Northmen Zero Waste Wooden Home
Designed, engineered and crafted by our master carpenters. Northmen wooden home is built as a massive timber frame house with time tested mortice and tenon joinery locked with white oak pegs. In the house making process we use only massive single piece timbers harvested by a lunar calendar not using any modern glued beams or boards. The house is built only from natural materials - wood, clay, stone, bricks and lime. All the wood shavings from building process - planing boards and timbers - are used into the walls as an insulation layer. These resinful pine shavings have been used for 100 years before modern insulation materials appeared and has proven to destroy all the myths and scepticism flowing around them.
Download house plan versions (.pdf)
Download 3D model (.skp/.dae)
Download technical data info (.pdf)
The Northmen house characteristics are
- Zero waste
- Zero concrete
- Zero plastic and rubber
- Zero modern toxic glues
- Zero chemical paints
- Zero allergic
-Zero modern steel fasteners
- Zero further maintenance
- Hurricane resistant
- 4 meters of roof snow load resistance (for northern climate)
- Extra strong traditional joinery
- Earthquake resistant up to 8.0 magnitude on Richter scale.
- Low energy consumtption and heating costs
- 100% made of natural materials
- 400 years warranty
Winter moon wood
Austrian wood engineer and forester Mr. Ervin Thoma based on his research has scientifically proven wood molecular difference based on the time when it is harvested. Main living ingredient (just like in every being) of a growing tree is water. Every tree daily transports huge amounts of water. During winter time in the mountains and northern regions there is a term - that wood prepares for “winter sleep”. The tree grows very slowly in that period. The wood knows that winter and freeze is coming and that it must leave only little bit of water inside for it’s cells to survive during that period, otherwise it’s cells will explode. Just like when you leave water in a glass bottle to freeze - the bottle will explode and break... In very cold winter nights when temperature outside drops to -25-35C you can hear in the forest cracking explosive sounds - these are sounds coming especially from the birch trees but from also coniferus - where the water in the wood cells freeze to the level it explodes the cells and it cracks.
Our ancestors new the rhythms of a nature and knew all about wood more than modern knowledge and science can tell us. By harvesting wood in a cold winter months from December till January they also paid attention to the moon phases - always harvesting trees in the old moon when it is waning. You can do this test by harvesting two trees growing one by another - one in the old and one in the new moon and leave it in the forest from January till July on the ground. One pine tree will have bark beetle eating it and it will start to mold and have blue stain the other harvested in old moon will still remain fresh and untouched.
Timber harvested by old moon does not contain that much water, sugars and biological ingredients as the water is diamagnetic in liquid form and due to the moon’s electromagnetic connection to the sun and the earth it regulates water amount and consistence in all living organisms. Every old man knows that firewood needs to be cut in the old moon - to get it dried sooner. The same with the wood for construction - logs or timber dry faster (consisting less water), are more stable and they do not need any chemical treatment to protect them from mold and fungal attacks.
In our Northmen house we use timber harvested by old moon in winter time from our forests that are managed by doing only selective cuts (not clearcuts) and we replant twice as more trees than we fell. Wood is a renewable resource. Once Northmen house reaches 100 years mark - all of the trees used in the building will grow back and will be ready for the next house.
Northmen house design is based on Fibonacci rectangle or golden rectangle with 1.618 ratio proportion. The ratio of the sizes of DNA was measured at 1.619, virtually the same as the Fibonacci golden ratio at 1.618 ratio proportion. Fibonacci sequence is based on mathematical proportions of forms in nature, such as human ear, sea shell, sunflower, hurricanes, egg, snail, cone, fingerprint
Northmen house has zero concrete/cement concept as the foundations are masonry stone/reclaimed brick posts that are masoned with lime mortar, rye flour and wood ash addition reviving traditional recipe how all the old castles were masoned.
The biggest mistake people are doing once building a home is to pour tons of concrete into the ground with no reason as only having a massive unventilated foundation (especially for wooden and wood frame houses). This is the problem of thinking and following the path what the masses and modern construction examples take. People loose big money that way and harm nature and earth. Many hundred years people have built their barns, living houses, storage houses just on a stone posts. In Norway it is still common to build log houses on a ventilated stone foundations. The eldest wooden houses in our country are still standing from 15th century is old grain storage houses which were raised quite high above the ground on the granite stone foundations allowing grain to ventilate and dry and avoid any possibility of mold. Disconnecting floor from ground is the key reason for wooden house to last hundreds of years and avoid any mold or fungus attacks or further damage from the moisture of the ground layer.
