using contains "fly ash".
Fly Ash is actually a waste product from burning coal (yuck).
While I personally hate the idea of burning coal, using some of the fly ash that is being stored (coal plants can't simply let it free in the air or dump it anymore) means not as much material needs to be mined and made into the old standard Portland Cement.
By adding fly ash, the end result can also be stronger and more durable.
The ancient Romans actually used volcanic ash, which is similar to fly ash, in their concrete. This is part of the reason for the durability of their structures.
We also are making a home for a 'built in' mat. Similar to many mats/grates you may see at banks, offices or other commercial buildings. These mats help maintain healthy indoor air by scraping off shoes of debris.
With the small depression, the mat won't go sliding around and people won't trip on it (I do that a lot with our current one).
To create the half inch depression, a very painstaking, unforgiving, stressful process was involved.
A 4x4 sheet of plywood was wrapped in plastic and pushed into the fresh concrete ;-)
Far easier than doing it after the concrete set.
We will be doing the same on our front step (with narrow channels for water to drain).
Xcel came out this last week and trenched a 4-5 foot deep path for power to our house.
Power is live now to our meter, although we don't yet have the basement and mechanical room done. Once that is done, we should have power available to our own lights and switches!
Their timing was perfect, because the next day we got two inches of rain. That would not have been a fun job after that.
We currently are set up with Xcel's Windsource program, so our power at the temporary meter out by the road is offset by wind power.
Once our solar panels are up, we will continue using Xcel's Windsource power, however, we will also be sending as much solar energy into the grid as we draw from it.
Framing has begun downstairs! We can now start to see the design and layout of the rooms, which made us very happy. Every week we get closer and closer to our dream:)
We also had a chance to see the drain tile down in the retaining wall in action. After a couple of inches of rain the area by the walls are dry and the little "retaining pond" is doing its job holding the water as it soaks into the ground.
This coming week it is raining pretty much all day Monday and Tuesday, so this will be another good test for it.
This coming week we will be finishing up with the framing and insulation downstairs. Plumbers, HVAC and electrical work will also be going on downstairs.
Drywall will start going up on the main floor and the final door (temporary doors) will be put in place. Once the drywall is on the walls, we will be insulating with additional cellulose insulation. I am not sure if that will get started.
We also have the guys working on the siding. With the weather, I am not sure if they will be a bit delayed or not.
Mark really doesn't like to talk about himself, the house is much more interesting.