Plasma cutting steel staircase Tung oil applied on trim woodwwork Floors milled from site grown trees Septic field restoration Reflecting afternoon sun Birth of a barn on Bragg Hill Radiant floors Solar panel installation Capping off the chimney Proud shape emerges on the hilltop Pumping concrete into the three gables Forming 12x12 Gables Delivering concrete from the sky Parallam beam positioning Flying flitch beam ICF window framing Precision concrete placement Lower level ICF fabrication Newly excavated driveway Finishing garage deck concrete Pouring concrete footers Rebar safety caps Surveying the construction site Checking out the excavation equipment Rapid soil stabilization Testing the soils for drainage Taking Solar Pathfinder measurements Milling downed trees onsite View to the Southeast over the Benzel Family Trust Future meadow to be cultivated Taking a stroll on Bragg Hill Road

Green Technologies

While building "green" references construction methods and disciplines practiced for centuries, new materials and technologies are making sustainable building more efficient than ever. Our challenge: how do we evaluate and balance new and emerging technologies with the desire to minimize our carbon footprint and reduce costs?

Green Technologies at Work

This is a 360 degree view of one of the mechanical rooms at 60 Bragg Hill.  This room contains the solar panel inverters, the geothermal water-to-water heat pumps, most of the radiant floor manifolds, our well water system, domestic hot water and wireless Lutron lighting system.  This is the hub of most of the green technologies that powers the home.  The room was designed and built by Frank Ent, Timothy… Read more →

The End of Wall Clutter as we Know it

The End of Wall Clutter as we Know it Go ahead, count the number of light switches in your house…  I’ll wait. If you live in a reasonably modern home built since electricity was invented, you probably have dozens of them.  Each one of those mechanical switches requires wiring, a box to house the switch and a hole in your wall and a plate to cover the hole in your wall.  Add modern conveniences such as digital thermostats, ceiling… Read more →

Drill, Baby Drill

Drill, Baby Drill Five deep holes were drilled deep into the bedrock of Bragg Hill this week.  One for our domestic drinking water, the others for geothermal heating and cooling.  While not much to look at the surface, the science of drilling used here was sophisticated and was performed with precision. Ken Madron from K.L Madron Well Drilling performed the service. Of interest are the four geothermal wells.  Unlike the domestic water well,… Read more →

Going Solar: A Race Against Time

Going Solar: A Race Against Time Being that the sun has been in existence since the birth of our solar system, you wouldn’t think that we’d be in such a hurry to get our photo voltaic system installed and inspected.  If, however you are counting on a special grant from a government body who is willing to pay for a third of your costs, time becomes important. Like many states in the US, Pennsylvania has an… Read more →

Bragg Hill is setting for Green Home Caravan

Bragg Hill is setting for Green Home Caravan The Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) has selected 60 Bragg Hill to be a stop along the Chester County Green Home Caravan Tour.  Under crystal clear skies, more than thirty participants visited 60 Bragg Hill to learn about sustainable green building practices. The site was one of three locations that defined the Green Home Tour.  The first home, State Representative Chris Ross’s house was one of the first sustainable… Read more →

Preparing for the Elements

Preparing for the Elements A traditional barn cupola sits proudly atop 60 Bragg Hill.  From a visual standpoint, it is one of the strongest architectural elements of the home. This week, in preparation of the metal standing seam roof installation the Marvin windows were installed and the lightening arresters were affixed to its apex. The cupola’s peak is 48 feet above grade.  Add that to Bragg Hill’s already 331 foot MSL (Mean Sea Level)… Read more →

Recycled beverage containers create waterproofing for 60 Bragg Hill

Recycled beverage containers create waterproofing for 60 Bragg Hill No it’s not a space ship, although it looks like one.  You are looking at the exterior of our lower level ICF walls covered with a waterproofing membrane called Platon®. This is a Certainteed product made from high-density polyethylene 92% of which has been recycled from milk and other beverage containers.  The concept behind the interesting dimple texture of the foundation wrap is to channel natural hydrostatic pressure from underground… Read more →

Footers are Defined and Prepped for First Pour

Footers are Defined and Prepped for First Pour Now that the home site has been excavated, leveled and compacted, the footers are defined and prepared for the first concrete pour.  Integrated Concrete Forms (ICFs) require special footers capable of supporting the high-density walls of the home.  To accomplish this, brothers Matt and Mike Thompson use lasers, hard work and a green product from CertainTeed called FORM-A-DRAIN™ to define the mold for the weight-bearing footers.  This product is a… Read more →

Solar Panels for our New Home: A No-Brainer

Solar Panels for our New Home: A No-Brainer Building a new home in these uncertain times has its share of anxieties and challenges.  Installing solar panels on our roof isn’t one of them.  When you start from a clean sheet of paper and have the ability to orient your home precisely to take advantage of solar efficiencies, adding solar panels should be easy.  When the state and federal government step in to help (with a little help from… Read more →

Solar Pathfinder Measurements Taken

Solar Pathfinder measurements were taken on January 13, 2009 by Tad Radzinski and Brendan McGrath of Sustainable Solutions Corporation.  The objective of these measurements is to determine the potential efficiency of a photo voltaic solar array at a particular location.  With all of the trees on the property, the big question we hope to answer is: how much direct sunlight can we expect at the proposed building site during all… Read more →

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