"Where building performance keeps you covered." West Gardiner, ME • (207) 754-4244

The Building Shell System

Meaning of "Ultra-High Performance"™

The rationale behind labeling this building system as delivering at an "Ultra-High Performance"™ level is based on the system's ability to deliver an extraordinary level of positive financial, physical and environmental benefits at both a lower purchase price and at a lower ownership cost than most other modern and high quality building systems on the market today. The following information will provide the details and unique set of benefits and advantages that support the "Ultra-High Performance"™ label.

21st Century Approach

As caring, concerned and responsible humans, we all need to learn how to stretch the limited and depleting resources that our planet provides to us. To this end, this building system is designed to achieve these objectives in a far more cost effective, common sense and environmentally responsible manner than most any other building approach on the market today. This "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™, requires less materials and resources to provide owners with an extensive range of short and long term benefits. This "Less is More" approach simply takes advantage of the most efficient geometry to create very rugged, free standing, low energy and maintenance, and small environmental footprint buildings that can be used in most every sector of the real estate market. The following information in this section is designed to educate you on how and why this building system is the right choice for those wanting buildings designed to meet the growing financial, physical and environmental challenges facing all of us in the 21st Century.

Why The Arch Shape?

There are several important reasons why the arch is the most practical geometry to use in constructing buildings. An arch shaped structure can cover a given floor area using less building materials and other resources in the construction process. This geometry reduces the exterior square footage exposed to the wear and tear of the nature’s elements, which directly reduces both energy and maintenance costs. From the structural side, less material is often required in framing the building while actually generating a stronger structure than with a conventional building, a serious consideration relative to the higher wind, snow load and storm conditions escalating every year. An arch style structure provides all the benefits of a free standing and totally open building shell where there is no limitation to how the interior space can be laid out for an unlimited variety of uses, and where changing floor plans is simpler and less expensive in the future. With the structure totally free standing, lofts and second floors can be constructed only when desired or needed since they do not play a structural role in the building shell system.

Why The Shell?

The shell of a building is the single element in the structure that has direct effect on all 7 key performance factors that impact the short and long term financial, physical and environmental performance of a building. These factors include ownership cost, structural integrity, speed of construction, interior layout limitations, energy and maintenance costs and environmental footprint. This building shell system delivers low ownership cost, rugged and fast construction, unlimited interior layout options, low energy and maintenance costs and all packaged within a smaller environmental footprint.

One Shell Fits All

This system provides a rugged and structurally free standing building shell where the interior can be laid out to efficiently serve the needs of residential, multi-family, vacation, agricultural, retail, commercial, professional and other real estate uses. The Design Concept Gallery section provides many excellent illustrations of the endless range of design features that can be added to a basic building shell to create your own unique building creation

The Shell

The arch shell system utilizes versatile Lego Block style components including steel connectors, engineered wood timbers, and structural insulated panels (SIPs). Steel glulam shoes and hangers are mechanically connected to the arch ribs to the ridge beam spine of the structure. The shoes provide the raceways for running electrical and water lines along the interior side walls of the structure. Once the rib cage is constructed, SIP panels are glued and mechanically connected to the timbers. This rapid assembly system produces a very rugged, tight and secure building shell capable of withstanding heavier wind, snow load and storm conditions than most other building systems. Most shell packages can be erected and made weather tight within 7 to 10 days once the foundation is in place and all of the required materials are on site.

Planning for Change & Growth

This system has designed into it the invaluable benefit of being able to economically expand floor area at any time in the future, if more living or working space is required. Lofts and second floors can be installed in the 15 and 17 panel shell systems. Additional glulams and SIPs can be added to lengthen the building. Additional shells can be attached perpendicular to the sides of the original structure. The free standing nature of the structure also allows for easier and less expensing floor plan changes when the urge or necessity materializes.

Performance Metrics & Deliverables

The backbone of the 21st century construction "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™ is its ability to deliver on all 7 of the critical performance elements that significantly lowers ownership cost and improves physical performance, all within a smaller environmental footprint.

