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Lets Get Thatchin’!

With two weeks left to go on the project, there is still a huge amount of work to do on site. The timber frame structure of entry structure has been completed which meant it was finally time to begin covering it with the reeds that were so diligently cleaned and bundled earlier on in the course. There was a lot of effort put into this before we could even picture the structure that they would cover so to see them find their final resting place is awesome. The bundles are laid in courses onto the strapping that has been applied to the timber framing and then zip-tied into place. Each tie has to be threaded through the previous courses of the thatch which was a challenge. Long days were spent by team members separated by the reeds lovingly passing the ties back and forth but the outcome will be worth the effort.

It was also really great to see some paints beginning to appear on the interior and exterior of the building. The milk and mineral paints will cover the prefab panels as well as the lime and earthen plasters. That is a tall order given the area involved and the number of coats required so we will see how much will actually get covered before we leave at the end of the month but we’re certainly hoping to have some colour in time for the opening in a couple of weeks.

The lighting team had long ago installed boxes for fixtures that were eventually to be installed but since then there has been little to discuss. The boxes have been wired by our electrical team with some guidance and assistance from Orville and his trusty team. Now the time has come to actually make some decisions and purchases after investigating the thousands of options available to us. Since we will be using mostly LED bulbs, we are hoping to pick fixtures that will display highlight this technology. We chose the stainless hanging pendant lights above for the twelve main down lights as well as the two foyer lights. Track lighting was purchased for the display lighting located near walls where art and other exciting features will require highlighting. Some LED pucks were chosen to illuminate the window boxes that have yet to be designed and completed, and motion sensing LED’s will be installed around the exterior of the building to serve as a security feature.

As mentioned in last week’s journal, the lime plastering continued this week with the exterior of the south side receiving its second and final treatment. Because of the weather, a.k.a. the arrival of the summer finally, the entire wall needed to be kept tarped to avoid premature drying which would result in unsightly cracking. We also kept the wall nice and moist to make sure it accepting the plaster properly and a strong bond was created. You may also notice in the picture that the walls were left very rough and scored after the first coat to help with that bonding process. It was a bit of a sauna under those tarps but it was nice to get a sweat going after some of the chilly weather we’ve had this summer.

Above you can see some of the progress being made on the constructed wetland that will treat grey water before it enters the septic system that was still, unfortunately, required by code. As untreated water enters one end of the wetland it will force water to leave the other end after it has passed through the root systems and various friendly microscopic critters that will do the dirty work of treating the water. It is terrific to have this system included in the building, especially since it will be so visible to visitors. This technology is really beginning to gain momentum as a larger scale option for water treatment, thanks in part to the department at Fleming College that is doing a lot of research and testing on it. They also assisted our resident new expert Jason on it’s design and installation.

This week also marked the closing in of our building envelope for the most part. Doors and window were flying into their frames all over the place which is a huge step towards the finished product. Once they are installed the hempcrete crew will once again get mixing in order to fill the gaps left between the top of the line, uber efficient windows and doors and the walls that house them. It’s not really useful to worry about the insulation of the walls and doors if the gaps around them end up being massive thermal breaks. Instead of opting for spray foam and the volatile organic compounds that come with it, the hempcrete will be used to insulate these areas.