Archive Monthly Archives: November 2013


November 18, 2013

About 80 people toured Midori Haus last weekend during the International Passive House Days.  There were many insightful comments and questions from the guests about energy usage, heating system, cost, and many more.  One question visitors asked me several times was about Paperstone, our choice of countertop material.  When people asked the question, “Can you put hot things on it?  Will it leave a mark?” I could not answer it because I didn’t know.  Frankly, I was too chicken to try it out.

A few nights ago I remembered that we have a piece of Paperstone cutting board tucked under the sink and thought, “Well, if this one gets burnt from an experiment I won’t feel bad because it’s hidden most of the time anyway.”  Below I will share with you the photos from my experiment.

This is the piece of paperstone cutting board I will use for my test.  Notice there are no marks.

I’m using a cast iron skillet to cook chard at high temperature.  Notice the number “9” on the induction cooktop and the steam under the cover.

Now for the test.  The hot skillet is placed on the paperstone.  To give the skillet the maximum opportunity to make a mark I left the hot skillet on the Paperstone cutting board for 20 minutes.

Voila!  No mark on Paperstone cutting board.  Now I won’t worry about putting hot items directly on my countertop.

Passive House Days: November 9 & 10

November 3, 2013

We invite you to visit Midori Haus, the first Passive House in Santa Cruz County during the 2013 International Passive House Days.  

9-November-2013 (Sat)  1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
10-November-2013 (Sun)  1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

See the tour flyer for details.

What is Midori Haus?   Midori
Haus is an example of how
a 90-year old building can be both beautiful and ultra energy efficient.  We kept the original footprint of the
3-bedroom, 2-bathroom California bungalow originally built in 1922.  During 2012 it was retrofitted to
Passive House standards with the aim to combine extreme energy efficiency and
comfort of Passive House with the aesthetics of Arts and Crafts style.

What is Passive House? 
Passive Houses stay
at a comfortable temperature year round with minimal energy inputs.  Buildings make efficient use of the sun
and heat recovery so that conventional heating systems are unnecessary.  The materials and systems are modeled
to a stringent performance standard using PHPP (energy modeling software) that
aims to limit the annual  energy
demand for primary heating and cooling of the house 15 kWh/m2   (1.4kWh/ft2
or 4.75kBtu/ft2) per year. 
This energy target is about 80% less than what  conventional homes use for heating and cooling.