“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Wow! What a Christmas we had. We did Brooklyn with our son Joel and his partner Laura including the Broadway musical performance of The Color Purple on Christmas night. Sea to shining sea, we were back to Oregon with Erin and Amy on the magnificent Pacific, for walks on the beach and the traditional eccentric father-daughter dip in the ocean to start the New Year. Happy 2016 everyone!

And what happened to the Net Zero house while we were gone?   Well you know what they say about what children do when the parents are away. We were really worried there would be no progress. What I mean is: witness the crazy Holiday picture the employees of Cellar Ridge Construction took in our house. Does this look like a trustworthy bunch? And some of them, frankly, just enjoy quiet contemplation what with the windows blocking out all outside noise!!!!

Of course I’m joking. As we moved into December the house was totally wrapped in that outer 3 inches of Roxul. Heck we even got a front door!!!

And then things really got exciting. The Insulation Blower Truck showed up to complete the 13 inch wall of insulation (R-54) we have been talking about so many months. Remember R-Value:

R-val·ue: noun

the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.

Our insulation values are: R-60 under our feet, R-70 over our heads. Current building codes require R-11 in the walls of all buildings. Ours will be R-54. Remember our wall cross section shows (from left to right in the picture—-outside to inside) siding, air-space, 3-inches of Roxul (R-14), Blueskin on sheating, then 10 inches of dense pack fiberglass (R-40) and sheetrock.

Passive House Wall Model

Blowing dense-pack fiberglass insulation into the empty 10-inch walls COMPLETES THE WALLS!!!! BIG YAY!!! The truck pulled up full of pink bales of insulation. These were ground up and blown through the long hose from the street into those walls.

In preparation, the guys had plugged any remaining holes, stuffed some cracks and sealed the wall with a translucent, very strong fabric.

The fabric enables the blown-in fiberglass to be dense-packed under much higher pressure than, say, the same insulation blown loose into your attic, as it will be into ours. Why is dense-packing important? R-value of dense-packed insulation is R-4 per inch, giving us (10 inches X 4) R-40 for the wall. The R-value of loose-packed is only R-2 per inch. So the pink stuff was blown in and pounded and packed tight till everything was done.

Here’s how it went in motion and what our enthusiastic lunch crew had to say about it over burritos on the floor of the Master Bedroom.


And then the most amazing thing happened while we were actually out of town. Real interior walls appeared right where we had been eating burritos in the bedroom. And all over the house. It’s beginning to look like a place someone could inhabit!?! Which reminds me, we’re having the Mother of All Painting Parties with Erin and Amy this weekend, so stay tuned!!!

If you haven’t read (or watched) The Color Purple for awhile, you might want to review it’s words of wisdom. Keep on keeping on:

“I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way…I can’t apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to… We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful…We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.”

― Alice Walker, The Color Purple




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