Walls and the roof are 20 and 22” thick making this house low in energy consumption. All the beams used in the wall are thick and solid and all the joinery is hand cut mortice and tenon joints locked with white oak pegs. As well as dovetail joints in the corners and for the braces.
2”x4” modern stick frame nailed prefabricated homes have proven their weakness once faced to strong wind and natural disasters. Walls must be heavy and solid to be able to call them strong walls. Wall natural construction and insulation in our Northmen home meets passive house standards. House has zero plastic in its construction as the vapour travels through the wall and there is no condensation point even if the outside temperature gets below -30C. Wood in any form does not collect moisture but absorbs it and extracts it. because it is a hygroscopic material. It has natural tendency to get dry. Only modern insulation materials such as mineral wool once wet never gets dry. That’s why it is a rule to wrap such insulated houses in a plastic from inside and live in unhealthy environment.
Thick walls and roof are the key for warmth in the winter and the coolness and freshness in summer as the sun and heat can not get through the wall from outside. So this house is suitable for all climatic zones - south, mediterranean and north. To ensure that wind pressure can not blow through the walls - the exterior layer before ventilated facade are 2” thick natural wood fibre plate which will also give an extra insulation layer and regulate the moisture content in the wall.
The wall is designed to break the thermal bridges by putting perpendicular the main vertical studs in the frame opposite horizontal 2“x4” beams.
Every roofing material is the other key for a lifespan of a natural wooden house and for every house. We use natural slate roof tiles fixed with copper nails. Slate roof lasts a long time and there is no further maintenance needed.
Roof is also the main place where all the heat from the house by the laws of nature and physics tends to go therefore the roof is 500mm (21”) thick that sits on a massive timber frame truss with purlins making this 40 degree roof capable to resist huge snow loads - up to 4 meters (13ft) of snow.
Wood shawing insulation - destroying the myths
Myth Nr1. Bad insulation properties.
Based on recent German scientifically research the thermal insulation value of pine wood shavings in fraction of 4-8mm compressed to density of 70-80 kg per m3 has lambda value of 0.04 W/2MK. Too rough and thick shavings without compression installed in the wall has indeed not so good insulation properties. As well hardwood shavings such as an oak or ash has also worse insulation properties than pine shavings.
Myth Nr2. It settles during time and leaves gaps in the walls.
The key is - wood shawings must be dry - at least 8-12% of moisture and they must be compressed as the compressed materials tend to expand no to settle. Based on the same German research wood shawings 12% dry once compressed to density of 70-80 kg per m3 has zero settling after 5 years of being into the wall.
Myth Nr3. The rodents - rat and mice loves to live in shawings.
Pine has huge amount of resin in it and it extracts smell of turpentine what the mice does not like. As well mice and rats can not make their nests in the material what is poring down on them - so it distracts them.
Myth Nr4. Fire hazard.
Even brick and stone houses burn during fire. Fire once started takes control very fast over everything. Clay plaster from the inside gives the wall fires resistance and burnt cladding boards from outside.
After inspecting the house we built 7 years ago with such an insulation we made following conclusions:
There was no evidence for settling for any mm in 3 meter wall
No trace of rodents
Shavings are clean and dry
Windows - modern engineering, traditional design
Until nowadays windows were the main part where all the heat loss of the house goes. By joining modern engineering and natural materials it is possible to build a window without thermal bridges and that works as a solar energy collector in in the heating season and in the summer the selective Low E glass coating reflects the sunlight.
In our Northmen home project there are 14 windows that is a big amount of area. Our windows are historic style passive house windows originally engineered in Germany and carefully crafted by our window makers using wood, wood fibre in the window frame and triple layer glass reaching the window and frame U value of 0.06 W2MK.
Windows have natural felt membranes made of sheep wool replacing modern plastic membranes.
Self sufficient natural heating
This house comes with modular volcanic stone chimney and it will have two Finnish soapstone or matte clay oven tile masonry wood powered ovens. Finnish soapstone is famous with it’s properties of superb heat accumulation capabilities. As the suggested planning is open space planning - one oven will be installed in the living area and the other one - opposite side of the chimney - in the kitchen area. Kitchen and living room ovens will be connected so that they can provide the hot water with water pipes installed inside them. Both wood powered ovens will take very small amount of wood to heat the house. Only the smaller kitchen cooking oven will be capable to ensure enough heat in the house during winter months..
