Check it out: the Christianson passive house was published in Green Building & Design Magazine!

Single Family – Honorable Mention: Christianson Passive House in Corvallis, Oregon

The Christianson Passive House is a 1,935-square-foot single family home. By reducing energy using Passive House design, G. Christianson Construction was able to install enough solar panels to become net zero. The project’s carbon footprint is one-fifth that of a typical house built in Oregon of the same size.

CPHC®: Win Swafford, Jan Fillinger
PHIUS Certified Builder: Carl Christianson, G. Christianson Construction
PHIUS+ Rater: Ryan Shanahan, CPHC®, Earth Advantage
PHIUS+2015, PHIUS+ Source Zero Certified


G. Christianson Construction is proud to have won two Earth Advantage Builder of the Year awards, which recognize achievements in sustainable & energy efficient construction practices: Lowest EPS® Score & Zero Energy!

As an Earth Advantage builder, G. Christianson Construction entered the first PHIUS certified passive house in Corvallis, Oregon. We completed this passive house in 2016, incorporating a variety of systems & materials to create superior energy efficiency and indoor air quality, as well as being environmentally responsible.

This custom home was built to use 70% less energy than a code built home per the world’s most rigorous Passive House standard. It achieves this by very limited infiltration, thermal bridge free construction techniques, super insulation, and heat recovery ventilation. Its 12” thick walls boast an R-value of 51.8, obtained with 2” of cork insulation over BIBS wall insulation. The 32” thick roof has an R-value of 102.4, while the 17” thick floor has an R-value of 63.9. High efficiency doors and triple paned windows, contribute to its energy efficiency. It also has 8.25 kW solar panels, Energy Star appliances, and natural daylighting to keep its energy bills low. A typical Oregon home of a similar size built to code would have a carbon footprint between 19.1 to 20.6 tons of carbon dioxide per yr.; this home has a carbon footprint of 4.0 tons per year before the solar array, which brings it down to 0 tons of carbon monoxide. The home was computer modeled to make sure it met PHIUS energy requirements. By adding solar panels on the garage this home is Net-Zero energy usage.

Indoor air quality has a huge role in overall health. Where possible, this home has eco-friendly building materials that off-gas fewer harmful chemicals. Its ventilation system not only prevents heat loss, but also reduces airborne contaminates, reducing the chances of health risks like allergies, asthma, and more serious health detriments.

During the construction of this home the landscape was taken into consideration as well. Practices to promote healthy landscapes were implemented. Erosion was minimized by use of straw and minimizing vegetation clearing and deforestation. The landscaping uses many native species and avoids the use of invasive species.

This home’s materials were chosen with the environment in mind. Where possible, locally sourced materials were chosen. All the materials chosen are durable and high quality, to last a lifetime, if not generations.

Water conservation was also addressed in this house. It has metal roofs and gutters plumbed for rain water catchment, Nebia low flow shower heads, and a weather dependent irrigation controller to reduce household water consumption without sacrificing comfort.

In addition to its environmental efficiency, this gorgeous home boasts grey quartz countertops atop white and blue painted shaker cabinetry, dark stainless steel appliances, and a subway tile backsplash in the kitchen. Elegant white walls bathed in natural sunlight accentuate the hickory flooring throughout, with a wood inlay feature to add a nautical flair to the transition from the kitchen to the family room. The sleek bathroom has a seamless tile shower with mosaic accents and modern vanity with clean lines. The reading nook under the stairs in the family room is a cozy spot to curl up with a book. Expansive views greet you through every tilt & swing triple paned window.

Designed with “Not So Big House” principals to be effortlessly comfortable using minimal energy, with exquisite finishes and details, this home is a beautiful and cozy retreat from the bustle of everyday life.



1915 Bungalow Receives an Historic Bathroom Addition

The owners of this property visited G. Christianson Construction last summer after purchasing this 1915 Bungalow in Corvallis (near the Public Library). The problem: The house only had one bathroom. The solution: Add a 5′ by 14′ addition off the Master Bathroom.

Superintendent Steve Schoonover, who has been part of the G. Christianson team for 23 years, was just the person for the job. Steve passionately restores historic homes, and had worked on this house about eight years ago when G. Christianson restored the kitchen and front deck to it’s former glory. The previous owner kept a detailed book of restorations, which she passed to the new owners, which brought them to us.

Designer Sue Rutherford created a dream, our craftsmen went to work building the addition to match the home exactly. Then we hired one of the best tile masons in town to install the shower, wainscotting and floor tile. The tile work stayed true to the flair of the existing bathroom, with white subway tile, black pinstripes with diamond accents, and white grout.

