Tiny Cabins or Cottages

roof onLots of talk these days about tiny houses, homes, cottages or cabins.  Companies like the very well known Tumbleweed and many others have some very nice looking product on the market - very pretty and quaint.  And I'm amazed at the prices they are charging for these - $30,000, $40,000 and even $50,000 for many designs that are sometimes less than 100 sf and often not larger than 200 sf.

The sad thing about most all of these cottages is that they are stick built.  While building code sometimes does not apply to very small structures (sometimes it does) to ensure structural integrity, stick framing is an incredibly energy inefficient way to build because of the volume of wood required to maintain structure.  Building scientists working for the US Dept of Energy have noted that stick-built homes are approx 25% wood frame that has R value of 1 per inch.  When you combine that with all of the windows and doors that often take up more than 20% of the wall surface area, you are looking at a weighted average R values of 4 or 5 for 50% of the walls.  That means that WHATEVER insulation is used, cheap or premium, you've still got 50% of the walls that are about R4 or 5.  And stick-framed flooring and roofing still has significant thermal wicking - it's simply a losing battle when trying to stay comfortable.

wall panels going up starting with front corner panelUsing Eco-Panels rapidly erected cam-lock panels and single piece corner panels this cottage was erected quickly by four persons.  It has LP Smartside (carries 50 year mfg warranty) on the exterior of the lower wall panels and Huber ZIP System on the gable end for later covering with shingles.  All wall panels are floor and wall panels up4.5" thick and offer a continuous R26.  The roof panels can be R26 or R40 and are OSB sided for covering by either shingles or a metal roof after the application of felt (tar paper).  The floor panels are also 4.5" thick and R26 rated and the top surface is a 5/8" thick flooring product and the underside is 1/2" treated plywood.  The interior would be trimmed out as you see fit at your own pace.  All door and window openings are pre-framed out as well, and electrical boxes with wire chases are pre-installed.

This almost 200sf cabin would typically retail for between $9,900 and $15,000 depending upon R values and finishes you are looking for, less windows and doors.  And if you are looking for other sizes, simply let us know!  This unit can be heated with a simple small electric heater from the drugstore.

Interior - note ridge beam in beam pocket gable panelSiding with shingles on gable end

Lost Power? Get Eco-Panels!

We hear that so many people in the New York and New Jersey area are still without power - even in large city-run affordable housing complexes.  This is a tough situation for many in that region, but having homes made from traditional methods of construction, from stick-built to even steel or concrete frames with a brick facade, all with traditional methods of insulation, curse entire economies to both high energy consumption and bills (when there is power) or numbing cold when there is no power.

This is true whether you live in the path of a hurricane or you are a prepper looking for an off-grid retreat or cabin from North Dakota to Mississippi that you could easily build yourself.  When you have the most perfectly insulated and rapidly erected building envelope on the market today, you can actually leverage sources of heat that are simply not realized when you have traditional methods of stick or steel-frame construction.  Did you know that simply being present in a perfectly insulated room will raise the temperature of that room?  This is because our own bodies give off (radiate) heat.  The more people, the more activity, the more heat.

We have worked with physicists and biologists to build structures that - without any external sources of power - can grow tomatoes year round from North Carolina to Alaska yet can be built in a day - all because of our super-insulated building panels.  The same concepts can be used by yourself - whether in the inner city or the wilds of Tennessee - to save huge sums of money over the life of a structure and prepare for times when there is simply no power to provide yourself and your family a stronger, safer and significantly more energy efficient home or workplace than traditional methods of construction can ever hope to achieve.

Well Hoods and Pump Houses

As a company we see lots of opportunity for, and actually have lots of experience in using our rapidly erected and super-insulated building panels for reasons far beyond traditional construction of homes, apartment buildings, churches or schools.  You may not be aware, but in just about every neighborhood in America there are "pump houses" that house the equipment required to keep your community's water and septic system flowing smoothly.  These are small structures typically made out of concrete panels - out of habit - but concrete itself is a CONDUCTOR of thermal energy, not an insulator, and cranes are required to set the panels.  Our panels will insulate the interior equipment against the cold, and provide excellent sound attenuation as well.  We can provide water resistant or chemical resistant interior siding skins where required.

And a growing petroleum industry requires "hoods" or covers over well heads that will prevent them from freezing up in cold weather.  Often these are stick-built structures that can take a couple of days to put in place and insulate - or they are brought in pre-assembled but then a crane or boom is required and shipping cost is high.  Eco-Panels can fit the panels for 8 or 10 separate small well hoods on a flat bed truck for shipment to a region, and then the panels can be off-loaded to pick-up trucks for transport to the locations where they are required, often being erected in just a couple of hours.

What other uses do you have in mind?

Renovating Inner-City or Existing Buildings

In answering a number of questions we have had recently regarding retro-fitting or renovating existing buildings, YES!  We can do that.  For example we have provided R40 roof panels to inner-city redevelopment projects where the interior skin of the roof panels was an attractive furniture grade plywood skin and the exterior of the panel was a fire-rated ply that had a membrane roof.

Our wall panels have been clad over existing framing after the previous siding and insulation has been removed and cleaned out - this would be a non-structural application of our panels, though would certainly make a structure stronger and more resilient to the elements.

Trailers or stick-construction not the answer for hurried winter housing

I have family in New York City that were immediately affected by Hurricane Sandy, and I know people living in trailer and modular housing in petroleum rich parts of the country.  None of them are looking forward to a warm and cozy winter.  Most trailer manufacturers build the cheapest unit they can sell in volume, and these are often carted all around the country in response to a housing boom here or a disaster there.  Winter is fast approaching and the vast majority of trailers I have seen on the market are not intended for long term winter weather.

Please take a look at the videos on our website homepage.  We show how rapidly our panels can be assembled into temporary or permanent housing for disaster relief or man-camps.  From small super-insulated, net-zero or passive house type cottages to large homes, there is no better insulated and rapidly erected building system on the market today.  Eco-Panels participated in the reconstruction of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and we can assist after Hurricane Sandy.  Further, our unique single piece corner panel will create a significantly stronger and warmer building envelope than traditional construction - where two walls come together is one of the weakest parts of a home's structure, and also one of the toughest to insulate.  We simply eliminate that problem.  Of course we can also provide products like standard insulation (nailbase) panels or high R value trailer skirting where needed.

From small house plans to large, please contact us today for your warm and rapidly erected housing needs!

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