Fresh air, ventilation and natural air conditioner
Northmen house will have very simple and efficient fresh air and ventilation system replacing very advanced modern recuperation systems. There will be installed a pipe - dog out 2.5 meters in the ground. 50 meters away from the house there will be air intake source. Once the air travels underground in winter time it heats up to the ground temperature +4C degrees and incomes in the house by the oven. Once the oven is powered it heats up the fresh air. In summer time this system ensures that warm air travels underground and cools down to +6C degrees and cool fresh air is being delivered to the house. Modern recuperator systems are dependent on electricity and consumes it while conflicting with the overall idea of having low energy passive house. The air exchange will be secured with one part of a chimney using as a ventilation post.
Exterior wooden board cladding - zero maintenance and fireproof
We offer two options for exterior board cladding. Traditional board and batten rough sawn board cladding painted with black Swedish natural paint (light grey, dark grey or black) consisting of iron ore, linseed oil and rye flour. Another option is Japanese Traditional way of preserving the wood using fire Shou Sugi Ban/Yakisugi - making the boards covered in charcoal and soaked with pine tar/turpentine and Tung oil mixture while they are hot. This treatment makes not only cladding to last forever and asks for no further maintenance (repainting, oiling e.t.c.) but also makes house fireproof from outside and this is important for the regions with high wildfire risk.
On the walls we will use natural clay plaster. Clay is antibacterial, antistatic and helps to regulate climate indoors and absorbs the light very smooth. It also makes the walls fireproof from inside of the house and works as a vapour membrane itself.
Should the wall “breathe” or no?
Many modern home builders and scientists laugh when hearing term “breathable wall” opposing it saying that wall should not breathe - but the ventilation system should ensure air exchange. True - but they talk about houses wrapped in double or triple plastic with synthetic and toxic formaldehyde glue based Orientated Stand Boards and foam or mineral insulation. Yes, this type of wall does not breathe at all. It is like saying that human being is breathing only through his nose and mouth trying to disprove the fact that we are breathing also through the skin pores. And what happens if we wrap ourselves with plastic? Or try to live in plastic bag? We will die very soon. The same is with the wood. It is natural material that has pores, small cracks and it is capable to be part of the living environment and making the house as a living organism that extracts water condensation and overall regulates the perfect microclimate in our daily life and takes care of our health.
The Northmen house price is 1500 EUR per sqm* and it includes the following.
- 185 sqm living area including full 2nd floor with 2 bedrooms or 140 sqm living area with open
cathedral ceiling in the living room + loft over half of the first floor.
- Hand-made massive main northern pine timber frame - sill frame, wall frames, window frames, roof trusses with ridge beam, purlins and rafters.
- Natural wood fibre plates for walls and roof 50mm and 35mm thick.
- Dry pine wood shawing insulation for floor and wall insulation.
- Exterior cladding boards - Sou Sugin Ban/Yakisugi or black Swedish iron ore and rye flour paint
- 14 pc double frame passive house historical wooden windows with total 4 glass layers and Low E coating
- 6 pc triple glazed windows for veranda/orangerie with Low E coating.
- 1 pc triple glazed veranda doors.
- Live edge pine ceiling boards
- Steico Flex Wood Fibre Wool 240mm and 50mm insulation for roof.
- 1 pc special insulated entrance wooden door (120 mm thick) made by passive house standards
- 2” (50mm) thick 12” (300mm) wide tapered pine* floor boards covered with Hardwax oil.
*Ash or Oak can be chosen for flooring materials but that will be an extra cost
- Clay plaster
- Natural limewash and marble paint for wall finish on clay plaster.
- Modular volcanic stone chimney
- Recycled clay bricks for separating wall in the 1st floor
- Interior walls - wall frames, sound insulation.
- Massive oak or ash staircase to the 2nd floor
- Finnish soapstone or clay tile cooking oven and main oven with glass doors attached to the water heating system
- Electricity connections
- Water income and plumbing connections
- Pipes for ventilation
- Slate roof tiles 250x400mm and copper nails.
- Attic/entrance, terrace for veranda
- Masonry foundation posts
- Assembly/finishing costs
In the price is not included:
- Transportation costs
- Bathroom - bath, toilet, sink.
- Flooring material for the bathroom
- Crane, special equipment for assembly
- Ground preparing costs for foundations - gravel, rubble stone, sand, excavator, labour.
- Trenches for connections - water, electricity, plumbing, air/ventilation.