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Discussion Starter #1
We want to build my retirement home in the wilderness in Northern Washington State. We are tired of cold houses and want something that doesn't require $500/mo to heat. Fiberglass insulation is out. We are considering the following building styles:
Traditional stick build with cellulose on all 6 sides
Traditional stick build with spray in foam (soy maybe)
Timberframe with SIPs (I can do the timbers but will need a crane for the SIPs)
EPS panels like here at ecothermpros.com

SIPs and spray in foam cost a lot but are really good insulation, cellulose insulation is my first choice for stick built and I am curious about the EPS panels as an alternative. Price is a concern and we really want something that will be comfortable.

We have fairly long winters, very little rain and occasionally get quite cold (sub 0). I want something that my wife and I can build with maybe a couple of hired laborers. The foundation will be done this summer and we want to start construction about this time next year.

Any comments or suggestion will be appreciated.
 

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In my area they are building with hollow styrofoam blocks!
These are stacked to form a wall. Rebar is inserted, then the cavity is filled with concrete!
There seems to be about 5" of foam on the outside and another 5" on the inside.
Potentially, the wall could be more than R50.
I've had no experience with this concept, but mention this for your information.

Here's an example at this web page! http://www.quadlock.com/?source=GoogleAd_ICF_Syndicated
 

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In my area they are building with hollow styrofoam blocks!
These are stacked to form a wall. Rebar is inserted, then the cavity is filled with concrete!
There seems to be about 5" of foam on the outside and another 5" on the inside.
Potentially, the wall could be more than R50.
I've had no experience with this concept, but mention this for your information.
You are referring to ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms). Simple structure, good R-values, good acoustic properties, fairly easy to construct. Would be a pretty good option to consider in my opinion. The cost benefit is that your form work does more than just be a form.

Given your climate you may be able to get a good enough R-value from your walls that you could go with a radiant heating system. Either perimeter baseboard or in floor good be good initial cost and long term cost solutions with that constructions.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply. I had thought about those ICFs for the basement but not for the regular walls. I'll check them out. It would be a lot of concrete to mix. We will find out how much concrete we can mix and pour in a 3 day period this summer while working on the foundation. Any idea how the ICFs handle cold joints? I don't think there are a lot of 4 wheel-drive cement trucks to get to the middle of nowhere, LOL.

I do like the roof system for the EPS panels. I will compare the prices for the ICFs and the EPS system.
 

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a friend built a house, around 1500-1600 sq ft. Built a second wall inside the envelope wall allowing about 1 foot space for cellulose insulation. No gas at his house, all electric. Uses about $90/month year round for everything.
 

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If you are considering ICF's for your basement why not use them for your house? Every newer concrete truck in my area is four wheel drive. Nobody around here buys those old two wheel, rear discharge trucks anymore. Unless it is one of those small three yard trucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I really like cellulose and that method of double walls would sure work. Cellulose can be wet sprayed into exterior walls also and not need the 2nd wall. Cellulose was my first choice for insulation. The double walls would cost quite a bit more.

When I saw the price for the EcoThermpros.com at $15 a sq/ft for the shell (walls, roof, windows and doors) it was a less than stick built with cellulose. The EcoTherm systems is really strong as well.

The ICF system will cost more than the EcoTherm system by a bunch and I can put up the EPS panels a lot easier than I can pour the concrete. We are really looking for DIY systems.

The first phase of our building will be a 36x40 with daylight basement. The ICFs I like for the basement but I don't want to lift concrete up to fill the walls.
 

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All the systems talked about are decent. For a more simple and cost effective approach, you could also frame 2x6 walls, insulate with high density fiberglass, and then place 2 inches of foam on the exterior.
 

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we've blt w/icf & i was so impress'd w/speed & energy efficiency i've spec'd the same for our next home,,, payback of addl initial cost was approx 19mos - after that, its all downhill,,, if you think energy costs're going down bld conventially otherwise use icf's - fast, quieter, stronger, less expensive to maintain, lower energy costs, & lower btu furnace/air conditioning units,,, truthfully, i see no downside :thumbup:
 

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the only real downside I can think of is the unique problems in putting systems in the walls and attachments for wall coverings. Obviously this is merely learning how things are done utilizing the ICFs but for a DIY, definately something to understand before getting into the build itself.

I have never built with ICF but from what I can see, there is an added cost in installing, at least, the electrical system. The wiring cannot be simply laid into a groove behind the sheetrock (at least legally, as I interpret the code) negating the insulative value of the ICF in that area. In such an install, it has to be protected so that means either a very deep cut into the foam or something such as AC cable or even conduit unless the wall is firred out to allow the requisite 1 1/4 inches from the face of the wall.

I was cruising around the web and ran across this pic. Very impressive.

so, there is a system out there that reduces concrete requirements by allowing the ICF to form a lattice work of passages rather than making a full thick concrete wall. Anybody with comments?

http://images.google.com/imgres?img...rg.mozilla:en-US:official&sa=N&start=126&um=1

This was one of the first styles of ICF I had read about years ago. I can see inherent problems with this such as a real possibility of void, which could be devastating to the structural integrity but it would be a real cost saving for the conctrete.

here is the site of the first ICF which is the style I spoke of:
http://www.rastra.com/Finish.html
 

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we've blt w/icf & i was so impress'd w/speed & energy efficiency i've spec'd the same for our next home,,, payback of addl initial cost was approx 19mos - after that, its all downhill,,, if you think energy costs're going down bld conventially otherwise use icf's - fast, quieter, stronger, less expensive to maintain, lower energy costs, & lower btu furnace/air conditioning units,,, truthfully, i see no downside :thumbup:
It seems to me the Op is looking a little too, "short term", in this project. I don't think he understands about the ICF construction. While the forms can be DIY, the concrete needs to be pumped into the forms, not homeowner mixed and dropped in with a wheel barrow.
There are some cases where you need to pay someone else to get a superior product or base to build upon. The long term payback can outweigh the initial out of pocket costs.
Unless he's old and long term payback isn't a viable concept anymore.
I know at this point, my cats will probably out live me.
Ron
 

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Spray Foam Full House

Using spray foam insulation has a great return.

In the in Canada and specifically the Toronto area we have many builders that are offering the spray foam application as an upgrade. As opposed to traditional fibreglass and cellulose spray foam will allow for you to heat and cool your home and this product will pay for inself within a few years.

Please check out the following articles with builders using Icynene spray foam. This is a STANDARD INCLUSION, not an upgrade.


Please feel free to take a look at this ECO Logic LEED platinum housing project. This is one project that is on the leading edge for Green building in North America.

http://www.icynene.com/rodeo-ecologic
 

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Great idea! I hope these building methods catch on.
With solar/wind generator on the roof, ground loop, and radiant flooring, most of the heating/cooling is taken care of. If you have gas, look into on-demand water heaters as well.
 
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