We'll be hosting our next annual Common Sense Homestead Open House on Saturday, October 7, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. until 4 p.m. .
If you've wanted to see firsthand all the odds and ends I've talked about online, now's your chance.
If the weather cooperates, you can walk “the loop” around the acreage and tour the wagon wheel garden. It's going to sleep for the season, but the frost hardy plants and seed heads are still abundant.
New for 2015 – the detached 10'x20′ greenhouse and permaculture swales.
Here's some background information on the homestead. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing a series of articles I wrote during the building of our home that takes you through the building process with us.
Our Goals for Our Homestead: To build a home that conserves energy and resources, is accessible for those with physical limitations, and acts as a gathering spot for homeschooling and community activities including renewable energy and sustainable living education. We are also working towards providing most of our own food or sourcing it locally.
Common Sense Homestead Features
Passive Heating and Cooling
- Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), sand bed under floor, masonry stove, tile/underlayment provide thermal mass
- South facing window area is ~12% of floor area
- Four foot overhang and deck along entire south facing side of home
- Windows placed for cross ventilation and to take advantage of Lake Michigan breezes
- House constructed entirely of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)
- Energy Star Windows, insulating cellular shades
- Ceiling features R-55 blown in cellulose, all perforations in ICF sealed with spray foam
- Garage insulated with spray foam, fiberglass batting or blown cellulose in every exterior surface
- WI Green Built Certified, Energy Star Certified
- Green Cabinetry designed by Paul Yeager of Cosmic Walker Cabinetry
- Green Flooring provided by EcoFriendly Flooring of Madison – cork, bamboo, linoleum
- Natural daylighting throughout house
- CFL, LED, halogen bulbs, dimmer switches and task lighting reduce lighting loads
- Attached greenhouse for growing season extension
- Large organic garden and other food plants, primarily heirloom varieties
- Root cellar and unheated storage room for home food preservation
- Kitchen features walk-in pantry, roll out kitchen shelving, integrated recycling bins, ergonomic work surfaces, variety of task lighting, softer flooring to reduce fatigue
- Symmetry between upper and lower levels decreases need for specialized supports in the concrete, house sized to reduce materials waste (even increments)
- Solar Water Heating – Two 4×8 panels with 80 gallon storage tank installed by Lake Michigan Wind & Sun
- Large thermal mass and home layout facilitate natural heating and cooling
- In floor radiant heating for main floor and basement slab
- TempCast masonry stove with bake oven provides slow, even heat
- Ceiling fans in most rooms
- Supplementary cooling provided via forced air
- Panasonic exhaust fans with timers provide spot ventilation in bathrooms
- Direct vents for kitchen stove and clothes dryer, minimal ductwork = better efficiency
- Fantech Heat Recovery Ventilator system
Universally Accessible Design
- Low or no thresholds, 36 inch doors, extra wide hallways and stairways (lift ready)
- Lever handles on doors
- Safety lighting throughout home
- Wide spaces in bathrooms for wheelchair/walker access, ADA tub and shower
- Some grab bars plus backing in walls to allow for additional handles and grab bars
- Faucets have single lever controls, baths have hand showers with scald protection
- Urinal in main bathroom
- Toto Drake ADA low flow toilets with 1.5 gallons per flush
- Septic Lint Filter to keep lint, sand, etc. out of drain field (leading cause of septic failure)
- Both bathrooms located near water heater
- Two 50 gallon rain barrels
Common Sense Homestead Open House
Where: Common Sense Homestead, August and Laurie Neverman Residence
E1595 Old Settlers Road, Denmark, WI 54208 – Google maps does put us in the correct location.
When: Saturday, October 7, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Who: Open to the public
Cost: Free admission
RSVP: If you are thinking of attending, please leave a comment below or email me at laurieneverman at gmail dot com.
We're about a 2 hour drive from Milwaukee, three hours from Chicago, six hours from the Twin Cities area, 25 minutes from Green Bay, 2 hours to Wausau, and 45 minutes to an hour from the Fox Valley, just to give you some rough driving times.
Want Even More Information?
We have a whole series of posts on the site discussing building our home and green building options. You can find them on the “Green Home” page.
Other nearby attractions:
Parallel 44 Winery, which will be open from 10 am to 5 pm. Less than 5 minutes away.
Konop's Meats – Open 8 am – noon an Saturdays. Full service small town meat shop. About 2 miles north of us.
Krohn Dairy Store – Open 8am – noon on Saturdays. Located just a few miles north on AB. Fresh cheese curds made on Fridays – the best curds I've ever bought.
Now – I'd better get back to cleaning house and clearing out the garden! Looking forward to seeing a few of you soon. 🙂