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
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.
Hannah Ski House
Josh Hannah, Denise Yamamoto
Mark Becker Inc.
Builder/Contractor: Duane Heil: The August Company/ Vitruvian Built
Project Management: Ian Waight: Palisade Construction
Date of Construction: 2010 to 2011
Approx 4,500 sq ft
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