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Project Participants:

Palisade Construction

Sugar Bowl Ski House


This home incorporates Vitruvian Built custom wall panels, made with EPS (Expanded Polytyrene) and light gauge steel. This unique wall system has been developed by Vitruvian utilizing new technology, new ideas and alternative materials. Combined with proprietary software to cut-list and provide shop drawing accuracy to all elements of the structure and finishes, the result is an overall efficiency that will reduce material drop waste to about 2%, that can then be 100% recycled, resulting in no landfill demands from panel production process.

The basic wall construction consists of 1 x 2 galvanized steel studs embedded in EPS panels with continuous foam in between framing members. This minimizes heat loss through thermal bridging, typical of conventional framing. Continuous foam also provides a tightly sealed building envelope with minimal wall penetrations, greatly reducing air leakage and resulting in increased overall efficiency.

EPS foam panels do not require plywood sheathing reducing VOC off gassing. Once fabricated and installed, EPS foam has zero off gassing thus improving air quality in the building. Without plywood skins, overall reduced weight of the panels allows for easier manipulation and installation. After basic staging, all the wall panels on this project were erected by hand while the absence of an interior sheet of plywood allows for plumbing and electrical chases to be cut in on site.

With an R-value of 4.5/inch, the walls will be R-34 and the roof will be R-54. A single 100-gallon water heater with heat exchanger to a hydronic system will be the primary source of heat for the house.

Vitruvian uses locally sourced materials: EPS from Dixon Calif. and steel from Fontana Calif. to reduce overall carbon footprint.



Further engineering has since been done to allow for more complete use of foam panels in place of traditional wood framing. Specifically, roof design has been refined to allow for panels to be used instead of glu-Iam rafters even in heavy snow load situations. Generating accurate "as-built" specifications prior to panel fabrication minimizes site modifications of panels. Ensuring that foundations are exact and accurate facilitates efficient panel assembly. Slightly under sizing panels in tight/tight situations allows for easier install, and gaps can then easily be filled with spray foam. Ensure quality control of panel fabrication and document all site modifications. Develop organizational methods on site to maximize efficiency when staging panels for construction.



One of the bigger challenges faced with this project was overcoming objections to working with an alternative building material both with workers assembling the product, and with local inspectors evaluating construction. Traditions run deep within the construction industry, and maintaining positive attitudes toward working with a new materials and requiring new techniques can be difficult. Panelized building makes a lot of sense, and is becoming more and more common. With time these practices will become the norm.

Project: Hannah Ski House

Owners: Josh Hannah, Denise Yamamoto

Designer: Mark Becker Inc.

Builder/Contractor: Duane Heil: The August Company/ Vitruvian Built

Project Management: Ian Waight: Palisade Construction

Date of Construction: 2010 to 2011

Size: Approx 4,500 sq ft

Location: Sugar Bowl

Building Construction Type: Vitruvian Built EPS panel wall systems, steel post and beam, stick frame roof

Heating Systems: Hydronic radiant heat, Isokern high efficiency propane fireplace

Tags: New Construction
Healthy Interiors (IAQ)
Structural Integrated Panels (SIPs)
Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Mail can be sent to: SiGBA P.O. Box 4245 Truckee, CA 96160

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