Timber Frame and Solar: SunCommon’s Solar Canopy

 

Combining solar with timber framing? We’re all in. We’ve teamed up with SunCommon, a solar energy company with locations in Vermont and New York to bring their latest innovation, the Solar Canopy, to life.

These structures are making solar even easier to add to businesses and homes. The canopies are great for over driveways, parking areas, patios, wood piles, or serving as new outdoor spaces. We like this project as an energy producer, gathering spot, and outdoor storage space–the uses are nearly limitless.

read more

Update on the First Complete Cross Laminated Timber Building in NY State

Enclosure, mechanicals, and moving in. What’s the latest with our CLT build?

tomorrowland CLT building exterior NEW web

We began raising the first complete Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) building in New York State on our main campus in Farmington, NY in late January 2017. A combination of mass timber, heavy timber, and CLTs, the 21,000 sq ft building will house our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, and offer a bit of storage/shipping for our sister company, Pioneer Millworks. Progress since May has included:

Wood fiber installation, another product which is new to the US. Also referred to as “out-sulation” since it is installed on the outside of projects, the Wood Fiber panels offer 3.5R per inch, are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, and are a carbon sink – for each 1 m3 used, up to 1 tonne of CO2 is bound within the product. Made by Steico, we found this product installed with a fair amount of ease and is performing well.

Will G Steico DSCN2802

wood fiber install tomorrowland clt new energy works

The custom CNC cut corner tree received a coat of stain and is now sheltered behind glass.

tree paint new energy works clt building

CLT tree cut out night shot new energy

Siding, including shiplap Shou Sugi Ban Color Char by Pioneer Millworks.

shou sugi ban color char siding by pioneer millworks on clt building

siding tomorrowland

Shou Sugi Ban is an ancient Japanese technique of burning wood as a preservative treatment for exterior siding. The process gives Pioneer Millworks Larch a dark, slightly iridescent look. We anticipate that in this exterior use it may change over time, depending on its exposure to the elements.

Lights! All LED lighting combined with the natural light from the clerestory make this a very bright space. Our fine woodworkers are clamoring to move in for the lighting alone!

LED lighting CLT building new eneryg works

Concrete – what a BIG pour! Lots of man power and man hours. Concrete was flowed over radiant heat throughout the shop.

KB Masonry's team handled this big pour.

KB Masonry’s team handled this big pour.

wet concrete

Concrete complete and set! Photo by Scott Hemenway.

Concrete complete and set! Sprinkler lines run…lights to come. Photo by Scott Hemenway.

Mechanicals, such a sprinklers, and duct work. Steve and Ed our maintenance duo have been hard at work installing duct work/dust collection alongside a few of our trusted partners who handled the sprinklers and other mechanicals.

Ed and Steve talk connections for the dust collection ducts.

Ed and Steve talk connections for the dust collection ducts.

Ed is a bit camera shy and did well hiding behind the pipes.

Ed is a bit camera shy and did well on the man lift hiding behind the pipes.

Mechanical room.

Mechanicals room.

Amenities including the break room and bathrooms are underway.

rooms in tomorrowland

rooms framed in

Plumbing and electric are in. Next: doors.

In use: Pioneer Millworks has begun using their storage and shipping space at the back of the building. What once seemed to be a cavernous 8,000 sq ft is filling up quickly with custom orders that are ready to ship and other weather sensitive products.

PMW storage tomorrowland

We’re on schedule to move all of our fine woodworking shop to their new space in mid-August. Check back for information on our ribbon cutting this Fall. And visit our previous blog post for more images, videos, and details of this project.

About CLTs:
CLT construction is an economically and environmentally conscious alternative to steel and concrete construction, a material that is new to the U.S. building industry.

A quick description might be ‘giant plywood’. More specifically, CLTs are large wooden panels, typically consisting of 3, 5, or 7 layers of dimensional lumber, oriented at right angles, glued together. The panels for our project averaged 8 feet tall and 38 feet long at 3 ¼ and 3 ¾ inch thickness. Using a crane and lulls, the panels were lifted into place and fitted by hand to the supporting timber frame. Each CLT panel has a shiplap edge that nests the panels together and is secured with metal fasteners.

