Stick Frame Construction is the Weakest and Least Energy Efficient Method of Construction Allowed by Law

I'll say it again.  Stick frame construction - the way more than 98% of the homes built in the United States are built - is the LEAST energy efficient and weakest method of construction allowable by law - i.e. "building code".  And due to the massive long term energy losses I would argue that it is certainly NOT "green building" no matter how much bamboo flooring you install (ok that's a reference to some previous posts about bamboo also not being a "green" building material).

As we have noted countless other times, BY LAW (building code) a stick frame home is almost 25% wood on the exterior of the building.  This if course is the framing required to support the structure - walls, roof, floor, etc.  And windows and doors account for another 20-25% of the surface area of the building envelope for many new homes.  With the very low R values for wood and glass - this means that about 50% of many home's building envelope is about R4 or R5.  It almost DOESN'T MATTER what kind of insulation you are using if you have a stick frame home because you are pulling from such a low baseline (50% at about R4 or R5).

If you want to start a movement that will have a SERIOUS impact, consider this.  According to the US Census, a whopping 30% of the homes in the US were built in the last 20 years or so - and almost all of those were stick-frame construction.  The SINGLE GREATEST sorce of energy consumption in America is the energy consumed by buildings - accounting for FORTY PERCENT of our country's total energy consumption (transportation is a distant second at approx 30%).  And these buildings' single largest use of energy is that associated with heating and cooling.  Eco-Panels has been shown to reduce total energy consumption in buildings by OVER 50% time and time again (over 70% in some cases).  What if just 10% of the homes in the next 20 years were able to reduce their energy consumption by 50-70%?  That alone could make a larger impact to our country's energy consumption for less money than most forms of renewable energy.

As our world frets over increasing carbon pollution, rising temperatures and crazy weather, the SINGLE GREATEST thing we can do to assist in reducing carbon emissions is to eliminate the thermal bridging associated with this very antiquated - almost 200 year old - technology of stick frame construction that we continue to use to this day.  And this isn't Eco-Panels saying this - the US Dept of Energy noted it years ago.  And don't even talk to me about "wrapping" insulation around stick-frame construction to eliminate or reduce thermal bridging.  That's "lipstick on a pig" for a variety of reasons - and can potentially give you a WEAKER home than you would otherwise have.  Trees are just about the single most efficient user of carbon dioxide and producer of oxygen in the world - and arguments promoting wood framing as a carbon sink have been proven innacurate and disingenuous and based on accounting gimmicks.  The wooden studs in a stick framed home will waste FAR MORE energy (hence carbon, often from coal fired power plants) over the years than you can gain with a single effort of "sequestering" carbon in the wood itself.

When building a new home, and BEFORE you look at renewable energy sources - solar panels, solar thermal water heating, geothermal heating, etc, you MUST start with the building envelope.  Otherwise you've got - for example - expensive PV panels on your roof generating electricity (on sunny days only of course) and HALF of that energy is potentially leaking out of your building envelope.  That's just crazy.  We've shown previously how investing in the building envelope - building it right the first time - can offer a 10x ROI when compared to investing in renewable energy solutions for your home.  The perfect building envelope can be "heated with a matchstick and cooled with an ice cube", and many of our clients see a positive return on investment in the very first month.  This is what we at Eco-Panels try to bring to the table in the simplest most elegant solution on the market today.