The PRODUCTS high-performance demonstration home in Mt Rainier, Md., is off and running, with the completion of foundation slab pour and the commencement of deck framing.
A startup founded by Nicole Tysvaer and Matt Kulp, Symbi Homes aims to reinvent single-family home design and construction with an emphasis on wellness, energy-efficiency, and technology. Tysvaer says key features of the SYMBI duplex, and in fact all future SYMBI homes, will include air and water filtration, a highly insulated pre-fabricated shell, and ongoing home performance monitoring.
The project is off to a fast start. After razing a decrepit single-family home in an established neighborhood just outside the boundary of Washington, the builder excavated the site for footers and prepped for traditional cast-in-place foundation walls. Once rough plumbing for waste drains, water, and future bathroom foundation walls was completed, it was time to focus on the foundation slab.
In some ways, the poured concrete foundation will be relatively conventional. But in other ways, the developers did not use a typical process used by most new home builders.
“As part of our Symbi upgrades to meet and exceed Net Zero Ready certification requirements, we included R10 rigid foam insulation under the slab around the exterior perimeter of the building,” Tysvaer says. “Also, in the rear areas where the slab was on grade, we included both horizontal and vertical insulation. It’s such a simple, inexpensive upgrade, but can make a big difference in preventing heat loss in the winter and condensation from warm humid air in the summer.”
The builders also are adding a special details to help keep water away from the home and to handle the water that does make it to the foundation wall.
“Managing rainwater runoff is an important aspect of sustainability—both in terms of protecting the long-term integrity of the foundation, as well as being a good steward of the environment,” Tysvaer explains. “To that end, our Symbi Duplex One foundation includes an additional layer of dimpled drain board installed over the waterproofing spray. We also removed 65 truckloads of dense clay from the property and brought in quality, compactible backfill soil, and we will be creating a swale to slow runoff and divert drainage away from the foundation.”
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Consisting of two side-by-side attached dwellings, the SYMBI Duplex will each measure 2,260 square feet of above-ground heated living space and 950 square feet of finished basement/in-law suite with separate entrance. Each will feature five bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, a universally designed first floor guest suite, and a two-car off-street parking space per unit.
Next week, the framing crew will begin framing for the first floor deck with sill plate, I-joist, and first floor OSB tongue-and-groove subfloor. And the wall framing begins with Structural insulated panels, a high-performance building panel that consist of two sheets of OSB and a layer of rigid expanded polystyrene or extruded polystyrene foam insulation in between.