Sunday, March 31, 2013

Presenting our Research into Swedish Housing, continuing

Back in September 2012 Scott Hedges and I presented a summary of our research into Swedish building techniques at the Fall conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. That conference was focused on off-site construction. Part of the fall-out from that conference was an invitation to present at another conference, this time organized by Pennsylvania State University's Pennsylvania Housing Research Center and held towards the end of February 2013 in Allentown, PA, and at a Conference on Pre-Fab building in New Zealand in March 2013.

PHRC organizes several conferences each year, notably on Land Development and Housing. These conferences are attended by Developers and Builders, both coming to present their work and to hear about the work of others. This year PHRC for the first time held a conference on Residential Design & Construction which is where our research was presented. The subject matter was broad on all manner of research.

The conferences on Housing and Land Development were held concurrently at the same venue, and there was some mixing of the groups who were free to attend talks in the other events. And these events are annual, so the same kind of gathering will take place next year as well.

Continue reading "Presenting our Research into Swedish Housing, continuing"

Friday, March 22, 2013

Extensive Plat House mod's continue

Last month we posted the floor plan of an extensively modified Plat House that was shipping out to a customer in Hawaii. Today we have an equally modified Plat House going out to a customer in Oregon.

While this one also takes off from the 3 bedroom version of the Plat House, the big transformation here is in the living areas, more so than the bedrooms.

Its looking like these two may go under construction at the same time. That would be fun!

Continue reading "Extensive Plat House mod's continue"

Friday, March 08, 2013

Building High Performance Walls, Working with stone wool

I came across a great series of videos on YouTube from a Swedish catalog house builder showing the insulation steps in completing their walls. This catalog house builder happens to work on site, not in a factory, so its particularly useful for American builders trying a Layered Nordic Wall system like USA New Wall building it on site.

This first video shows the primary wall cavity being insulated. Note how easily the stone wool is cut and handled, and how it friction fits into place without stapling. See that the insulation can be easily slid vertically to fit into concealed areas, such as behind the ledger for second floor joists as in Swedish Platform Framing.

Now in this second video they will be installing the horizontal furring, which in the USA New Wall forms the wiring chase. The astute reader will say "Hey, where is their vapor control layer? They are putting up the furring without it?" If so, good observation. The reason is that this manufacturer builds their wall a little bit differently. This first layer of horizontal furring is mainly to create a thermal break for the studs. After they insulate this layer of furring they will go over this with a vapor control membrane, and then a second layer of vertical furring that forms their wiring space.

This is actually a very effective system, because this second layer of furring is offset from the studs breaking the remaining thermal bridges where the first furring rests across the studs. They get a complete thermal break just like you do with continuous exterior insulation, but none of the complications with window frames and flashing details. Watch them do this in the next video. You'll see that they have a vapor control layer installed around the entire interior, walls and ceiling - interior partitions are not framed yet, only bearing partitions. So you can see how there is an air tight "bag" around the entire conditioned space.

And why is it that you are up on ladders putting adhesive tape all over your sheathing? Its much easier to do air-tight and vapor control at the same place.

Continue reading "Building High Performance Walls, Working with stone wool"