Chittick Home Innovations: Contractor and Inspector Education - Homes Across America Search Return

Chittick Home




Goals of Innovation: The goal was for local builders and inspectors to understand and accept that resource efficient construction is a better way to build, and has market appeal.

Description: This was the first such resource-efficient home built in the Sagle, Idaho area. Consequently, the architect, Bruce Millard, worked closely with the builders and inspectors early in the design process. He walked them through the home's design details. He introduced them to his proposed construction methods.

As Bruce says, "I related the building proposal to other construction systems with which they were familiar and had used in the past. I stressed the similar aspects of the new system to show them what I proposed was not much different from the norm. Yet, these innovations offered some measurable and marketable benefits. For example, the Insulated Concrete Forms we used are two foot long insulated blocks. They are much the same as other concrete masonry units, except the ICFs are not laid in mortar and are lighter."

In addition, building inspectors were given product data from the manufacturer and the history of the product or technique in Europe and America. Bruce showed examples of what he proposed to do that had been done successfully elsewhere.

The concept of using specific ratios of glass to floor space and predominantly on the south facing wall was also a novelty. Local builders and owners often opt for views without considering environmental factors and resource efficiency. This home was designed specifically for its site and to maximize passive solar gain during the cool months, with heat retained by the mass of its concrete walls. This "integrated approach" was and is a tremendous teaching tool.

Obstacles: In Northern Idaho, wood is king. It is an area where the timber industry is strong and builders are used to using wood. Here was a break from a stick built structure, so the architect had to count on his reputation and the engineer's review to get his plans accepted. The architect was willing to invest in contractor training because he was building a home the owner wanted, and the owner was passionate about creating a long-lasting home that would stay in the family for generations.

The Trex recycled wood/plastic decking was of interest to many builders. They appreciated it had some wood content in it and, in general, "behaved" like wood. Owners were attracted to its low maintenance and durability.

As most of the resource efficient products came from a long way off, it was sometimes difficult to schedule the work and oversight because materials did not always show up when expected.

Cost Information: Overall, the cost of this home is estimated at 8% above the cost of a comparably built traditional home. This includes the architect's extra time put into working closely with the builder and inspectors. Some of the extra costs were offset by reduced materials and labor costs by building the home "green." Others will be offset by reduced operating and maintenance costs.

Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: The owners got the home they wanted and enjoy it immensely.

The architect was able to use this home in presentations on healthy, sustainable design construction.

The home has influenced local and regional contractors to use more green and healthy home building techniques in their work.

The home received a Super Good Cents Home rebate.

Related Path Technology Fact Sheet: For additional benefits, drawbacks and cost information, visit the Toolbase Services Path Technology fact sheet at: http://www.toolbase.org/ToolbaseResources/level4BP.aspx?ContentDetailID=3725&BucketID=2&CategoryID=19

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