  1. Lower Full Life Cycle Ownership Cost: (see Ownership Cost and Resale Value sections for more details)
    1. Very short construction cycle to lessen construction and carrying costs
    2. Less building materials in the construction of the structure per a given footprint size
    3. Less exterior surface area exposed to the elements reduces exterior maintenance and energy costs
    4. Expected higher long term resale value;
      1. Modern and high tech appearance
      2. Rugged structure to perform well under emerging more severe weather patterns
      3. Perpetually flexible interior layout opportunities
      4. Very low energy and maintenance requirements
      5. Meeting or exceeding all current national building and above building code programs
  2. Rapid Construction:
    1. Only 3 factory manufactured components to assemble into a building shell
    2. Entire system can be delivered on one truck
    3. Trades people working efficiently and comfortably under cover in less than one week
  3. Rugged Construction:
    1. Exceedingly rugged factory manufactured components used to construct building shell
    2. Arch construction naturally adds significant rigidity and strength to structure
    3. Building shell engineered to perform very well under severe weather conditions
    4. Density of the structure provides for a much quieter interior environment
  4. Open Space System:
    1. With no internal load bearing walls, owners can create their own personal layout and flexible floor plans to creatively fit their living, socializing and working preferences.
    2. The natural flow of arch geometry provides for a much more open, comfortable and healthy interior space than the cubic, boxy and restricted air circulation space provided in conventional buildings.
    3. Open space concept facilities faster, easier and less expensive future floor plan changes
  5. Low Energy Consumption: (see Insulation section for more details)
    1. The framework for this energy efficient construction system is covered in a solid band of closed cell high density foam, the insulation material that has the highest R value per inch of thickness.
    2. The arch style shell covers a buildings footprint with less square footage of exterior surface area exposed to the elements and subject to energy transfer.
  6. Low Maintenance:
    1. Combined rugged construction with less square footage of exterior area exposed to the elements reduces long term overall maintenance costs.
    2. Up to 50 year life span exterior skin materials can be used to minimize building maintenance
    3. Uninterrupted high density foam wall panels eliminate voids that accumulate moisture and mold
  7. Smaller Carbon and Environmental Footprint: (see "Building & Environmental Codes & Standards" section for more details)
    1. The system uses a high percentage of renewable resource wood construction material, the planet’s most natural and environmentally responsible building and manufacturing material.
    2. Much of the wood used is recovered and underutilized material, contributing to better utilization and management of our forest resources.
    3. An exceedingly low volume of solid waste material is generated throughout the manufacturing and system assembly processes for these very Green homes.
    4. Up to a 2,600 square foot building package can be delivered on a single truckload.
    5. Less building materials are consumed to generate every square foot of interior useable space.
    6. Maximum rain water collection opportunity with this building shell system.
    7. Significantly exceeds HERS and Energy Star performance ratings standards.
    8. Eligible to achieve Net Zero and LEED for Home Gold ratings.

Building & Environmental Codes & Standards

This building system meets or exceeds the most stringent energy code, 2015 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), scores 45% to 55% better than the standard reference design used in IECC and HERS Index (Based on 2006 IECC) and 25% better than the Energy Star models and meets many more utility and above code programs. In addition, the performance of this building system positions it to more easily achieve the LEED for Home Gold Level as well as a Net Zero rating. Considering that few, if any, other cost competitive Green construction systems available today meet or exceed every one of these standards programs, and that an objective is emerging across the building industry to use these construction and performance standards as benchmarks in the future to assist lenders, appraisers and buyers to establish more reliable "Performance Based" real estate values, the right building choice today is imperative if owners want to hedge their bet on greater long term resale value, a higher Return on Investment and the sale ability of their property.


To maximize energy performance and minimize energy cost, this building uses a four stage insulating system. First, the shell is covered in very dense curved 6" thick "Ultra High Performance", structural insulated panels (SIPs). Second, each SIP panel is manufactured with a recess area around the entire perimeter of the panel. Once installed, high density foam is injected to fill the cavities around every panel to form a solid and uninterrupted band of insulation over the entire curved shell. Third, the interior framing cavities of both gable end walls are sprayed with additional high density foam, a process that efficiently fills in very small spaces that other insulating material would not perform as well in. This third stage adds both increased insulation performance and higher structural integrity to these wall assemblies. And fourth, the exterior surface of the gable ends are sheathed with a layer of foam board insulation to act as a thermal barrier for any potential thermal transfer through the gable end framing materials. To enhance the insulating performance of the system, no channels, cavities or slots are cut into the insulation area for running mechanical systems since wiring and plumbing materials are run and protected inside the shell.

Even though the 5 1/8" thick layer of closed cell and high density foam within the SIP panels generates a total R value of about 35, the system actually performs at a significantly higher R value level than the same thickness of fiberglass, cellulose, low density foam or other conventional building insulation materials. This exceptionally high level of insulating performance is based on the combined benefits of its high density and its solid, air tight and uninterrupted installation covering the entire curved area of shell of the structure. This approach maximizes insulation performance, likely reducing energy cost by +/- 50% in comparison to conventional stick built structures, while eliminating voids in the exterior walls where humidity, condensation, mildew and mold can form.


This display unit illustrates the use of asphalt shingles, solar shingles, metal shingles, standing seam metal and membrane roofing materials. In addition, this building shell system naturally provides two avenues for extending the useful life of many roofing materials. First, the curved geometry of the structure can significantly reduce the wear and tear on roofing material since flat areas are exposed to considerably longer periods of direct hit and heat building UV rays from the sun while curved surfaces naturally deflect most of these same damaging rays. And second, due to the dense insulation system, the roofing material is not exposed to degrading consequences caused by underside heat build-up from hot attic and other open areas under the roof on hot days.