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Interlock House

Concrete Sinks

By Tim Lentz, 2009-08-19 15:03:31

Concrete sink with embedded recycled glass

Hello all, as you may have noticed, Eric is filling in the gaps when I drop the ball with posting images.  I think he's doing a good job of it too.  I hope you're all enjoying a second perspective on the house.  Anyhow, I'm back in the game.  Here we see the bathroom sink.  The sink (as well as the kitchen sink and counter) is made from concrete instead of some cheap laminated wood product.  Concrete acts as thermal mass, which helps mitigate temperature swings within the house.  This will reduce the need for the heating and cooling systems to cycle on and off.   Also, the specks you see are actually recycled glass pieces.  They add interesting patterns and colors to the sink while reusing materials. The sinks/counters are nice examples of design details that integrate thermal performance and sustainable/reused materials while still fulfilling the original purpose of the feature (holding water).

HVAC is go

By Eric Berkson, 2009-08-18 09:00:38

Tim Lentz prepares to flip the main HVAC disconnect.

This photo was taken last Friday. In it we see Project Engineer Tim Lentz flipping the switch on the house's main HVAC disconnect. Everything worked like a charm and we had air conditioning flowing into the house in short order. Special thanks to the people at Thompson Electric and C & K Heating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing who helped ensure that our systems came on without a hitch.

Interior Shots

By Eric Berkson, 2009-08-13 22:53:39

August 13th, 2009 looking into the kitchen

I've had a few people e-mail me wanting to know what's going on inside the house. Unfortunately for various reasons I am unable to move the webcam inside of the house; so we'll have to rely on photos. I promise to post more in the upcoming days.

Also, to those of you, who have sent us e-mail, thank you. We love hearing your thoughts, and even if we do not respond right away I promise we read all of them. If you want to let us know what you think, drop us a line at

Anyways, in this photo we're looking into the kitchen on the east side of the house. As you can see we have mudded the drywall and are now putting on the finishing touches. Special thanks are due to the people at Iowa State's Facilities Planning and Management Department who came out to help and let us use some of their equipment.


Velux Skylights

By Eric Berkson, 2009-08-13 22:23:11

Skylights illuminating the Interlock House's sunporch

Hello all,

For those of you who check regularly you've probably noticed that we haven't been posting photos as frequently as we used too. Unfortunately Tim has been very busy in the last two weeks as we are now installing all of the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems in the house, so I figured I would step in to fill the gap for a while.

In this photo we can see the skylights which are installed above the sunporch. They were installed several weeks ago but I don't believe that we had posted any photos until this point. The skylights are interesting because they are an important component in the passive design of our house. During the winter months daylight enters the sunporch and is absorbed as heat into the tile / cement board floors. Throughout the day this heat is radiated back into the house reducing the overall demand on the HVAC system. At this point you may be asking: what happens during the summer months when the heat isn't needed? Well, that's where the NanaWall and tracking louvers come into play. We are currently fabricating a system of adjustable louvers to cover up the skylights; allowing a resident to control the amount of light entering the sunporch, especially during the summer months. Additionally, the NanaWall surrounding the sunporch (photo here) can be opened to the exterior allowing heat to escape to the outside.


Major sponsors Iowa State University U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory