The paperwork is finally coming together for building our house on the 10 acres. I am stunned at the amount of paperwork required, but that is almost behind me.
We chose to go with a house built out of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) for the energy savings. The energy savings results from not only the foam core of the panel, but also from the fact that there are much fewer thermal conductive paths in the wall. Standard stick framed walls have a stud every 16″ and that stud conducts heat much better than the insulated cavity between the studs. SIP homes only have a stud every 8′ to hold the panels together. Another energy savings comes from that fact there is almost no air infiltration through the walls. Anyone that has lived in a drafty house knows how much those drafts reduce your comfort level.
A house plan optimized for SIP construction also have very little waste. A CAD file of the cut panels is sent to the factory and a computer cuts out all the door and window openings. Using a crane to lift the panels in place results in a rapid construction of the shell, reducing your overall construction time. We are using Super Build Systems to design and construct our shell. To save money our family will be doing much of the interior finishing ourselves. We are fortunate to live near the mid-west Insulspan factory so shipping costs will be low.
Another advantage to using SIPS and roof panels in particular is the entire space inside the building envelope is insulated. So we are building a story and a half or cape cod style. That means the triangle areas near the eves that are normally un-insulated space in conventional framing, is now conditioned space. So while it is not tall enough to stand up in it makes good storage space and a place to run mechanical’s. There is a lot of usable space that you get “for free” by using the insulated roof panels. We will also have something like a 24′ peek in the great room, which will be an awesome space.
Stay tuned for updates.