Working With Luxury Simplified Team Along South Carolina Coast

For several years now Eco-Panels has been working with our good friends with the development team at Luxury Simplified along the South Carolina coast from Charleston and Folly Beach down to the Bluffton and Hilton Head areas.  We continue to be impressed with both the beauty of what the create and the vision of their own legacy.  Welsh born developer Chris Leigh-Jones - president of Luxury Simplified - spoke to us recently from the 4th Floor of his beautifully restored downtown Charleston office headquarters - "We searched quite a bit for a better way to build homes - I'm not a fan of the old fashioned stud frame construction everyone uses here in the states - it's inherently weak and not at all energy efficient no matter what the builder tells you.  It's a fact that insulation and wood framing can not occupy the same space - and a very large portion of the building envelope, especially in a coastal region like Charleston, requires lots of stud framing for the higher strength of the building.  The Eco-Panels solution tackles this problem in spades with an interlocking pre-engineered panel system that eliminates most all of the stud framing in a wall system while creating a significantly stronger and more energy efficient building.  And their single piece corner panel goes a long way in making these buildings much stronger than a stud framed home could ever be.  After we first worked with their system it quickly became apparent there was not even a contest with stud frame if strength and energy efficiency was important to the consumer.  And a faster dry-in time doesn't hurt either, especially when for what seems like a third of the year we can have massive storms bearing down on us at any minute."

So if you are ever in the area, please stop by and see the beautiful work being done every day by the team at Luxury Simplified - and tell them Eco-Panels recommended them for your holiday rental or new home!

Eco-Panels - Capable of Withstanding 400mph Winds!

Eco-Panels recently partnered with the Construction Management Program at Western Carolina University to test panels for a large international project for the National Science Foundation.  The results were quite impressive, and here is a brief flyer we just put out this past week.  The larger photo shows an R60 rated panel under about 13,000 lbs load over a 12ft span, and the inset photo shows loading of about 15,000 lbs over an 8ft span - and that is our standard R26 rated (at 52degF) 4.5" thick wall panel!

Wind Load Testing Eco-Panels at WCU

Fire Resistant Passive House for about $100/sqft

This client has a goat farm in North Carolina.  They had tried to build "green" homes before, but they say none have been as good as this one.  Whether it's in the 'teens outside in winter or around 100 degrees outside in the summer, they say the house stays pretty much the same temperature year round without ever having to turn on their HVAC system.  It's through working with so many amazing clients doing amazing things that we get to experience so many different facets of this new and growing market for building homes that are stronger, safer and significantly more energy efficient than homes have ever been before.  We are proud to know and to have worked with them.

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Eco-Panels Takes Green Building In Asheville To A Whole New Level

Last month saw a quiet revolution in the high-end Sovereign Oaks community just outside Asheville, North Carolina. After spending years researching the best methods for home construction, the Client - a professional engineer - partnered with a WNC custom home builder and North Carolina based Eco-Panels. In just about three hours the pre-fabricated wall system of a garage apartment home (a pre-cursor to the future larger primary residence) was erected and the resulting home will be so energy efficient that a few solar panels on the roof will allow it to produce more energy than it consumes.

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While most previous homes in the development have been marketed as "green building" and they certainly have a very high level of beautiful finishes, they are almost in total made of stud frame construction, the weakest and least energy efficient method of construction allowed by law. In contrast the Eco-Panels wall system installed on this site - at 6.5" thick - will offer a final insulation "R" value exceeding R40 across the beautiful four seasons this home will enjoy.

"This home's wall system will perform at 200-300% higher levels than the wall systems in the homes sold by the other builders in this development" says Charles Leahy, president of Eco-Panels. "Think about it - where you have wooden studs in a home, you can not have insulation - and so you are sacrificing energy efficiency through what's called "thermal bridging", where your home's HVAC energy (and comfort) is lost through the wood framing of the walls or roof system.

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And when you have fewer studs to try and create a more energy efficient structure, the resulting structure will not be as strong as one reinforced with more studs. It's a "Catch-22" for any structure when pursuing both strength and insulation. In fact when comparing the strength of our panel system to a stud framed wall the difference really is off the charts. Fasteners will hold sheathing to a stud framed home at a rate of about 80-90 lbs per fastener (nail or screw), producing an average holding force of about 100 to almost 300 lbs per wall sqft - and this is a huge deal when high winds come around. By contrast our panel system with proprietary flame retardant foam core has a bonding strength exceeding 10,000 lbs per panel sqft! Coupled with our unique and patented single piece corner panels - proven to create a stronger and more energy efficient structure - these homes can stand up to the toughest that mother nature has in store for any home. In fact on the Island of Saint John in the US Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma in 2017 a resort developer told us that in his development of 30 to 40 buildings, the ONLY structures to entirely survive the devastation still structurally sound and habitable were his "green" award-winning buildings made out of Eco-Panels. All the other buildings in the development were either partially or entirely destroyed by the massive storm." Wow - that's quite impressive!
Stud frame construction has been around for almost 200 yrs, and framing with 2x6 wooden studs to create a stronger and more energy efficient home has been around since the 1860s. But framing a house with wooden studs is a complex manufacturing process that requires skill and is fraught with opportunities for error - and for this reason we see portions Eco-Panels believes that in the future a well-informed client will work with their builder to select their panel system because it can help to create a stronger, safer and significantly more energy efficient home for about the same cost as a "green-built" stud framed home.

Thinking Of Building A New Home?

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Are you thinking of building a new home?  Or purchasing a newly built home?  Great!  We are here to help.  Probably 98% of our business is derived from clients that approach our company looking for a "better way" to build a home.  More and more clients building homes today have educated themselves through on-line research and speaking with informed individuals and they realize that stud frame construction - the weakest and least energy efficient method of construction allowed by law - will cost them MORE MONEY over time than if they had purchased a better solution to start with.  While most clients either bring a builder to the table or ask us for assistance in helping them find a builder - I'm guessing fully one third of our clients are owner-builders - and often darn smart owner-builders as well.  We provide all the assistance and advice we can - for free - with the hopes that you will purchase panels from our company.

So if you are looking for a new home - BEWARE purchasing a spec-built home.  You know those builders that always seem to have homes for sale through their website?  We have actually approached -or been approached by - a few of those builders - like in Asheville NC - and we quickly found out that they simply working for their investors to make a certain return on investment.  "If you can't see it" then odds are they have taken the less expensive way out.  We approached a very popular "green builder" in Asheville several times and finally got an opportunity to provide pricing for our product instead of them building it out of wooden studs and spray foam.  After review he said our cost was about $3,500 premium and he would just as soon put that money in his pocket.  Now forget about the fact that the home would have been about twice as energy efficient, MUCH stronger in structure, more comfortable and safer to live in (from fire and cleaner interior air).  They were selling the home for more than $300,000 - so we were only about a 1% premium for supplying a significantly superior home.  But as he had said - that was money in his pocket - he wasn't building spec homes for a future consumer - he was building them to make money for himself and his investors.  We get that.  So we advise clients to help them build their own home - where THEY are in charge.  Fortunately there are also still many great builders out there that are happy to assist you in building a home the way you want it - and that's the way it should be.

Speaking of Asheville - I recently drove around Asheville at night with a thermal imaging camera and took photos of homes built by some popular green builders - and I also took thermal photos of homes made from our panels on the very same nights - so you have a good comparison if it was the same temperature outside.  Take a look - the difference is quite remarkable.  This is evidence plain and simple that these homes are leaking energy at an amazing rate - energy that will cost you money for the entire life of the home - and money you would not have to be paying if you had paid a little more upfront for our panels.

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