The result: A 70 square foot spectacular Master Bathroom addition with 1915 glamour and modern amenities. The bathroom boasts a Moen Wynford shower head, American Standard faucet, Toto Carusoe toilet, custom white painted cabinetry, a custom built medicine cabinet, Corian countertops, Simpson Fir F55 door, Emtek Quincy plate with a Providence door knob, Velux skylight, and a Marvin Ultimate double hung window in Wineberry color.

The homeowners love their new bathroom, it is everything they wanted and more!

The praise we received from all of the neighbors is that this addition fits seamlessly with the home’s original look, this is exactly what we intended.


IMG_8989   IMG_8992   IMG_9001   IMG_9013

[Photos, from left to right: …. trim, view of walk-in shower, detailed tile work around … shower head, …. tile work.]

In 2013, Alpha Phi’s leadership met with us to remodel the Sorority basement. Their goal was to convert multiple storage rooms and a dark and dingy meeting room into a space that the ladies would enjoy using. Their priorities were to find a General Contractor who could provide great communication, timeliness, help with design, material selection, scheduling, and value. We were able to bring in our resources to meet the challenge and remodel the basement during summer break.    

 In 2013, we started the remodeling project; our 3rd at the Alpha Phi Sorority. The basement project consisted of two major pieces. First, we needed to create a large, warm, functional, and welcoming space. We created multiple spaces within this one large room for the ladies to study, watch television, socialize, or wait for their laundry to finish. 


Meeting area before remodel…


Meeting area with built-in cabinetry.

We demolished walls between the old chapter meeting room, hallway, maintenance closet, and the trunk storage room. We discovered the posts supporting the house had dryrot and needed to be replaced. That inspired us to add a steel beam to open the floor plan by removing one of the bad posts. We leveled the floor with gypcrete, replaced leaky pipes, insulated, added lighting, replaced a rotten piece of wall, reinforced the flooring system and installed new wiring.

 Once the old walls were removed and the dryrot was taken care of, we created an open area where the ladies could study or hold sorority meetings. A large table with room for 6 to sit comfortably was placed under a contemporary, but bright pendant light which provides ample task lighting for the table. Recessed lighting was added to provide more lighting on the white board and bulletin board that are located on the walls beside the table. Additionally, in the east side of the basement is a functional laminate storage unit with drawers and cupboards for the girls to store supplies. It also provides a flat large surface separate from the table to spread out paperwork or other study materials. 

IMG_1702 Stitch

Media room before remodel.


Study area, media room, and reading nook.


Studying area.

On the west side of the basement, another table was placed that will seat 4. This table can be moved around the room as needed by the ladies. Ambient recessed lighting and task lighting was placed around the west part of the basement that provides warm, but strong enough light for studying. A small reading nook was created in the west part of the basement to give the ladies a comfortable spot to read and provide more seating. This area is also a part of the lounge area and can be used when the ladies have movie night. In addition to the reading nook, a large microfiber sofa provides more seating in the basement. 


Reading nook and extra seating for the media area.

Shaw “No Limits” carpet tiles were chosen for the entire basement. These carpet tiles can easily be individually replaced if needed. New Mannington vinyl was installed into the laundry and bathroom. New MDF baseboard and casings were added after the new carpet tiles were installed. 

Second, we needed to replace the very old gas boiler and water heaters. We installed a new Lennox HRV3-150 Heat Recovery Ventilator to bring fresh air into the basement. We also installed a Lochinvar 95% high efficiency boiler with direct ventilation to heat the sorority house. We additionally installed a Bradford White 98% ultra high efficiency water heater and storage tanks to provide ample heat for all of the showers.


Mechanical room before remodel….


Mechanical room with new HVAC systems.

We recently completed an insulation project for a long time member of the Corvallis community. Pat requested that we give her a quote on installing new wall insulation in the home that she and her husband built in the 1950’s. Many of the older homes in Corvallis don’t have any insulation in their walls which can lead to drafty, uncomfortable rooms and high energy bills.

When we provide Home Weatherization inspections or Energy Audits, we typically recommend spending money first on air sealing and insulating attics and crawlspaces because they are easy to access and thus less costly. Wall insulation is usually a secondary project. Wall insulation retrofits are expensive because we need to drill holes either on the interior or exterior of the home to blow in the insulation. At Pat’s house, her vintage wall paper meant that we had to drill from the outside.

In one marathon day last week, we removed a row of cedar sidewall shakes from her home, drilled holes and filled each stud bay with blown-in dense pack fiberglass insulation. A brief description from the University of Minnesota: “Dense pack insulation is ideal for insulation retrofits in older homes. For instance, it can be blown into closed stud wall cavities with minimal disruption to the exterior cladding or interior plaster. In addition, because the stud cavities are fully closed, it can be blown at high densities, which can improve the R-value of fiberglass insulation and prevent future settling. Finally, since the exterior walls of older homes are commonly constructed with boards rather than sheet goods and don’t typically have a continuous air barrier, air infiltration through the wall is often a significant issue. In this situation, the air sealing benefits of dense pack cellulose or fiberglass can significantly reduce air infiltration.”

