Beechen & Dill Homes, USDA Forest Service, and APA – The Engineered Wood Association provide hands-on look at framing methods that save energy, speed installation, and reduce waste
apawood.org – A new home under construction in suburban Chicago has become a learning tool for builders, architects, and code officials to experience and observe how efficient framing practices can conserve energy, speed construction, and reduce utility bills. The Inside View Project, a demonstration house by Beechen & Dill Homes, provides a hands-on look at straightforward energy-efficient construction techniques that can be easily replicated in nearly any house around the country.
Co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory and APA – The Engineered Wood Association, the Inside View home features advanced framing practices such as 24-inch on-center spacing and corners and headers that provide more space for cavity insulation. The robust floor system also features 24-inch on-center spacing, allowing for ductwork runs while eliminating about one-third of the required joists and subsequently requiring one-third less labor and adhesive. Higher-series, deeper 14-inch I-joists allowed the builder to avoid double joists and, in combination with an upgraded 7/8-inch OSB subfloor, resulted in a stiff floor system despite the wider spacing.
“We’re always striving to be on the cutting edge. We were the first in the area to build energy-efficient homes and to guarantee energy bills; now it’s industry standard,” said Ed Kubiak, director of construction for Beechen & Dill. “With prices going up and labor harder to find, techniques such as these that reduce energy use while making more efficient use of materials and allowing for more efficient construction are the direction the industry needs to be going.”
Beechen & Dill opened up the Inside View house to building pros during a series of open houses July 28 and 30. Visitors had the opportunity to tour the house under construction, with walls and floors left exposed for easy access to viewing and learning about these framing techniques.
“It’s good to be in a house that’s not dry-walled, yet, to be able to see and learn more about the techniques that they’ve been talking about,” said Karen James, community development director for the Village of Shorewood, who attended with several code officials from the nearby town.
“It was a great idea to do this, especially to this extent,” said architect Bruce Obora of Chicago-based Obora & Associates, noting that his firm has designed one home using some advanced framing techniques but is continuing to research the methods in anticipation of additional projects in the future.
The Inside View home, located at 15328 S. Oak Run Ct. in Lockport, is one of 16 houses in the final phase of Beechen & Dill’s Creekside Estates development. The two-story, 2,880-square-foot house includes four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, along with a two-story family room, full basement, and three-car garage. As part of a partnership with the Environments for Living program, all of Beechen & Dill’s homes carry an energy bill guarantee, assuring potential buyers of long-term operational costs.
“Energy-efficient 2×6 framing can reap significant monetary savings for homeowners throughout the life of their home, while also helping the builder save on installation time and save costs in meeting the energy code. It’s a win-win,” said Tom Kositzky, director of field services for APA. “What’s more, these techniques are not difficult to implement or understand; once designers, builders, and code officials get familiar with the practices, they can easily become a regular part of their routine.”
“Education is key to furthering the adoption of energy-efficient building techniques. The Inside View Project gives us an excellent learning lab where Beechen & Dill can share ideas and techniques with other design/build professionals in the Chicago area,” added Mike Ritter, assistant director of the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.
For more details on the project, visit //www.apawood.org/insideview.