The Building Envelope

Where Energy Efficiency Begins

Building Methods & Materials

When we begin the process of working with a client to build or design/build their home, we listen to their ideas, wants and needs. We review plans they may have and offer suggestions, ideas or make any desired changes.

Once the floor plan is finalized, we focus on the design and construction of the building envelope - foundation, walls, roof and then address the interior efficiency and comfort aspects. The envelope-first focus dramatically reduces the energy required to heat and cool a high performance home and also ensures the structural integrity is not compromised.

Using this as our guiding principle, the building envelope of the homes we build combine cutting-edge materials such as insulated concrete forms (ICF's), ShopBuilt panelized walls and Structural Insulated Panels (SIP's).

Strength of Concrete and The Energy Efficiency of EPS

ICF's (Insulated Concrete Form) Basement Walls

The basement and basement walls are designed and constructed with ICFs.

Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) give you all the benefits that have made concrete the material of choice for home building: Solid, lasting construction that resists fire, wind, and time. However, ICFs do plain concrete two better - by giving you two built-in layers of foam insulation.

ICF's integrate the strength of concrete and the energy efficiency of EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam. This method of construction provided both insulation and a vapor barrier while encasing the 10" thick concrete poured wall.

The result is a superior, energy efficient wall that will provide long-term energy cost savings while also adding resale value.

ShopBuilt Walls Or SIP's?

Structural Integrity, Faster Construction, Lessened Environmental Impact

The exterior walls of the home are the single largest contributing factor to achieving energy star certifications. Homes we construct utilize either our ShopBuilt Panelized Wall Systems or SIP's. Our ShopBuiltTM prefab building system is a panelized wall system that allows homeowners and builders to build a quality new custom home faster and more energy-efficiently when compared to conventional building methods. Our panelized system works well with SIP's Roof Panels and as an alternative to traditional SIP's Wall Panels and can be incorporated with conventional or timber frame construction - and can be incorporated into any design. Designed and manufactured to exceed local building codes, a software program maps exact measurements and provides significant raw material waste savings, down to 2% on framing materials rather than the industry standard 20% for site built construction. Being constructed in the HCTF shop means the walls are never rained on or exposed to the elements.Walls Or SIP's Structural Integrity, Faster Construction, Lessened Environmental Impact

The wall sheathing combines the strength and stability of a structural sheathing system with the enhanced durability of the product's water-resistive barrier. A rain screen is used outside of the sheathing allowing any moisture that may find its way past the siding to have an airspace to dry. Electrical chases are drilled and, when possible, the windows and doors are pre-installed, flashed, and taped prior to delivery and installation on site. Installing as many of the windows and doors prior to delivering the walls on site saves a tremendous amount of time particularly on sloped building sites where working from scaffolding adds time and cost to a project.

The first floor and second floor exterior walls are completely installed on the existing subfloor in a matter of hours, not weeks.

SIPs Roof Systems

Energy Efficient, Faster Construction

The roof system is typically constructed with SIPs. SIP's can be used with any construction type including block, conventional contruction or over heavy timber trusses and rafters. Using SIP roof panels allows for the home to be completely "dried in" within a day while also offering a much more air-tight structure. This results in reduced energy costs to heat and cool and a quieter and more comfortable space.

A "cold roof" system, is constructed over the top of the SIPs panels, essentially 1x4 sleeper's with a layer of 5/8" plywood sheathing and underlayment. Similar in concept to a rain screen on the exterior walls, it provides for a 3/4" air space between the top of the SIP roof panel and the roof sheathing which carries the finish roofing material. The air space created by the "cold roof" allows for any condensation that may develop under the primary roofing material, a not uncommon condition under a metal roof, to dry before it may cause any problems.