The very first step in building a sustainable, energy efficient home is to make sure that you have a well insulated shell. Timber frames and hybrid timber frame homes when enclosed with structural insulated panels are a great beginning.
R-values don’t tell the whole story. If a wall has a high R-value and isn’t sealed properly, the efficiency is lost. With most insulated panels thermal breaks are minimized and there should be no leakage. Windows aren’t as efficient as walls, but proper sealing will minimize the loss of hot and cold air seasonally.
As you plan your new timber frame, look at the different enclosure options. At Goshen we enclose all of our homes (and build the hybrid portion of our hybrid timber frames) with polyurethane core structural insulated panels. They go up quickly, wrapping the home in an energy efficient shell, and offer maximum R-values per inch of thickness.
With an R-40 roof and R-24 walls, we are seeing minimal cooling and heating bills in all of our homes. Our personal energy bill for the month of July is posted on our Building A Timber Frame Blog . We didn’t take extraordinary steps to minimize the utility bill, kept the house at a comfortable temperature, and have been pleased with what we’ve had to spend to heat and cool.
For a look at a hybrid timber frame home raised and enclosed in insulated panels, check out this video by Rick and Debbie in Dahlonega, Georgia. They will soon be moving into
their new home and expect excellent performance from their panels (and exceptional beauty from their timber frame home). I’m sure they won’t be disappointed on either account.
So, do your research and build an energy efficient home and enjoy the benefits for many, many years.