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High Plains Just.us

In 1980, while Randy was attending graduate school at Yale University...

Urban Frontier House Living

The Gang’s All Here

Urban Frontier House Living

In 1980, while Randy was attending graduate school at Yale University... Read More →
The indoor garden room is not ready for plants yet and the outdoor landscaping is barely even started; however,

Urban Frontier House Living

First Fruits

Urban Frontier House Living

The indoor garden room is not ready for plants yet and the outdoor landscaping is barely even started; however, Read More →
I am a BIG fan of the “slinger!”

Urban Frontier House Living

The Slinger

Urban Frontier House Living

I am a BIG fan of the “slinger!” Read More →
Billings taxpayers are facing a huge tax burden to expand the current water treatment facilities.

Urban Frontier House Living

Rain

Urban Frontier House Living

Billings taxpayers are facing a huge tax burden to expand the current water treatment facilities. Read More →
“This is the most exciting experience of my life.”

Urban Frontier House Living

Looking In The Composter

Urban Frontier House Living

“This is the most exciting experience of my life.” Read More →
If it has been a sunny day, the meter reading will be less than the day before which makes Randy very happy.

Urban Frontier House Living

Clipboards

Urban Frontier House Living

If it has been a sunny day, the meter reading will be less than the day before which makes Randy very happy. Read More →
He has been contemplating what materials to use and how he wanted to build this staircase for a very long time.

Urban Frontier House Living

Up The Spiral Staircase

Urban Frontier House Living

He has been contemplating what materials to use and how he wanted to build this staircase for a very long time. Read More →
The upstairs linen closet was one thing that we felt didn’t need to be finished before we moved into the house.

Urban Frontier House Living

The Linen Closet with the Most Mistakes

Urban Frontier House Living

The upstairs linen closet was one thing that we felt didn’t need to be finished before we moved into the house. Read More →
Platinum is the highest level attainable on the LEED scale (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Of course, Randy will strive for nothing less.

Urban Frontier House Living

Going for LEED® Platinum

Urban Frontier House Living

Platinum is the highest level attainable on the LEED scale (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Of course, Randy will strive for nothing less. Read More →
I think I can hear my mom saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place”

Urban Frontier House Living

A Place for Everything

Urban Frontier House Living

I think I can hear my mom saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place” Read More →
 Randy was excited to see just how low it would get in the house. I did not necessarily share his enthusiasm.

Urban Frontier House Living

How Low Can It Go?

Urban Frontier House Living

Randy was excited to see just how low it would get in the house. I did not necessarily share his enthusiasm. Read More →
Then, one day, we were visiting the house of our low voltage engineer and I commented on how much I liked his fireplace but that we couldn’t have a fireplace in our house because of the combustion.

Urban Frontier House Living

Electric Fireplace

Urban Frontier House Living

Then, one day, we were visiting the house of our low voltage engineer and I commented on how much I liked his fireplace but that we couldn’t have a fireplace in our house because of the combustion. Read More →
Just so we are perfectly clear, all the red, white, and blue lights on my tree are LED in hopes of preventing Randy from hyperventilating because too much energy is being consumed every time I turn on the Christmas lights.

Urban Frontier House Living

My Mom’s Patriotic Tree

Urban Frontier House Living

Just so we are perfectly clear, all the red, white, and blue lights on my tree are LED in hopes of preventing Randy from hyperventilating because too much energy is being consumed every time I turn on the Christmas lights. Read More →
It’s almost Thanksgiving and our son Matthew arrived on the Friday before to spend Thanksgiving week with us.

Urban Frontier House Living

We Are Thankful for Matthew

Urban Frontier House Living

It’s almost Thanksgiving and our son Matthew arrived on the Friday before to spend Thanksgiving week with us. Read More →
We have barely moved in, the house isn’t even complete yet, and I have already found something that needs to be fixed.

Urban Frontier House Living

Fix-it Man

Urban Frontier House Living

We have barely moved in, the house isn’t even complete yet, and I have already found something that needs to be fixed. Read More →
It was a beautiful fall evening...

Urban Frontier House Living

Party at the New House

Urban Frontier House Living

It was a beautiful fall evening... Read More →
October 2, 2016 was when I officially moved into the new house with my essential stuff – things like my toothbrush, my curling iron, and all my shoes.

