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Rougemont, North Carolina

Field Evaluation: Howard Building Company

Project Profile and Results

Full Report December 2001

Howard Building Company, a North Carolina builder and remodeler, constructed a high tech home on a pastoral seven-acre site in Rougemont, NC, 15 miles north of Durham. Coined as his "hybrid" house because it incorporates many emerging technologies into a traditional floor plan and community, the site became the new home of the owner, Neil Howard, and his family.

The 3,100 square foot raised ranch was constructed of Thermasteel ® wall panels. These composite panels measure 4' x 8' x 5 ½" at basement walkout walls and 4' x 8' x 3 ½" at main (first) floor walls. The panels were custom fabricated to the builder's plan with 24 gage, G-90, galvanized steel channels and pre-expanded polystyrene foam (EPS). The ¾" x 3 ½" x ¾" steel channels were placed flat at 16" on each side of the panels. This allowed the EPS to serve as a thermal break between outside and inside channel members and provided an attachment surface for finish materials. At the site, the panels were set into a base channel and screwed to its lip. Ship-lapped vertical edge joints were connected with steel plates screwed to each adjacent panel's steel channel. Panels were molded with one vertical and one horizontal wire chase. The manufacturer claimed that the 5½" panel had an R-23 and the 3 ½" panel an R-15 thermal resistance value.

Flexible plastic piping supplied radiant heat flooring at basement level. Radiant barriers were installed at the basement CMU walls and beneath the slab. Low voltage fluorescent lighting was used throughout. The roof was metal standing seam and the truss heels were raised to allow installation of energy-code-prescribed insulation thickness at the eaves. To limit through-the-roof penetrations, air admittance valves were installed on plumbing vent stacks.

The Howard Building Company's project was completed in March 2001. The NAHB Research Center staff monitored the project's progress and will report on the costs and labor efficiencies associated with Thermasteel composite panels.

See the project profile for construction photos and status.

Content updated on 11/20/2006

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