Lead carpenters attend Seattle building science seminar and tour Dan Whitmore’s Seattle Passive House

Fourteen Hammer & Hand leads and supervisors dive into building science in Seattle.

Since Hammer & Hand’s inception, the company has steadily built a cadre of career carpenters with the chops to deliver craftsmanship at the highest level.  This dual dedication to the employee and to craft has enabled us to thrive even in the midst of tough times for the construction industry.

Today, we see a fundamental sea change underway in that industry.  With increasing awareness of buildings’ energy consumption, the development (albeit slow) of more and more stringent building energy codes, and the emergence of powerful green building approaches like the Living Building Challenge and Passive House, people expect better performance from their buildings.

As this demand has evolved so has Hammer & Hand’s vision, creating a new, tripartite focus for the company: employee, craft, building science.  The home performance retrofits we conduct and the Passive House projects we build manifest this new dedication, as does leadership in Passive House Alliance US and Passive House Northwest.  But there’s also a deeper, less overt evolution going on at Hammer & Hand as building science best practice begins to permeate everything we do.  And the development of our carpenters as expert practitioners of applied building science is central to it all.

To this end, fourteen of Hammer & Hand’s lead carpenters and supervisors completed today an intensive course on building science taught in Seattle by the nationally-renowned gurus from the Building Science Corporation.  Dr. Joseph Lstiburek and Dr. John Straube taught the crew about the design and construction of low-energy enclosures, advanced HVAC systems, and strategies to control heat, air, moisture, and indoor air quality in the buildings we construct.

Seattle Passive House

After a long day of learning, the Hammer & Hand crew gathered last night at Seattle Project Manager Dan Whitmore’s Courtland Place Passive House, the first and only Passive House in Seattle.  We were joined by Mike Kernagis of Passive House Institute US, Markus Kolb of Whitney Architecture, Rob Harrison of Harrison Architects, Pete Chramiec of Bicycle Home Building Company, Philip Channard of Channard & Sons Construction, and Joe Giampietro of JohnsonBraund Inc.


Seattle building science and Passive House.
Dan and Sam gave a guided tour of the home and the high performance assemblies and systems that make it tick.  A rich (if geeky) exchange ensued with reflections on the day’s teaching, real-world examples from Dan’s Passive House, and much note-comparing with the high performance building assemblies and strategies being employed at Hammer & Hand’s current projects

Deepening engagement with advanced building science.  Expansion to Seattle.  A host of new collaborations with clients and designers.  Exciting times at Hammer & Hand…

– Zack (Connect with me at +ZacharySemke)

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