"Where building performance keeps you covered." West Gardiner, ME • (207) 724-3746

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

"Less is More" is the true 21st century approach in the development of new products. The "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™, which is the 21st century version of the traditional post and beam construction concept, pushes the envelope on delivering energy efficient homes through a "Less is More" construction system. This system delivers a rapid build, extremely rugged, super insulated, open floor plan and very Green construction that requires very low energy and maintenance. This construction concept provides significantly higher financial, physical and environmental performance while using less materials and resources to get the job done. The end result is higher quality and performance at a significantly lower ownership cost. All of these benefits and advantages have been accomplished by capitalizing on state of the art design, technology and materials, all focused on achieving the 7 vital full life cycle performance metrics that should define a building as being legitimately of 21st century caliber. This Out of the Box construction "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™ has been created to be a game changer in the residential, commercial and professional real estate sectors.


Why The Arch Shape?

Arches, arches, everywhere! From the time humans left arched caves to wander the earth, every society has capitalized on some form of arch style architecture. Since it is absolutely the simplest and most structurally efficient geometry for creating shelter from the elements, there has been a rapidly expanding resurgence in the construction of arch type structures internationally. Because an arch can cover more ground with fewer materials than conventional boxy structures, it provides an excellent example of achieving "More with Less". It provides all the benefits of a free standing and totally open structure where interior space can be laid out for an unlimited variety of uses. With no load bearing walls, changing floor plans is simpler and less expensive in the future. Less exterior surface area required to cover a given footprint building reduces energy loss and exterior surface maintenance costs. 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. Look around and pay attention, there are arches, arches everywhere.


Why The Shell?

The shell of a building is the single element that has the most direct impact on the 7 key performance metrics as well as the structures long term financial, physical and environmental performance. Beyond producing all of the performance benefits and advantages that a free standing building and state of the art structure can deliver, it provides owners with unique ability to create an unlimited variety of interior layouts and decors along with the capability to design an endless range of exterior facades and appearances, limited only by their imagination and budget, as illustrated with samples of design opportunities included in the "Design Concept Gallery".


The Chassis Approach

The building shell is the buildings platform or chassis. The auto industry learned a century ago that by manufacturing a single rugged, efficient, versatile and cost effective chassis, they could create dozens of different style and price point vehicles far less expensively than fabricating a different chassis for each different car. General Motors delivered countless Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs and Chevrolets, with hundreds of different option packages, on the same chassis for decades. The "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™ uses the same well proven methodology to add to our “Less is More” score card. The Design Concept Gallery provides many excellent examples 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 shell system utilizes only three rugged Lego Block style components, shoes, glulams and SIP panels. Glulam shoes are fabricated from heavy plate steel and provide the interior runway for the electrical and water lines. Glulams are engineered laminated beams that provide the rugged framework for the structure. SIPs are structural insulated panels that provide the exterior skin, high performance insulation and interior surface to the structure in a single rugged component. The shoes are mechanically fastened to the buildings foundation. The glulams are mechanically fastened to the shoes. The SIPs are both glued and screwed to the glulams. This rapid assembly system generates an extremely strong, tight, well insulated and free standing structure that is ready to be transformed into an endless array of residential, commercial and professional uses with no restrictions on space and floor plan design. The system affords the benefit of rapid assembly which provides fast shelter for building materials, workers and victims in "After the Disaster" rebuilding programs. This "Less is More" construction concept provides owners with far better performance and value, often at a lower cost, than most conventional building systems.


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.


Insulation

Energy costs play a critical role when considering the long term operating costs, along with the potential resale value, of a building. Investing in the right insulation system at the front end can generate significant long term financial savings along with possibly a much higher Return on Investment at the back end. Relative to new construction costs today, the price between an average quality insulation system versus a high quality system can represents a very small percentage of the overall building cost, yet this small increase in costs holds the potential to generate significant short and long term payback benefits.

The process of securing a high efficiently insulation systems begins with understanding how to gauge the difference. Most consumers only think in terms of R value to measure the quality and value of an insulation package, which is a major mistake. R value is simply a measure of the resistance to thermal transfer that a static material allows. Considering all of the variables involved with installing an insulation system, it has little bearing on the actual insulating performance after installation. The second common mistake is not requiring that a certified third party performance test be performed before accepting ownership of a new building, a requirement that is emerging in a growing number of building codes across the country.

Today, many enforced building codes allow for both Prescriptive or Performance based insulation standards. Prescriptive is based on prescribing a given R value for walls and roofs, where the insulation material, quality, thickness and quality of installation may or may not be visually inspected before the interior and exterior walls are sheathed over, thus hiding the insulation system from further inspection and leaving the actual performance of the insulation system unknown, until the energy bills arrive. The far more accurate Performance approach uses modern technology to accurately determine the level of thermal transfer through a building shell system by performing blower door, infrared, air leakage and air exchange tests. This scientific approach, performed by independent and certified third party testers, provides the building owner with the peace of mind of actually knowing if the level of energy performance they were sold was delivered, the opportunity to make insulation improvements is areas that illustrate excessive thermal transfer, and the control to lower their long term energy costs.

The "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™ delivers a very high performance insulation package cost competitive with lesser quality systems. This is accomplished through numerous design and engineering steps.

  1. The arch shape reduces the square footage of exterior surface area that is effects thermal transfer.
  2. Closed cell high density foam insulation is used, which is rated with the highest R value per inch of thickness. The foam is injected into molds at high pressure and at a density of 2+ pounds per cubic inch.
  3. The entire surface area of the arch is insulated with a solid band of 5 1/8" solid thick foam. To achieve this, once the panels are secured to the glulams, additional foam is injected in all open areas between the panels. This step fuses all the SIPs together, adds significantly more rigidity and structural integrity to building and creates a extremely well insulated structure.
  4. The SIPs contain no interior framing materials, only high density foam, to minimize energy loss through thermal bridging, which naturally occurs in most all stud framed structures that have not added an additional expensive layer of rigid foam board insulation over all exterior wall surfaces.
  5. A combination of less overall square footage of exterior surface area, along with the solid band of very high quality closed cell high density foam, makes it possible to use fewer and thinner SIPs to achieve both high insulation performance along with significant savings in materials relative to the interior square footage of the building.
  6. Absolutely no mechanical system channels or cavities exist within the SIP panels that would lower their insulation performance along with providing voids that would be susceptible to potential condensation, mildew and mold formation.

In the end, this system delivers 21st century performance in a “Less is More” and economical manner to generate a higher Return on Investment.


Roofing

Most all conventional roofing systems can be used to cover the structure. Sheet and spray on membrane roofing can be incorporated when the flatter top areas of the shell do not meet the minimum pitch requirements of whatever roofing system that is used. No matter which type of roofing material is selected, the materials necessary to meet or exceed that manufacturer's warranty standards are available. The curved geometry of these building shells can naturally facilitate savings in numerous ways. First and foremost, less square footage of exterior surface area requires less square footage of sealing and covering materials. The curve of the roof area will naturally tend to deflect heat generating UV rays, which should lower the surface temperature on hot sunny days. Heat buildup plays a critical role in the degrading of roofing materials that in turn lessens their useful life. Heat buildup also contributes to thermal transfer which translates into higher energy costs. A combination of "Less" total exterior surface area exposed to the elements in conjunction with "More" deflection of UV rays represents additional important factors why the "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™ delivers a truly 21st century caliber "Less is More" construction concept.