Re: Building panels, etc
From: Buzz Burrell (
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 00:22:08 -0600
I suggested manufactured housing was a very good method often overlooked ... but
I never mentioned foam building panels, which is not considered manufactured
housing.  But now that you've mentioned it...

*R-Control panels are the biggest brand, but like Mark said, regional
manufacturers now exist.  

*I really respect and appreciate the concerns about foam outgassing and having a
high emodied energy.  However, keep in mind that fiberglass, which is what 95%
of our insulation is, is not exactly tofu.  I hate working with fiberglass, but
bead board is fine. 

*As someone else asked, which uses less energy?  Fiberglass is a notorious air
leaker;  an R-Control house is very tight, and actually performs to spec.

*At this time, the "Stressed Skin Panel Insulation" (what they are really
called) still have problems.  They are not as easy to work with as expected.  I
think in time this will be solved.  They are not practical on the south side,
since there are so many openings.  And finally, they have priced them abnormally
high, intentionally appealing only to a small market.

*The suggestion was made that a post and beam straw bale construction is better.
I heartily agree.  But how many of those have you seen?  For the majority of
people on this list, its fantasy.  Its not for me, but its important to allow
people to make the incremental steps.  And (echoing still another persons
statement that it is a complicated issue),  keep in mind that post and beam uses
the SAME amount of wood as stick framing.  All the straw bale houses my friends
are building are structural (no other framing) ... which at present, doesn't
meet code.

I think this is a real good discussion, and very worthy thoughts and questions
are being expressed.

Finally, from Mark Frauenglass, who signed off::

"Highline Crossing - conventionally framed 6" exterior walls, couldn't afford
spray in cellulose,
floors and roofs out of TJI's.  Within our lifetimes all studs will be
manufactured and dimensional lumber will be a thing of the past."

Love it Mark!  I'm writing this from Australia.  Just yesterday I passed by a
subdivision going up;  all conventional, middle class, mass produced,
stereotyped houses.  For Australia;  not for the US.  I estimate these  houses
used *1/6* the amount of wood of the typical american production house!
Completely different methods and materials.

I probably will post a report soon, but for now let me say this:  "...within our
lifetimes..." is here now, if one leaves the States!  From Europe to Asia to
Downunder, the simple shortage of vast tracks of timber trees have led them to
use very attractive, easy, effective, and cheap methods and materials that leave
the forests standing.  The economic incentive in action.  The statement "It
can't be done any other way" is, of course, a smokescreen.  

Take Care,

Buzz Burrell
72253.2101 [at]
Sydney, AUS

(I've seen a Wallaby, but no Kangaroos so far.  Come on, I know you were going
to ask).

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