Environmentally sensitive amenities.
you are thinking of having a new home designed and built (or
even just remodeled), you may have heard these phrases from
family, friends or professionals. These “buzz”
words are more and more common in the design and construction
industries and are touted as the best way to build for the
what do these buzz words really mean?
the simplest of terms, they describe a way of designing and
building homes that are more energy efficient, use recycled
or healthier building materials and are more cost-effective
to maintain than conventionally-built homes.
what you may picture in your mind from poor press in the past,
homes made to be environmentally-friendly don’t need
to look any different that their conventional counterparts.
The design of an eco-friendly home is still entirely up to
the tastes of its owners and not dictated by the materials
building is really a way of thinking about home building –
a way of using design to maximize space and utilize nature’s
free natural heating and cooling cycles. It’s also a
way of using the healthiest materials not just to reduce indoor
air pollution but to create a sense of “home”
your home with smart design and healthier materials saves
you money and time in the long run. Your utility bills will
be lower and you will spend less time repairing and more time
enjoying your home.
movement toward a “greener, cleaner” way of living
is becoming more of a necessity as nation’s worldwide
look for ways to save energy, reduce pollution, and maintain
healthy public lands so future generations can benefit from
their beauty and resources as well.
and Sky Architecture specializes in building homes that fit
into the neighborhood but perform to higher standards, the
rewards of which you will happily reap for a lifetime! Environmentally-friendly
building is the wave of the future, and everyday we help our
clients stay ahead of the curve.
an effort to spread the word, we’ve compiled a great
resource list that will help you learn more about some of
the materials and methods being used today to construct environmentally
you can simply contact
us at Earth and Sky Architecture to put our expertise in beautiful,
sustainable, environmentally-sensitive design to work for
effort to find more sustainable ways to build has brought
a number of new options for construction. One method that
is becoming more popular is building the exterior walls of
the house out of straw bales and finishing them with a traditional
stucco plaster. The primary advantage is that the wall material
can be grown in a single season compared to twenty years for
wood studs. The resulting straw bale wall is monolithic with
a conservative R-value of about R30, which is substantially
more than the R17 stud walls required by the Model Energy
Code (M.E.C.). Further, the walls do not have cold spots where
the studs sit between the batts of insulation as in traditional
often have concerns regarding bugs, rodents, rot and fire.
None of these issues are a problem in a properly designed
wall system. The key is the same as in all good construction--attention
to details. If the walls are properly stacked, flashed and
finished, water and other nuisances cannot get in. While a
loose bale will burn readily, a bale that is stacked tightly
in a wall and plastered does not have the air required to
support and maintain combustion; it is like trying to burn
straw bale walls provide strength for the long run? There
are straw bale homes in Nebraska that are over a hundred years
old and still being lived in! Recently, the U.S. Postal service
has begun two new Post Offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico
out of straw bales.
and Efficiency Building Methods
Efficiency of Wall Panels
there has been an interest in considering new ways of building
houses. The interest is in building a house more quickly,
more accurately and for less money; sound familiar? One method
many builders are moving to is using wall panels because there
are so many advantages.
A house built with wall panels takes approximately 1/3 less
time to erect. The wall panels can be constructed while the
foundation is being formed. When the foundation is set and
ready to build on, the bundled floor system and the wall panels
will arrive at the job. A single contractor builds the floor
deck in the field. Then the wall panels are erected and the
second floor is set in place. The second floor wall panels
are then set into position followed by the roof trusses in
rapid succession. The framed house is ready to have the roofing
installed and the electrician, plumbers and mechanical contractors
can begin their work.
The wall panels are built on tables at a comfortable level
for the workmen. By not bending over and reaching over their
heads, they can concentrate better on their work. There are
jigs to ensure squareness and layout diagrams which show where
every stick of wood fits into the panel — headers, fire
blocking, t-wall connectors are all illustrated and dimensioned.
The work is largely done indoors so that the material is not
exposed to the weather, dragged through the mud or stolen.
In a tight labor market, it is hard to find enough experienced
framers to get the job done. In a wall panel plant, labor
is more readily available. The work is being done under one
roof where a few skilled framers can direct and ensure good
results from many less skilled framers than in the field.
This less skilled, and therefore less expensive, labor can
accomplish the same job more accurately than a field crew.
Skilled framers are still needed to direct the panel erection
and standing the trusses, but the bulk of the crew can be
trained in a few days.
Since waste disposal on a job site is charged by the dumpster
load, less waste equals more savings. Wall panels have very
little waste that ends up in field dumpsters. The sawyers
in the panel plant cut their material to length and set aside
the ends into a scrap bin; when it is time to cut fire blocking,
pressure blocking and other short pieces the scraps are trimmed
to length. The only material left over is four-inch stubs
and sawdust — everything else is used!
project can also be coordinated with the mechanical, plumbing
and electrical trades to simplify and speed up their work.
Studs can be pre-drilled for wiring, copper and plastic pipes,
and blockouts built in for the ductwork.
common misconception about wall panels is that everything
has to be in even two-foot increments in order to maximize
efficiency. Since the material is well managed, there is very
little scrap at the panel plant or the job site.
Organizations and Agencies:
to buy sustainable products: