The High-Performance House, Part 6: The Facade Takes Shape
Rona Easton and Lonn Combs of EASTON+COMBS, the award-winning architectural office based in New Marlborough, Mass. have allowed Rural Intelligence to look over their shoulders (and those of their client) throughout the construction process of a high-performance home going up right now. This is the sixth installment of eight (or so — this is construction, after all) in a series that is giving us a lens into the building of an energy efficient house in Egremont, Mass.
If you read our previous installment in this series on the Smart Wall, you will remember how the so-called rain screen, or ventilated facade, plays a critical role in the environmental performance of the house.
As we said, controlling moisture and preventing mold build up is the fundamental challenge of our new, high performance walls. An exterior rain screen — a ventilation space between the wall sheathing and exterior finish — is one of the keys.
Mock-up built to study wall assembly. This diagram illustrates how the ventilated facade supports the successful performance of the wall.
Now we can begin to see the the outermost layer of the rain screen, and the building, take shape. The metal is being installed on the wood battens on both the roof and the walls, and looks stunning. In addition to playing a vital environmental role, the metal also provides a maintenance-free finish; no need to stress over a significant repainting bill in 10 years.
Garage/studio building with metal roof and facade.
The complications, and maintenance, of gutters and roof overhangs are avoided because the system passively manages water rather than trying at all costs to repel it, much to our client’s liking “I’ve found the experience of maintaining a house extremely frustrating, and wanted my new house to be very low-maintenance,” she said. “I don’t want to have to find someone to clean my gutters ever again!”
All of the details, including at the roof eaves and around the windows, have been carefully developed to allow air flow into the ventilation space and at the same time shed water.