Ann Arbor Legacy Home

Thanks to Mike W, Timber Frame Champion on this project, for sharing his comments, leadership, and skills.

Thanks to Mike W, Timber Frame Champion on this project, for sharing his comments, leadership, and skills.

“I truly could not have asked to work with a better crew. It’s great to work with people so on-point. Hardly anything went by without someone helping to make the others’ job easier.” – Mike W, Timber Frame Champion on the Ann Arbor Legacy Home.

rendering MI legacy timber home new energy worksRaisings are often an exciting culmination of years of dreaming, months of planning, and hours of crafting. This Ann Arbor, Michigan home was no exception as our team was met with excited smiles and kind accolades from the homeowners Cindy and Bill and the builder, David (of Coppernail Construction). Our team of Mike, Jimmy, Taylor, and Randy from the McMinnville (Oregon) shop raised the frame amidst some rainy summer days in July.

raising main bent new energy works

A large hybrid timber frame and stick-built project, timber abounds in the great room, main entry, kitchen/dining areas. As a full-time home to the owners, this structure will also comfortably accommodate visits from their five children and many grandchildren within its nine bedrooms and seven baths. Plus they’ll have all-season fun with both indoor and outdoor pools.

Jimmy was all smiles for his selfie from the top of the frame.

Jimmy was all smiles for his selfie from the top of the frame.

Mike explained, “Jimmy (featured in a previous blog post) really showed his experience and took charge like a champ. He was absolutely my right hand on this raising,” 

 

Over 300 kiln dried Douglas fir timbers, nearly 20,000 board feet, were crafted for this project. On-site pre-assembly and layout of the hammer beam inspired bents and trimber was smoothly orchestrated over three days.

preassembly new energy timber michigan.jpgWorking between raindrops, the team raised the bents of the great room and main entry in a day.

taylor on frame.jpgOur newest guy, Taylor, got his feet wet (quite literally) during this, his first raising. He has hustle and shinned day after day with a “go getter” attitude and excited mindset,” Mike continued.

raising timber truss ann arbor by new energy works

 

 

Randy was all smiles as he helped direct "flying" timbers.

Randy was all smiles as he helped direct “flying” timbers.

pres MI raising.jpg

The entry was set with posts on concrete pillars that will have a stone facade in the future. More timber will grace the exterior as “trimber” as the project finishes out. Many thanks to the homeowners for a great project, the builder for his many skills, and our team for their dedication, camaraderie, and good work.

Guiding the corner posts of the entryway is a team effort.

Guiding the corner posts of the entryway is an effort in communication on the ground and to the crane operator.

Find the Beetle: Greenwich, CT

Our craftsmen are raising the frame for a large timber frame central hall for a project with Kurpinski Builder. Each timber has a multistep custom finish and a few have needed to be ‘persuaded’ into place. The best tool of the trade for this? The trusty wooden beetle mallet wielded here with gusto and precision by Matt.

matt h timber framer with beetle

A Family Retreat on Canandaigua Lake: Designing Spaces

When we last visited Dan & Laurie’s project on Canandaigua Lake, Pete, one of our design group architects and the design leader for the home, walked us through the site planning. I nabbed Pete again, this time to take a look inside the project at the design considerations for creating the layout and formal floor plans.

Lakeside Family RetreatJust like last time, Pete made a quick inquiry about little orange fish crackers. I had to let him down softly; I had nothing. Looking disappointed for a beat, he moved on reminding me that Dan & Laurie’s site overlooked the lake and came with strict site constraints (not uncommon to building near water) including height restrictions, erosion/sediment concerns, setbacks, and more. He explained that the constraints drove the overall siting of the house and garage, but there were still the interior spaces (and floor plan) to negotiate.

