NZEB House Passive house - Events - Presentation of wooden houses

Open House event at the House by the Lake - presentation of the Premium Passive House on timberframe structure

On 25 November, the House by the Lake opened its doors to visitors. The event Open house - House by the lake was organised by Revista din Lemn in partnership with Litarh, the builder of the house. It was a meeting that brought together many interested parties, despite the cold and rainy weather. And no wonder since the house is Passive Premium, the first and only timber frame house in the country so certified. Daniela and Ion Iosif were kind enough to open the house to those interested in building correctly and energy efficiently, Ion generously sharing his experience as a true project manager, which you can find described at length here. The event was attended, in addition to the builder, by many of those who contributed to this achievement. The enjoyable and relaxed meeting often took on the appearance of a real seminar, with the questions being well researched and the answers backed up with technical data and even graphs and sketches.

Who were invited to tell their stories and answer questions

To get to certify a Premium Passive House it is necessary for all those involved to work together. The architect, the structural engineer, the builder, the material suppliers, the site manager, the inspector, the certifier must work together, collaborate and coordinate so that each stage of the work is carried out very well. This is why most of those who contributed to the construction were invited to the event:

  • Raluca Munteanu (Arhimede Studio) - architecture project
  • Cătălin Caraza (Creative Engineering) - structure project
  • Vlad Liteanu (Litarh - wooden houses) - the builder
  • Ovidiu Țifui (Ecoinstal IT Consult) - design/installation of thermal installations
  • Cătălin Pentre (Kulttur) - execution/installation of windows and doors
  • Stelian Stavarache (S.Y.S PRO Construct) - foundation, sheet metal covering, photovoltaic system installation
  • Horia Petran (INCERC) - Blower Door test
  • Adriana Sîngeap (BIA-architect) - documentation and follow-up of works in view of certification

Unfortunately, Cătălin Caraza was unable to attend due to an overlap with an event in Brasov. Cristina Tarțău, an architect specialising in passive houses with Creative Engineering, came in his place.

Challenges successfully overcome

We, as event organizers, had two big challenges: the event was held in an inhabited house and the weather. As the house is not very big we had to limit the number of participants. Because there were so many people wanting to attend, there were two groups at different times. In order not to take up the whole day and because Ovidiu Țifui was going to give a presentation in the second part of the day at nZEB Week at the Laminor Arena, the start time was 9. We scheduled the first group from 9.00 to 10.30 and the second from 10.30 to 12.00. Unfortunately, Ovidiu could not participate in the second part. The disappointment of the guests was even greater when they discovered that he was accompanied by George Buhnici, the first person to build a passive house in Romania and the first source of inspiration for Ion. George couldn't stay either, also due to commitments at the fair.

The second challenge was the weather. Saturday 25 November was a cold and rainy day. Although everyone had RSVP'd in the evening, we were convinced that many would not make it. Not only was this not the case, but some came accompanied, and the number of participants was higher than originally announced. Despite the rain, the Joseph House was attended by couples eager to build efficient houses, as well as architects and designers who came to learn as much as possible from the experience of the owner and those involved.

Lots of information in a relaxed, friendly setting

The very welcoming hosts provided a pleasant setting for discussion, allowed access to most of the house, answered all questions, including uncomfortable ones about costs. The family's spacious enclosed terrace was the place where the presentation began, with each of the guests talking about the challenges of the project, unique situations, working with the rest of the team. There were many questions and informed answers. Ion was very open, even happy to present the house he is more than happy with.

Then came the tour of the house, which is not only passive but also smart. The attraction was the technical room, the real control centre of the house. Everything can be adjusted and tracked from the phone, there are all sorts of backups to backup so the house runs in maximum safety. A visual element of effect, appreciated by everyone, was the lighting of the staircase leading to the attic. The frosted light that appears somehow from under the stairs gradually turns on and off as you go up or down the stairs.

Also admired was the marble-like epoxy flooring. The hosts told how they poured it themselves, despite having zero experience. It was the best choice given that the heating is in the floor and the resin has the best heat transfer coefficient. If the heat comes from below, the cold air comes from above, from the ceiling. But it's all so finely tuned that there's no draught, no temperature difference no matter where you are in the house.

Ion, master of ceremonies

Ion was always on fire, explaining, answering questions, justifying his choices. He did it for both groups, always tireless, the event going on well past 2pm, well beyond the advertised time. I had a feeling that if there had been a third group, there would have been no problem, Ion becoming more and more voluble as the early jitters passed.

Despite her reserved and emotional manner, Daniela was continuously in the midst of the guests, answering questions and telling how the experience was from her point of view. She was a perfect, attentive host, making us all feel very welcome.

Event Open house - House by the lake was very much appreciated, both because of the openness and information shared by Ion and the willingness of those who helped make the Josephs' dream come true. The Wood Magazine documented the whole project for more than 2 years, making more than 10 videos and numerous articles. All the videos, from the installation of the house's footing to the certification and the move into the house can be found on roadulsprecasă.ro.

About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

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