Summer Smoke Season is Upon Us

Summer Smoke Season is Upon Us

Indoor Air Quality - Wild Fire SeasonThings you can do to reduce your family’s exposure to smoke.

Clean air in the home is crucial for the health and well-being of our families. To combat smoke particles finding their way in through tiny cracks and crevices in walls and windows, and to minimize your chances of breathing viral particles and standing smoke we have come up with a few suggested approaches:

  • Attaching furnace filters to box fans.
  • Window fans blowing outward to expel stale or polluted air.
  • Avoid unconditioned spaces.
  • Improve central air filtration.
  • Ventilation and filtration provided by heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems can reduce the airborne concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and thus the risk of transmission through the air WITH the right filtration (that is a whole science on it’s own!)
  • Wear a mask, yes even in your home or vehicle.
  • Air purifiers work by creating finer and finer filters.
  • Whole house ventilation and air cleaning.
  • Avoid activities that create more fine particles indoors, like:
  1. Using gas, propane or wood-burning stoves and furnaces.
  2. Spraying aerosol products.
  3. Frying or broiling food.
  4. Burning candles or incense.
  5. Vacuuming, unless you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

We are happy to consult with you on what installed or stand-alone solutions might be best for your home.

Going Up and Out!

Going Up and Out!

A few weeks ago we notified neighbors that there would be some construction noise this month at one of the houses in their neighborhood. Kids growing out of space is the official reason to get this project underway, but actually getting started was a dream that was a long time coming. The expanded views that this remodel second story accesses are stunning and that extra space is nice with a good sized family. What has been just imaginations figment is starting to take shape and form. It is amazing how fast the projects get going once all the mise en place is done.
Photos courtesy of neighbor, Larry! 

Backyard building under construction
Backyard Playhouse under construction
Backyard Playhouse
Getting Back to Normal

Getting Back to Normal

As we draw closer to summer and the Seattle weather reminds us all the reason that we all live here — the gorgeous and abundant natural environment and community. We are excited to see our community work so hard to get the region opened up again. And while we are jubilant about being able to hug and actually see the smiles of our friends and family again, the re-opening also is a little nerve-wrecking… Seeing the crowds collect at sporting events (especially indoors!) fills us with a sense of concern. Being in confined places unmasked has us uneasy. Time will help us all move forward – together.
We have also made some positive strides toward impacting our climate. So much more to discover about socializing in this new reality.
In a similar vein, we think it will be a bit before figuring out to best live, play, and grow (and maybe work or school!) in our homes is still shaking itself out. Sure there was an immediate need; though now people are getting to make decisions about which path forward is the right path for their family and how that is reflects in their housing needs. The knee-jerk reactions of spring 2020 are giving way to future-proof planning. Tough conversations for most of us with most everyone I know is having them (including Doug and myself!)
And while we can’t make the decisions for you, we are here to help to answer questions, consult with you, or give you referrals to partners to help you gather the information you need to move your housing thoughts forward.
Growing in the Green Belt

Growing in the Green Belt

Picture of Blue Home with Trees behind it.

Mighty House Construction and ming | architecture and design present Growing in the Green Belt for the 2021 NW Green Home Tour.

When we met this family of four (Mom, Dad, Daughter, and Son), they were living in chosen simplicity in a small 2-bedroom/1-bath home, less than 1000 sq ft. As the kids were growing, they knew it was time to expand, and they assembled a project team who they could trust to guide them through the process and who understood their minimalist approach – Grace Huang of ming| architecture and design and Mighty House Construction.

The family was concerned about maintaining a small visual impact in the neighborhood and keeping within a limited budget. There was great effort to design the new second floor to feel like it had been there a long time and will continue to be around a longtime. A lower roof height and vaulted ceilings reduced the overall height yet didn’t reduce the amount of usable floor space.

The new 720-sq-ft second floor contains 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. The new bath is designed with privacy details to allow the entire family to use the room at one time. The parents intentionally avoided the typical primary bedroom/bath suite – this saved both resources and space. The former first-floor bedrooms became multipurpose spaces –one became the stairs, laundry room and pantry; and the other became a flex room that serves as den, office, online school classroom, crafts space, or guest room. The new covered back deck provides a year-round outdoor space and greater connection to the yard and green space beyond.

Green features include:

A ductless mini-split heat pump replaced the gas furnace on the main floor. Ductless heating and cooling systems are two-way heat pumps that transfer heat between outdoor and indoor air by compressing and expanding refrigerant. The Dept of Energy reports that heat pumps produce up to 4x the energy they consume.

Infrared radiant heat ceiling panels and cove heaters by Mighty Energy Solutions provide heat on the 2nd floor. Infrared radiant heaters utilize the same physical properties that warm the earth from the sun (minus UV radiation). Panels are heated by infrared coils which radiates energy down —heating the objects in the room inc. the floor, furniture, and people. The heated objects radiate heat out, warming the space faster and longer with very little electricity. This contributes to healthy indoor air quality by not circulating dust/pollutants and they require need zero maintenance.

WhisperGreen Exhaust Fans in the new laundry and bathroom help regulate humidity.One contributor to unhealthy air quality can be buildup of moisture and potential growth of mold and mildew. These fans operate automatically until moisture levels are normal and are a great option for bathrooms and laundry rooms, where moisture is generated in a home.

Two pairs of Lunos HRV’s (heat recovery ventilators) in the bedrooms bring in fresh air and exhaust stale air, while pre-heating the incoming air with heat from the exhaust air. These units are quiet, communicate wirelessly to work in tandem, filter the incoming air, and are a great way to save energy.

An exterior tankless water heater saves space and a dual flush toilet reduces water use.

Marmoleum was used in the kitchen and the new bathroom. Marmoleum is a natural linoleum made from linseed oil and mixed with other natural products on a jute backing. It is also naturally resistant to bacterial growth, making it an extremely hygienic flooring choice.

Cork flooring was used in the new bedrooms. As cork is bark, it is a rapidly renewable resource, a great sound and thermal insulator, anti-static, hypo-allergic, impermeable, and fire retardant.

No VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints were used in the project, ensuring the highest indoor air quality.

The south facing roof was kept clear of roof penetrations to maximize solar access for future solar panels.

Products such as Kebony decking, fiber cement siding, and Ceasarstone quartz countertops were selected for durability and low maintenance.

Seattle ADU/DADU 101 – Presented with Second Use

Seattle ADU/DADU 101 – Presented with Second Use

The City of Seattle recently changed the rules on Accessory Dwelling Units (Detached and Attached Accessory Dwelling Units) for single-family zoned lots. The options for these ADU/DADUs are only limited by the imagination. These units could be used as homes to house renters or extended family, but also home offices or other bonus spaces. Come learn a few basics on what an owner needs to think about before jumping in on an ADU or DADU project, and why building material reuse is a perfect resource for when you decide to move forward with a new dwelling or bonus space on your property.

Laura Elfline of Mighty House Construction leads this discussion on how you might take advantage of the new zoning changes in our city. This is a recording of a live workshop that occurred on April 10th, 2021.