Urban Frontier House

My Moving Day

Urban Frontier House

October 2, 2016 was when I officially moved into the new house with my essential stuff – things like my toothbrush, my curling iron, and all my shoes. Read More →
The rainwater tanks in the basement of our new house are full and the filtration system is in place but is the water really ok to drink??? On August 29 I took two water samples – one from the kitchen sink and one from the graywater tank spigot - to Energy Labs here in Billings for complete analysis.

Urban Frontier House

The Water Test Results Are In!

Urban Frontier House

All of the water provided by the Water Production Division of the City of Billings comes from the Yellowstone River and I always felt confident that the water provided was of the highest quality. Read More →
 Randy checked the rainwater tanks, the graywater tank, the pumps, and the filters but there was no obvious odor. Where could it be coming from???

Urban Frontier House

What’s That Smell???

Urban Frontier House

Randy checked the rainwater tanks, the graywater tank, the pumps, and the filters but there was no obvious odor. Where could it be coming from??? Read More →
 All in all, it was a really good day!

Urban Frontier House

The Governor’s Innovate Montana Symposium

Urban Frontier House

All in all, it was a really good day! Read More →
Randy and I were again working at the house on Friday night after work. (Boy, do we know how to have fun or what???)

Urban Frontier House

Reinforcements

Urban Frontier House

Randy and I were again working at the house on Friday night after work. (Boy, do we know how to have fun or what???) Read More →
Randy and I were planning on purchasing a DC refrigerator for the new house; however,..

Urban Frontier House

The Fridge Fiasco

Urban Frontier House

Randy and I were planning on purchasing a DC refrigerator for the new house; however,.. Read More →
Our banker wants to know when the house is going to be done. That is a fair question.

Urban Frontier House

Being First Is Not Easy

Urban Frontier House

Our banker wants to know when the house is going to be done. That is a fair question. Read More →
There are various models of composting toilets on the market, none of which I wanted in my new house.

Urban Frontier House

It Looks Like A Toilet

Urban Frontier House

There are various models of composting toilets on the market, none of which I wanted in my new house. Read More →
So, what the heck does that mean???

Urban Frontier House

Alkylphenols

Urban Frontier House

So, what the heck does that mean??? Read More →
And now here is a little biology lesson:

Urban Frontier House

Insect and Fungus

Urban Frontier House

And now here is a little biology lesson: Read More →
We investigated all types of wood flooring materials but ran into numerous roadblocks with ingredients on the Red List.

Urban Frontier House

Wood Flooring

Urban Frontier House

We investigated all types of wood flooring materials but ran into numerous roadblocks with ingredients on the Red List. Read More →
Yes, this stuff is made to drive on and it’s 100% made in the USA

Urban Frontier House

Gravelpave

Urban Frontier House

Yes, this stuff is made to drive on and it’s 100% made in the USA Read More →
Since last November, Randy and I have spent a good portion of almost every weekend working at the new house.

Urban Frontier House

Weekend Warriors

Urban Frontier House

Since last November, Randy and I have spent a good portion of almost every weekend working at the new house. Read More →
The metal for the rain gutters finally arrived last week and were installed in one day.

Urban Frontier House

Rain Gutters and Rain Barrels

Urban Frontier House

The metal for the rain gutters finally arrived last week and were installed in one day. Read More →
I want some color in the house. But what color???

Urban Frontier House

The Wall of Many Colors

Urban Frontier House

I want some color in the house. But what color??? Read More →
 While construction and painting is continuing upstairs, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing is happening downstairs.

Urban Frontier House

Operations Control Central

Urban Frontier House

While construction and painting is continuing upstairs, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing is happening downstairs. Read More →
He created mountains of sawdust and was covered from head to foot but the walls look great!

Urban Frontier House

Brotherly Love

Urban Frontier House

He created mountains of sawdust and was covered from head to foot but the walls look great! Read More →
Re-purposed materials tend to have inherent “character” and an associated story that can’t be found in newly manufactured products.

Urban Frontier House

Scavenger

Urban Frontier House

Re-purposed materials tend to have inherent “character” and an associated story that can’t be found in newly manufactured products. Read More →
We don’t have much sheetrock in the Urban Frontier House but we do have some.

Urban Frontier House

Sheetrock

Urban Frontier House

We don’t have much sheetrock in the Urban Frontier House but we do have some. Read More →
They decided that our Urban Frontier House was going to be the inspiration for their creation.

