The Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) will have very heavy floors. The concrete top coats applied to the main and second floors (in order to add thermal mass to the home) will each contain about 200 cubic feet of concrete. At about 145 pounds per cubic foot, we're talking 29,000 pounds, or over 13 metric tonnes of concrete, on each floor.
Because of the extra weight, the home needs a beam down the middle, held up by a couple of posts, to support the load. Peter Amerongen bought a few big glued laminated beams (that is, beams made from smaller boards glued together) from Visco Demolition. The good people there recovered the beams from a liquor store that they demolished some time back.
The original beams look like the one on the left of the above picture. Burke the carpenter milled them down so that they fit the house. They will be gorgeous show pieces to our kitchen and living room:
Here's what they look like at the ends - beams like this can be used instead of big logs taken from huge trees.
I love the look of these beams. They are a neccessary structural component, they look great, and they come from recycled material! The perfect combination of style, function, and eco-ness.