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Old 07-22-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
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I will be building a house in North West Florida this winter in the coastal "wind zone". I am leaning toward having the first floor block/stucco and the other 2 floors wood framed. Anyone with advise on being energy efficient in rough construction,ie 2x4 vs 2x6. Also, I have read about 2 stage HVAC--is it worth the money?

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:22 PM   #2
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Before starting, check with a few insurance companies. The rates in many critical areas have gone up by 10x.

There is a voluntary program for certain crtitcal things that will earn 40 to 75% discounts and guaranteed rates and renewals. These involvle roof connection, eave wall construction windows and garage door. Many people get a 2-3 year payback and it is gravy from then on. You already have the concrete block, so that is one step for hold down and projectile pentration.

Just building to code won't get the big discounts, since code is the minimum and not the best or proper way of building. This is a voluntary program with a list of specific items. - Woth looking into.

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Old 07-23-2008, 12:57 PM   #3
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Some builders also pour concrete into the block. It adds to the cost of course. Does it do anything for efficiency in heating, cooling etc. or is it just over kill.

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Old 07-23-2008, 06:29 PM   #4
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not too sure, but i was under the impression that many people in FL were using ICF's(Insulated concrete forms) for home construction now a days...and if you enjoy legos could save on some labor costs. I've heard they are great in heavy storm regions.
as far as the HVAC...no clue.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:01 PM   #5
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IGFs just got approved to join reinforced concrete block and reinforced conrete as approved. You have to use a little more steel than normal.

For a "safe cell" certainly wood would not be accepable unles you had steel laminated between sheets of plywood.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:06 AM   #6
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after total wood structure losses, can't imagine anyone building anything w/o considering insulated conc forms,,, far superior to cmu's because of the insulation value & strength alone,,, able to easily pass the 200mph wind test for coastal bldg code which is the max test,,, fast buildout,,, permanent,,, interior walls sheetrock rdy,,, elec raceways cut onsite,,, imn-s-hfo, there's no downside to icf's.

not to mention utility costs - if you think those prices'll come down, use cmu,,, there're bldgs in fl over 13 stories tall blt w/icf's.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrace View Post
... I have read about 2 stage HVAC--is it worth the money?
As other have said look into ICFs. I built in the Mid-west with ICF, two reason being wind damage i.e. tornadoes, and keeping the extreme heat and cold @ bay. I don't know the latest research or if it'll work with the insurance company, but you might check into SIPs as well.

We have a two stage HVAC compressor with a variable speed air handler. I don't think the AC unit goes to the second stage (unless you want to drop the temp by more than 2 degrees at a time) and the air handler will not use it's maximum speed until around 4 PM when the HOT late afternoon sun is beating in the windows.

Can't tell you yet if it's worth it...but if you couple the superior thermal mass capabilities with the higher SEER of the compressor unit, it should work to your benefit.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:31 AM   #8
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we've blt w/sip's & icf's along w/steel, cmu's, & wood, & balloon form'd conc,,, my comments're based on that experience along w/owning several stick homes,,, there're programs for your hvac guy to help him reduce energy loads for icf projects,,, these programs're accepted by industry & bldg codes.

on a recent church job addn, we reduced to 1T from stick rqd 5T - ea side's 34x40,,, SIGNIFICANT savings when blt & even more as it continues to operate,,, 13seer as i recall,,, good point about the ins coverage - there're savings for icf's.

w/o a doubt, our next home's ICF ! ! !
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:11 AM   #9
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Thanks guys, it looks like ICF is the way to go. Much appreciated the input from people in the know.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:16 AM   #10
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I should have asked if anyone knows a fair and reasonable guy who does ICF for housing in the Destin/Panama city area. I got one bid for bldg entire house but he wanted me to put his kids thru college and buy a beemer for the wife! LOL Still paying my own kids college bills and now a wedding.
Never mind working a couple of jobs keeps me from sleeping too much--like 6 or 7 hours every few days.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:48 PM   #11
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chris ???? out of ohio did our 1st & we ' went to school ' on him,,, last time i knew, he was sticking to fl & may've moved there for all i know,,, reward bought tritex ( actually, they owned it & have since brought it back into the fold ),,, talk to thad tobbaben & he'll have chris' tele #,,, they have a plant in fl so, if chris can't get to you, thad'll have others.

fwiw, no financial interest in either tritex, reward, thad, or chris - just satisfied w/them all.

best !
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:29 PM   #12
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I've just dried in my house with ICF construction. Used 11" from the footers to the roof trusses. Very happy with the progress. You can see the progress at sizjaz.googlepages.com/home.

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