Urban Frontier House

Gingerbread House

Urban Frontier House

They decided that our Urban Frontier House was going to be the inspiration for their creation. Read More →

Of Bikes and Buildings

We're a Silver BFB!

Of Bikes and Buildings

"bicycling is playing a central role in making the country a safer, happier, and more sustainable place to live and work" Read More →
This mystery stuff is a “bio-based material … encapsulated in flame retardant, super-engineered polyfilm.”

Urban Frontier House

BioPCM

Urban Frontier House

This mystery stuff is a “bio-based material … encapsulated in flame retardant, super-engineered polyfilm.” Read More →
In 1909, Congress passed the Enlarged Homestead Act. As a result, more than 80,000 homesteaders moved into Montana between 1909 and the early 1920’s.

Urban Frontier House

Barnwood and Beadboard

Urban Frontier House

In 1909, Congress passed the Enlarged Homestead Act. As a result, more than 80,000 homesteaders moved into Montana between 1909 and the early 1920’s. Read More →
Then, there was the disagreement about the corner in the kitchen.

Urban Frontier House

Clash in the Kitchen

Urban Frontier House

Then, there was the disagreement about the corner in the kitchen. Read More →
The house isn’t complete yet but we hosted our first event on Friday night

Urban Frontier House

Sustainability Revolution Tour

Urban Frontier House

The house isn’t complete yet but we hosted our first event on Friday night Read More →
Vertical axis windmills aren’t installed in residential front yards every day

Projects

Tilting at Windmills – Part 2

Urban Frontier House

Vertical axis windmills aren’t installed in residential front yards every day Read More →

Of Bikes and Buildings

Bike Rack Comparison 2

Of Bikes and Buildings

"functionally useful" Read More →
This rack is worth more as scrap metal then as a rack.

Of Bikes and Buildings

Bike Rack Comparison 1

Of Bikes and Buildings

This rack is worth more as scrap metal then as a rack. Read More →
Where does it go???

Projects

Time

Urban Frontier House

Where does it go??? Read More →
What is a biking post doing on an architecture firm’s blog? We’re glad you asked!

Of Bikes and Buildings

On Green Architecture and Good Bike Rack Design

Of Bikes and Buildings

What is a biking post doing on an architecture firm’s blog? We’re glad you asked! Read More →
These are NOT your typical windows and doors.

Projects

Windows and Doors

Urban Frontier House

These are NOT your typical windows and doors. Read More →
I really like these skylights!

Projects

Skylights and Roofing

Urban Frontier House

I really like these skylights! Read More →
It’s big!  It’s blue!  It’s a ……………..???  What is it???

Projects

Where Is “Away?”

Urban Frontier House

It’s big! It’s blue! It’s a ……………..??? What is it??? Read More →
The south facing wall will be mainly glass and there will be three windows on the north wall but there won’t be any glass on the other walls.

Projects

The Garden Room

Urban Frontier House

The south facing wall will be mainly glass and there will be three windows on the north wall but there won’t be any glass on the other walls. Read More →
We did some investigating and found “Country Pine” located within blocks of our building site.

Projects

Interior doors

Urban Frontier House

We are well aware of the fire season which strikes Montana forests every year, but we were not aware that someone was repurposing some of the dead logs. Read More →
“The Red List represents the “worst in class” materials, chemicals, and elements known to pose serious risks to human health and the greater ecosystem.”

Projects

The “RED LIST”

Urban Frontier House

“The Red List represents the “worst in class” materials, chemicals, and elements known to pose serious risks to human health and the greater ecosystem.” Read More →
 Randy was selected to present a TEDx talk at the newly opened Billings Public Library.

Projects

The Speaking Circuit

Urban Frontier House

Randy was selected to present a TEDx talk at the newly opened Billings Public Library. Read More →
Remember, we will NOT have a heating or cooling system in this house.

Projects

Why Are We Covering Up The Windows???

Urban Frontier House

Remember, we will NOT have a heating or cooling system in this house. Read More →
My architect (Randy) had to figure out a way to maximize the sun exposure to the garden room.

Projects

Let The Sun Shine

Urban Frontier House

My architect (Randy) had to figure out a way to maximize the sun exposure to the garden room. Read More →
We frequently sat on the porch swing to chat with our granddaughters or to observe the weather or...

Projects

My Front Porch

Urban Frontier House

We frequently sat on the porch swing to chat with our granddaughters or to observe the weather or... Read More →
There is going to be a small room (crow’s nest) at the very top of the new house on the third floor.

