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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 8/24/2005


Any info on green building materials? Conventional or otherwise.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 8/24/2005


One of the hardest jobs I have as a designer working with alternative building materials is getting a balance of foundation, exterior and interior walls, and roof. The building envelope. Usually this becomes a hybrid system that catches the building department by surprise.

Being covered as individual products (or systems) following the IRC doesn't necessarily help.

Raising questions of sanity about the methods or materials of construction is not good when trying to get a building permit.  A typical response is more... SIPs, fine. Adobe. fine. Steel framing, fine. Rammed earth, fine. Straw bale, fine. WHAT? You want to mix them? Let me check with the supervisor, engineering and legal departments.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 10/30/2005


Upcoming project is an ICF home seeking LEED status from USGBC.

Will keep the site posted here about material choices and performance criteria vs. results.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 11/15/2005


Project update.

Plans are in permits. Walls will be an ICF system. Ground floor will insulated slab system. Second floor will be a truss system, tall enough for ductwork, structured wiring, plumbing and whatever else needs to go in the house. Roof will be a truss system with SIP deck, insulation and strength. There will be 8.5 kw of solar panels and solar water heating located on the roof. Looking at doing a "living" roof on guest house.

Current assessment is this project will qualify for either Gold or Platinum status. Will be having a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) evaluation in the coming weeks, which looks at construction standards, materials, windows and door insulation, shading, daylighting and orientation on the site.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 11/20/2005


Of course cellulose insulation may actually be recycled cardboard, which makes it a very green product.
 
Although not sure about their source material, here is one company I am somewhat familiar with: celbar.com.
 


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 11/20/2005


We need to consider looking at life cycle assessment on insulation. How long will this structure stand before it is modified and what happens to structural and insulation materials then?

The philosophy to take into long range consideration is cradle-to-cradle, or what is the next product my waste building materials become? Landfill or another structure?

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/1/2006


Has any one used aerated autoclaved concrete? I have an upcoming project and the client is wanting to use this for their walls.

Any comments, ideas or experience?

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By Kelly in Catalina, AZ on 2/26/2006


Dale,

May I ask what your occupation is? I am wanting to do O-B here in Tucson. I have the land and rough drawing my wife and I came up with. We would like to do SIP on a two-story reverse-floor plan (living/kitchen/master) upstairs and family/bdrms down. I have talked to a couple of architects and designers but haven't really been overly impressed. Any suggestions of designers that will get me through permits smoothly and inexpensively and who understand SIP? Your input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Kelly
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/26/2006


Besides shepherding this forum, I write about green building (see the Special Reports section), and do residential design work. Some weeks it seems that I spend most of my time wading through the crowds at the city-county building trying to get through permitting.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/8/2006


A fuller answer would be that I have worked with just about every non-traditional building material currently accepted in AZ under the modified building codes, usually as the designer.

I have built with stabilized adobe, ICF's, SIP's and steel in addition to stick framing. Working with a high school classmate on a possible straw-bale in Northern Wisconsin.


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By Lee in Colorado Springs, CO on 3/9/2006


Dale,

What type of insulation did you use under your slab?  Have you, or anyone else on the forum, ever used insultarp?

Foundation finished and framing going up now.  I will put the slab in soon but am trying to decide what type of insulation to use.  Will use radiant heat in the slab.

Thanks, Lee


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By John in Erie, CO on 3/9/2006


Lee,

I've used both, but primarily insultarp under the slabs in my house.  I ran out of insultarp and have 2" polystyrene under part of my garage, I cant tell a difference, although the insultarp is very easy to install.  All slabs have radiant heat.



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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/11/2006


I have used a variety of materials, even 1" EPS, although some of these new thinner and flexible with a radiant barrier should be considered. One advantage of using insulation under the slab when doing hydronic is that you can lay the tubing on the insulation, cover with sand then pour the concrete. It increases the mass a little you have to bring to temperature but it reduces problems caused during the concrete pour.

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By Yvonne in Helena, AL on 3/14/2006


Dale,

We just found out about Celbar at a local home show and are very impressed with it.  Have you or anyone else used the product?
Thanks so much,

Yvonne


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/14/2006


Have specified it a couple of times. First time client was all ready to use and we couldn't find an installer. That's not a problem now. Check with the local distributor they should be willing to share home owner names for references.

Actually I first saw the stuff when I was at green building conference and the guy running the booth was staying in the same hotel and we ended up watching some college basketball in the hotel bar a couple of nights.

I like the material, it does have limitations, can't use it in steel framing easily. And in humid conditions it may take longer to completely dry out.

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By Yvonne in Helena, AL on 3/15/2006


Thanks so much.  I really like the product so I think we'll be going with it. We will be installing the insulation probably the end of May/early June so we may miss the super high humid conditions slightly.
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 3/16/2006


Are you installing this in the walls and roof? And how thick?

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By Yvonne in Helena, AL on 10/19/2007


We installed the Celbar the thickness of our studs on exterior walls as well as some interior walls (bathrooms, utility room, bedrooms).  We also insulated the floor of the 2nd floor under the bedrooms.  We wanted a quiet house and boy, do we ever have one.  Good thing we have large dogs that serve as our alarm system as we never hear anyone coming up the driveway.

My only complaint for the product is that during humid conditions, it can take a long time to dry.  We installed during a humid spell and it took five days to dry which put us behind schedule with the drywallers. 

We are very happy with the product and our cooling bills seem to be very reasonable.


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