DER on Our Office Here in West Chesterfield

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We’re starting our next phase “deep energy retrofit” on our old mill building here on the Westfield River in West Chesterfield.

For the first phase, it was clear as we started demolition that the timbers were too rotted and the old stone foundation was collapsing. As much as we are committed to saving and retrofitting old buildings, that part of the mill was too damaged to save and we had to rebuild. For this phase, we will focus on the old shop which still has a pretty sound timber frame structure and beautiful old floors and ceilings.

shop interior DER 640Our biggest challenge is retrofitting to airtight, super-insulated standards, but doing it in a way that would allow everything to dry out after flooding occurs. This is a challenge that coastal areas in the Northeast are facing more with rising sea levels and potentially more hurricane activity. Hurricane Irene showed us a glimpse of just how much water can move through our sleepy holler down here. We were fortunate the rain tapered off the following afternoon as the water was rising fast and already 7 feet high in the lower level.

Goals moving forward

  • Make the building extremely structurally sound
  • Air seal completely around the shell
  • Super-insulate the entire shell
  • Construct all systems to enable drying
  • Install high-performance windows and doors that retain the historic aesthetic of the mill
  • Only use materials, interior and exterior, that can dry after saturation while retaining all values
  • Install high efficient heating system

shop exter DER 640