Our growing season at Rocky Corner is coming to an end. Our first field of mixed vegetables can be seen in this wonderful drone photo taken by Rocky Corner friend Domingo Medina. He and Brenda Caldwell are learning about our soil, how to enrich it with amendments, how to help the microbes become healthier and thrive. Soil has a microbiome that helps plants to grow, just like humans have gut bacteria that keep us healthier.
Domingo runs Peels and Wheels Composting in New Haven. Residents and businesses subscribe to his service. Using a cargo bicycle (Wheels!), he picks up kitchen scraps (Peels!) and other biodegradable materials left at the curbside. Domingo pedals it all to his composting enterprise at Phoenix Press Farm. This is the property below the large wind turbine you can see from the I-95 Quinnipiac River Bridge. Peels and Wheels compost is produced with solar powered aerators that speed up the decomposing process.
We are building a relationship between Peels and Wheels and Rocky Corner farm so that his beautiful, rich compost can be one of our key soil-building amendments!
It’s beginning to look real. The first building has all three home types (one-bedroom type A, two-bedroom type B, and a type C, which nominally has three bedrooms, but this one has two bedrooms and a study).
The slab is insulated from the ground and wrapped in a vapor barrier that will extend up and over the whole building. All of the underground conduits and pipes are in place, and the carpenters are working fast.
The builder, the architect, and the structural engineer are checking to be sure everything is tight and sound.
And the main thing is that now we can stand in a home and get a realistic sense of the interior spaces.
The heavy rain storm last week was a challenge for our builders, but they have persevered and five homes are ready to be slabbed. What I mean is that they have placed the pipes, the forms and the insulation and are ready to pour the cement on Monday. The weather looks perfect for the weekend so everything should go as planned. I don’t think we will be out there with a champagne bottle to christen the pour, but a few of us may go to watch. This is Nancy and Rich’s home in the photo. so they may want the front row seats!
Two reps from Home Energy Technologies came to the site to review the requirements for Energy Star certification. They are excited about our project and find us in compliance with everything from lighting (all LED) to air barriers to insulation. Our foundations exceed the > R10 Energy Star insulation requirement for slab on-grade. We will have R16! If you don’t know about R values, an insulating material’s resistance to conductive heat flow is measured or rated in terms of its thermal resistance or R–value — the higher the R–value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. R16 reduces the heat flow (in or out) by 95%.
Why are we doing slabs rather than traditional New England basements? The slab in every building at Rocky Corner is a heat sink. It will absorb heat during a sunny, winter day. The slab will gradually release the heat during the day and into the evening which will naturally warm up the house. That means less need for other heat sources that cost money. Free heat!
Lots to be proud of and to brag about. Rocky Corner homes will rock when it comes to energy efficiency!