“Dan and Laurie’s project is meant to be a multi-generational home that will act as a central gathering spot for family and friends. Overall the home has an open floor plan with the public spaces centralized on both the main and lower levels which can easily accommodate larger gatherings. Balancing that are private spaces on the ends of the home which allow folks the opportunity to enjoy their quiet space or step inwards to join the party.”

Canandaigua lake home timber frame hybrid floor plan

I was curious about what techniques are used to create a division of space in open floor plans, particularly when the same flooring flows throughout the level. “Great question—we like to make psychological breaks to take the place of walls in open floor plans. Although this project is a hybrid using timber frame and traditional construction, the public spaces fall under the core timber frame. We used the main carrying beams, a bigger timber, to bring visual and physical weight and delineate the great room, kitchen, and dining areas. The great room is also vaulted while the dining and kitchen spaces have flat ceilings. The kitchen island provides a further break between food preparation zones and the dining room,” Pete explained.

timber frame kitchen and great room new energy works

“One less common trait in this home is a single point of entry from the garage and parking areas. Without a dedicated breezeway or mudroom, the goal was to welcome visitors and inhabitants through a cleaner entryway in a style more traditional to guest-only entryways. We designed a lower volume with a flat ceiling softened by lifted timber common rafters, which draw the eye through the entry space to the great room and expanse of windows beyond. There is still a need for organizational spaces…a place to take off shoes, a laundry room…We “hid” these just off the entryway, branching to the right beyond a wing wall and screened behind a pocket door,” continued Pete.

canandaigua timber home new energy works entry

View of the entry door.

entry to canandaigua hybrid timber home

View from the entry.

Given the location of the home, I wanted to know about the views. “Below the curved bottom chord king post trusses, glass wraps the frame at close to ninety-degree angles. You can see through the corners resulting in a nearly 180-degree view of the lake. It’s pretty neat,” Pete obliged.

How about solar heat gain? “Always a consideration,” Pete agreed. “There is morning sun only because the room faces Southeast over the lake. Other windows throughout the home are covered by large overhangs and exterior roofs, so the gain won’t be significant there.”

interior canandaigua lake great room timber frame new energy works

“Oh, also about exterior decks and views—we aim to keep them from wrapping the great room because views are more enjoyable when uninterrupted. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like a piecemeal view broken by slats of a deck railing.”

I recalled that in our previous conversation Pete had stressed a desire to have the house set into the land, as part of the land, rather than perched on it. I asked how that impacted the interior light in the lower-level. “Whenever we have spaces under grade we make every effort to bring natural light to as many sides of the space as possible. Dan and Laurie’s home has light on three sides and includes lake views; it’s a pretty good situation. We gave the stairwell carefully consideration and arranged it in an “L” within a rectangular opening so plenty of western light could spill through to the lower-level family room. Plus, we made every effort to eliminate soffits, carefully planning and utilizing open web trusses—this way the lower-level ceiling height remains constant and the space feels more inviting and comfortable.

timber frame lower level stairs new energy works

“Going back to private spaces, the master suite has a vestibule. It is one of those planned rooms that helps create further division from the more public areas. There’s also a private deck accessible only from the master bedroom. The in-law suite is situated down a hallway off the entry, giving it the feeling of a private branch separate from the main core of the home. We know Laurie’s folks are excited about the suite. While we were raising the exterior timber components and decks, they pointed out the timbers going up on their corner exclaiming to onlookers ‘That’s our bedroom!’,Pete smiled broadly, “Their excitement was infectious.”

exterior timber frame raising new energy works

“The lower-level is also the space for guests. A bedroom, a bunk room, a family room, and what we’re calling a lake bathroom. It will be the spot to stop prior to journeying into the rest of the house after a swim or a visit to the shore.”

Giving Pete thanks for the information, I sent him off with a piece of spearmint gum (the best I could do in lieu of orange fish crackers).

Further into this summer, Laurie and Dan’s project will be complete. We’ll share a bit on the interior design and have plenty of finished images for you then. Thanks for joining this journey! If you’d like to see other projects we’ve general contracted, visit our Case Studies. And to learn more about our teams, visit Meet our People.