Insulation values of R 3.5 to R4.2 can be achieved, so in a 2×4 wall you may see insulation values between R12 and R15 as well as reduced air infiltration.

We discovered that a few of Pat’s walls had already been insulated during a previous remodel. To be fair to her, we are crediting back to her the cost for insulating those walls.

Once the walls were insulated, we sealed each drill hole, reinstalled siding, re-painted and cleaned up. Please give us a call if you would like to know more about insulation, Energy Trust Weatherization Inspections or Performance Tested Comfort Systems Inspections. 541-754-6326.

–          Carl

This picture shows how the metal framing is attached to the wood over head glu-lam framing. The metal is screwed through the track in order to hold it into position. Then the studs are attached with stitch screws. We use this type of framing in new construction when the clients request it. Our construction company has experience working with metal framing from the commercial projects that we have been involved with.

green building, glu-lam beam, curved framing

Green building is not a new concept in the building industry. Many of the principals that are used in modern green building were developed and tested long ago in the building trade. Look back in history and you don’t have to go very far to discover some of the great foundations of ecological building principals and sustainability. Early dwellers understood and selected their construction sites on comfort of having the most basic need water, within close proximity of their home. While early times may have called for this effort as a survival tool, no one disputes the effect that a water feature can have on the psyche of an occupant who can gaze upon the flowing life giving fluid and the calming sensation the sound of its flowing path provides us. Effects of natural light and ventilation within a closed living environment have been shown to have a direct correlation to the health of its occupants in animals of all species. Concepts like the blending of both indoor and outdoor out door living have led to utilizing smaller interior spaces that allow far smaller footprints and yet provide all the basic necessities of a modern home.

Principals of sustainability in design ensure that a building structure will be utilized to its fullest potential while modern materials and construction techniques allow for the design to lastingly serve generations of people without the threat of replacement due to poor product lifespan. We want to be happy in our homes, understanding principals that enhance this feeling allows us the comfort of living longer in them. Ideas like aging in place have been found to allow people develop a feeling of attachment to their homes. The security of knowing that they will not outgrow with accessibility or be forced to leave when the question of aging comes into place.

While changes in the economy in the past few years have led many families to question the growing trend of consumerism brought upon by the 1990’s. The reality that many are able to make due with less and actually find freedom in utilizing only what is needed. House sizes within the US took a new trend in shrinking back to natural human proportions. The giant interior spaces we were creating and filling with advertising driven needs of status have come into question and been replaced with the subtle back to basics trends and led many to find that less can actually be better. Less building to maintain, clean and repair can also mean lower cost to heat and cool. More emphasis on multi use areas within a house instead of the dedicated and often unused areas set aside for very occasional use. The formal dining rooms were never memory builders when compared to the friendly thoughts of the familiar kitchen table used day in and out. The inconvenience of having to share and crowd within a space for a short period of celebratory time could possibly lead to an even more memorable time. Especially in a time where society as a whole tends to isolate itself within technology bound devices. Now a moment of solitude can be found by simply opening up a smart phone to choose your distraction.

Where will the concepts of sustainability lead us next?

CWIP representitives were on hand at the Energy Trust roundtable event yeaterday to let companies know that there are still funds available for individuals within the Corvallis area who meet the criteria for weatherization upgrades.

There is still time to get an addittional $500.00 per household for this incentive. Remeber that these incentives are paid dirrectly to weatherization contractors who are registered with their program. This incentive eligibility is based upron Energy Trust criteria and includes many upgrades that add efficiency to an older home. This is am amazing opportunity offered to anyone within the Corvallis City Limits and is expected to change to some extent on Dec 31st when new incentive payback amounts go into effect.

Act Now!! This program is a fantastic way to offset the cost of weatherization upgrades to Your home.

Yesterday the Energy trust had a roundtable event to discuss new changes in the weatherization industry in Oregon. As the current rebate incentives are due to change on Dec. 31st 2010 many are wondering what the new incentives will be and how weatherization will be effected.

As of yet these changes have not been released but we will keep you informed as they are released to Trade Ally programs.

Who We Are

We are premier builders for additions, remodeling and new construction for Corvallis and the Willamette Valley. We specialize in unique and challenging projects and apply sustainable building principles.

Contact Information

Please call us for a Free Estimate!



644 NW 4th St. Corvallis, OR

Greg Christianson

houzz interior design ideas