Projects

Raising the Roof

Urban Frontier House

There is going to be a small room (crow’s nest) at the very top of the new house on the third floor. Read More →
 I was quite amazed how something that I had seen on paper many, many times was now coming together

Projects

‘Dem Bones

Urban Frontier House

I was quite amazed how something that I had seen on paper many, many times was now coming together Read More →
It was about this time that March decided to “roar in like a lion”

Projects

Moving On Up

Urban Frontier House

It was about this time that March decided to “roar in like a lion” Read More →
What difference does it make where it is fabricated?

Projects

Two Beam or Not Two Beam

Urban Frontier House

What difference does it make where it is fabricated? Read More →
A future resident can look out her bedroom window, It’s pretty exciting!

Projects

We Have Walls!

Urban Frontier House

A future resident can look out her bedroom window, It’s pretty exciting! Read More →
sip panels going up on urban frontier home

Projects

Structural Insulated Panels

Urban Frontier House

Randy didn’t want thermal breaks anywhere in the house Read More →
let the framing begin

Projects

Wood Arrives

Urban Frontier House

Things are going to start happening now! Read More →
Flatwork is done, just waiting on the FSC wood.

Projects

Waiting for FSC Wood

Urban Frontier House

Why wouldn't everyone choose to use wood from a sustainably harvested forest. Read More →
Janna Hafer appreciating the newly arrived insulation for Urban Frontier House

Projects

It’s All About the Insulation

Urban Frontier House

Randy was all about the insulation and it’s everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE! Read More →
Water Storage Containers in basement of Urban Frontier House

Projects

What Did You Do About the Water?

Urban Frontier House

Any residence within proximity of a municipal water supply must hook up and pay the price to do so. Read More →
pouring the foundation of Urban Frontier House

Projects

Not Everything Runs Smoothly

Urban Frontier House

The fourth truck arrived and immediately had to turn around Read More →
Setting the footings on the Urban Frontier Home

Projects

And So It Begins

Urban Frontier House

Since the property was a parking lot for 40 years, there were wheel stops that needed a new home. Read More →
Randy Hafer holding deed to Urban Frontier House

Projects

Building Permit

Urban Frontier House

The drawings have been at the Building Department for months. What is taking so long? Read More →
Randy and Janna Hafer securing financing for Urban Frontier Home

Projects

Financing

Urban Frontier House

What bank wouldn't want to be a part of this “Urban Frontier House” project? Read More →
Janna Looking at existing windmill that will be placed at Urban Frontier Home

Projects

Tilting at Windmills

Urban Frontier House

Enter Taisei Techno, a Japanese company producing wind turbines which even has a fabrication plant in Billings, Montana. Read More →
Janna and Friend at Advanced Composting Systems

Projects

What Did You Do On Your Vacation?

Urban Frontier House

Let me just say, that I am WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE on this one... Read More →
Janna and Randy Hafer Breaking Ground on Urban Frontier Home

Projects

Was 2013 the Year for Groundbreaking?

Urban Frontier House

Let me just say that it is not easy to have a ground breaking in an asphalt parking lot. Read More →
Randy Hafer modifying the floor plan

Projects

Passive House Modeling

Urban Frontier House

As if Living Building Challenge was not enough of a challenge, Randy was intrigued with the Passive House energy modeling program. Read More →
Randy and Janna Hafer Green Acres Off the Grid Living

Projects

ILBI Membership

Urban Frontier House

It somewhat reminds me of the “Green Acres” sitcom back in the 60s and 70s where the husband and wife leave the city and decide to “work the land.” Read More →
Prepping the Urban Frontier Site

Projects

Prepping the Site

Urban Frontier House

After 40 years as a parking lot, the site had started its transformation back to a contributing member of the residential neighborhood. Read More →
Hafer Family while living in the Big Tin House

Projects

Selling the Big Tin House

Urban Frontier House

We put the house on the market but knew that it might take awhile to sell since it would take a buyer wanting a big house. Read More →
Urban Frontier House - Floor Plan

Projects

Goals and Program

Urban Frontier House

I like to think I'm the adventurous type but what have I gotten myself into??? Read More →
Urban Frontier House Site Location

Urban Frontier House

Land For Sale at Auction

Urban Frontier House

The State of Montana had purchased this property on December 15, 1967 for $10.00 and had owned it for 40 years. Read More →
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