Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity

On Saturday I contributed a little blood (stupid stapler recoil!) and a lot of sweat to the Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity “green” model that I designed. 15 of my coworkers and I showed up on site at 8am and insulated nearly the entire house! While I woke up a little sore the next day, it was extremely rewarding to put in some sweat equity and share the process with my colleagues. I also got a chance to chat with the homeowner, Felita Jordan about how she likes the house, and while she was mostly interested in what I thought about it, it was clear that she is really enjoying watching the house take shape.

Above our some pictures of the house coming together. The original plan was to insulate the house with 1″ of continuous R6 rigid insulation outside the studs and sheathing and then fill the wall cavities with R15 of loose, blown-in cellulose insulation. Since blown-in insulation is tough to do with volunteer labor, though, we ended up with the 1″ of continuous rigid and then R13 of fiberglass batt insulation between the studs. We did use a formaldehyde free fiberglass which allowed us to install it without wearing masks and gloves and will also be better for the indoor air quality of the finished house. Saturday’s tasks included not only insulating all of the exterior stud walls and the basement, but also continuing the installation of fiber cement siding, a new product for Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity. While the siding seemed to have a bit of an installation learning curve, it looked fantastic and I am ecstatic that we could avoid the use of the typical vinyl siding which has some pretty devastating health impacts, especially during production, and also as extremely limited end-of-life reuse options.

All photos below were taken by Adam Nelson of Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity (adamcnelson).

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