Smarter Framing – Part II

September 30th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

Via e-mail, Ray Cox of Northfield Construction said:

I’m aware of this and have even tried it out a few times. It takes some work to both get used to it and get code officials to accept. For example. a single top plate works in theory but inspectors really give a hard time about it. There are some other things that come into play. For example, if a top plate is left off then you have to decide how you are going to handle the studs….custom cut each one from longer lumber instead of using pre-cuts….or if you use pre-cuts you will most likely have to cut down sheets of drywall. Those things pop up.

We have made major advances in framing for corners, wall partitions, rim joists, etc. to allow better insulation. The code officals accept those changes.

This framing discussion brings my line of thought back to Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), which we used for the Hougen-Eitzman Residence in Nerstrand. SIPs seem to embody the best of OVE framing: limited use of lumber, high R-value, and quick assembly in the field. In addition they provide a tight house, by nature of the system. They, too, have been around for a long time: 50 years according to one source.

For more on SIPs, see the Structural Insulated Panel Association‘s website.

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New American Dream

September 29th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

new american dream sustainable remodeling

We recently found the website for the New American Dream, and organization founded on this mission:

The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice.

The site addresses issues from daily living and purchasing to advertising and remodeling. It even suggests some ways to “turn the tide“:

1. Walk, Bike, Carpool… (Drive Less)
2. Eat Less Feedlot Beef
3. Eat Eco-friendly Seafood
4. Free Yourself From Junk Mail
5. Install Compact Flourescents
6. Stop Freezing in the Summer
7. Stop Sweating in the Winter
8. Eliminate Lawn Pesticides
9. Reduce Home Water Usage
10. Inspire Your Friends

The group, with over 30,000 members, is promoting balance and striving for what we really want in life, rather than what media tells us we need. It partners in a variety of efforts to support a better world including adocacy, action, purchasing groups, and community involvement.

We are impressed with the site, and add our endorsement to those of some big names (Meryl Streep, Jane Goodall…)

Check it out if this sounds as intriguing to you as it is to us.

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Smarter Framing

September 27th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

House Framing

Fine Home Building Magazine’s November 2005 issue has an interesting article about framing, written by Joseph Lstiburek of Building Science Corp.

What would you say to a framing option that saved time, money, energy and resources? Well, I said I’d check it out.

Basically, this system calls for careful planning during design and attention to detail through construction, something that architects do each day. It starts with using a 24″ grid for design, matching the dimension of standard construction products, and continues with careful alignment of structural loads, thicker floor sheathing, steel framing connectors, and attention to distribution of shear forces.

In the article, an example was given between conventional framing and OVE (optimum value engineering) framing for a 40’0″ length of wall. OVE’s effective R-value was 84% higher; its framing costs were $2,100 lower, and the annual heating/cooling costs were 30% lower than conventional framing. These are significant numbers.

The biggest surprise was learning that this system of framing was developed by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center in the 1960’s, the national codes have incorporated it, and it still is not common practice.

We will be doing more research into this system, and will report further in the future.

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Good Citizen Award: Jerry Nord

September 26th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

-Northfield Beauty-

Jerry Nord of Hodge-Podge-Que ((507) 645-0760) has been keeping the corner of Fifth and Division Streets beautiful with his personal collection of potted plants. He persists in the face of vandalism and theft to keep the plants watered, healthy and visually attractive.

Thanks, Jerry, for sprucing up our corner of Northfield, Minnesota.

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Making The Most Of Your Smart Decision To Hire An Interior Designer

September 26th, 2005 by Mary Schmelzer

Here is an interesting blog on finding the right interior designer for your project, how to prepare yourself to work with the designer of choice, and how the designer may work with you. The information was given so, “you get the most design for your dollar and that you have a fun and fabulous experience, no matter what type of project is ahead of you.”

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Raingutter Regatta!

September 21st, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

Cub Scout Pack 300 had its first Pack Meeting of the year last night, and held their first Raingutter Regatta. The night was a lot of fun! First the boys built and decorated their boats. Then, while the glue dried, there was a skit by the Tiger Cub Den. Finally the race was on!

Admidst cheering and clapping, each boy blew his boat through to the finish line. Noah Schmelzer blew the hardest and won the trophy!

I serve as the Cub Master for Pack 300 and would be happy to talk to you and your son about joining Cub Scouts!

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New glass kitchen products

September 21st, 2005 by Mary Schmelzer

Val Cucine, an innovative kitchen product company from Italy, has a new line called Vitrum. The line features tempered glass countertops, doors and drawer fronts in 10 colors. Val Cucine has a showroom at the International Market Square in Minneapolis. The company is widely known for their European style and environmental friendliness. You can see more at their web site.

Val Cucine kitchen vignette

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