Building the NewenHouse Kit Home: Moving In!


| 10/25/2011 1:09:16 PM


Tags: newenhouse, Sonya Newenhouse, kit homes, super insulated homes, passive house, leed, HRV, duct blaster,

Sonya NewenhouseSonya Newenhouse, Ph.D. is an eco-entrepreneur who enjoys providing practical and creative solutions to help individuals and organizations live and manage green. Her firm, Madison Environmental Group, provides LEED green building and sustainability consulting services. She is also founder and president of Community Car, a car sharing organization in Madison Wisconsin. Currently she is developing NewenHouse, a business that will provide super-insulated sustainable kit homes.  

We’ve moved in and are enjoying living in the first NewenHouse. We were curious about what it would really feel like to experience this house and we have lots of news to report. Here's a first floor view just prior to us moving in. The kitchen window faces north and the storage/three-season room. Beyond the north door is the 6-by-14-foot breezeway leading into the three-season porch and storage room.

 A View from the East Door Entry Just Prior to Move In  

Electricity: After a month we received our first electrical bill. We consumed 350 kWh and produced 384 kWh, receiving a credit on our bill. Our solar hot water installer, Full Spectrum Solar, suggested that we unplug the electrical water heater backup system and see how long we can last with using only the sun to heat our water. It’s been 73 days and we have not needed to plug in the backup electric water heater. We take showers every day, do multiple loads of laundry when the sun’s out, wash our dishes after every meal, and have yet to run out of hot water. There was only one day when we took a “Luke Skywalker shower” with lukewarm water. My guess is that in November when the string of shady days begins to descend on Wisconsin we will need to plug into the electrical grid. 

Air exchange: This past Friday, October 21, the Alliance for Environmental Sustainability held a tour here thanks to a Zehnder sponsorship. After the house tour we listened to presentations by our Green Rater, Laura Paprocki; the EMF (Electromagnetic Fields) consultant Spark Burmaster; and the Passive House consultant Carly Coulson. In the morning we conducted the final duct blaster test and reached .51 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals! So we passed the preformance measurement for Passive House certification which allows .6 air changes per hour. It’s harder to achieve this number with a small house as our air volume is much less than most homes. This number is thus particularly impressive. See Joe giving us the thumbs up below. 

Thumbs Up by Joe Nagan 




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