"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 provide an unmatchable high level of positive financial, physical and environmental performance and benefits at a low ownership cost. The following sections will explain why and how this true "Less is More" 21st century building system has seriously raised the bar on quality, performance, value and Green construction while priced competitive with stick built construction systems.


Less Is More Approach

We all need to learn how to stretch the earths limited and depleting natural resources in a far more common sense and environmentally responsible manner. This "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™, requires significantly less materials and resources, and generates significantly less waste materials in the manufacturing and construction phases to generate rugged, spacious, naturally comfortable, low energy, low maintenance and small environmental footprint structures.


Why The Arch Shape?

Simply put, an arch structure is inherently strong, it goes up fast, it covers a given floor area using less building materials, it generates a free standing interior space with unlimited floor plan possibilities and it allows for simpler layout changes or the construction of loft or second floor additions in the future. Its geometry provides for the structural integrity to better handle high wind and heavy snow loads while reducing the exterior square footage exposed to the wear and tear of the nature's elements, which directly reduces both energy and maintenance costs.


Why The Shell?

Modern building science has proved that "It's All About the Shell". The shell of a building is the single element in the structure that has direct effect on its financial, physical and environmental performance and long term value. The "Ultra-High Performance Building Shell System"™, has significantly raised the bar when it comes to delivering a true 21st century caliber building concept.


One Shell System Fits All

The versatility of this single five component building shell system provides the ability to construct structures from 20' to 60' wide, in any length in four foot increments and in single floor, loft and two story models. It can be constructed on floating slabs, frost walls, full daylight basements and even on raised platforms in flood plain areas. It efficiently serves the needs of the residential, multi-family, vacation home, condo, agricultural, recreational, religious, retail, commercial and professional real estate sectors with unlimited interior and exterior design possibilities. (see the "Design Concepts" section)


The Shell System

This flexible shell system utilizes the same five components in every building package. They include a steel glulam shoe, a laminated wooden arch, a steel glulam hanger, a laminated wooden ridge beam and a set of curved structural insulated panels (SIPs). The SIPs are 4'x8'x6" panels insulated with high density closed cell foam, the highest performing insulation material in the conventional construction industry. Once glued and screwed into place, the SIPs provide an uninterrupted 5 1/8" band of insulation with no internal structural components, eliminating the too common problem of energy loss through thermal bridging. All wiring and piping are run inside the structure avoiding the need to hollow out channels within the SIPs which reduces insulation performance and creates voids where moisture can get trapped and turn into mildew and mold.

Both gable ends are enclosed using a 2"x6" construction system reinforced with spray foam insulation. A layer of foam board insulation in installed on the exterior over the exterior surface to eliminate potential thermal bridging problems at the gable ends.

With the foundation in place and all of the shell system components on site, a weather tight shell can usually be erected in 5 to 10 days. Once fully weather tight, the shell system has tested out as allowing less than .60 air exchanges per hour at 50 pascal. With most conventional building systems constructed loose enough to allow 4 to 6 air exchanges per hour (see "Insulation" section), this feature alone can reduce energy consumption by up to 75%, or even more.


Efficient Space Utilization

There are two categories or useable space in this curved building system, living & working, and utility. The dividing line between these two areas is the point on the floor that is 6’ vertically below the inside face of an arch timber. From this point between both side walls, the area between the arches is the living and working space and the area to the outside of these lines is the utility space. To maximize the living and working areas, cabinets, closets, storage units and other utility uses, along with running electrical and plumbing systems, should be located there. In reality, even in conventional box framed structures, cabinets, closets, storage units and so on take up floor area which reduces the amount of living and working space within the structure. The main difference in our system is that these utility spaces are more efficiently located on the side walls of our building shell. In the end, the total of the two areas equals the interior utilization area which is often more useable space than in conventional box frames structures of the same footprint.


Performance & Benefits Package

Financial: Short construction timeframe to reduce construction and carrying costs – Competitively priced with stick built structures – Significantly lower cost than systems specifically promoting themselves as being high performance, Green, LEED for Home Gold and Net Zero - Exceptionally low energy and maintenance costs – Lower long term ownership cost – Projected long term higher resale value and ROI. The claim of projected higher resale value is based on the rapidly emerging trend within the real estate sector, including realtors, appraisers, financial institutions and the MLS (multiple listing service) all placing growing focus on a building’s actual physical, financial and environmental performance. As this very important trend continues to materialize, the exceptionally high overall performance of our buildings will make them stand out as significantly more desirable and a far better financial investment then the vast majority of other structures on the market within their specific category.

Physical: Curved shell provides more physically and visually comfortable interior environment with more natural air flow conditions - Constructed with high quality factory manufactured components – Short assembly timeframe reduces opportunity for exposing interior construction materials to soaking rain conditions - Engineered to handle severe wind and snow loads and other emerging climate change weather conditions – Tightness of structure greatly reduces the opportunity for outside temperature and moisture conditions to influence the interior environment - Ultra-high performance insulations system requires less material to provide exceptionally high insulation performance along with a quieter interior environment - Less exterior surface area exposed to the elements which reduces maintenance requirements - Free standing to permit unlimited interior layout designs – Interior floor plans, including adding lofts and second floors, can be changed easier than in conventional structures – Low maintenance – Modern 21st century appearance - Meets or exceeds all current national building and above building code programs

Environmental: Smaller carbon and environmental footprint – Finger jointed timbers utilize recovered wood resources - Reduced waste generated in the manufacturing and system assembly phases - Less building materials and other resources required - Up to 2,600 square foot complete building shell system can be delivered on a single truck – Optimal structure geometry for maximizing rain water collection - Significantly exceeds HERS and Energy Star performance standards - Eligible to achieve Net Zero and LEED for Home Gold ratings


Insulation

Fact, "A Dollar Saved is a Dollar Earned". Fact, the right insulation system will generate a surer, longer performing and a higher return on investment then the vast majority of stock market picks, lasting from move in day until the day the building is sold. Fact, when investing in a new building, being insulation system "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish" is a very, very expensive mistake. Fact, the R value of insulation alone has little to do with the actual quality, performance and value of an insulation system. Only the combination of a blower door test and infrared survey will prove the true quality and value of a finished installed insulation system.

Our approach to insulation is simple, install the best system available and use scientific testing methods to absolutely prove both its quality and value to our clients. Our system begins under and around the foundation using a very modern and high quality ICF (insulated concrete foundation) system. Walls are insulated on both sides and a layer of under floor insulation panels are installed prepared for installing tubing that forms the system for under floor radiant heat. The arched areas of our building shell are tightly covered with 6" thick SIP (structural insulated panel) panels that are totally fused together with additional injected insulation once in place to form a solid band of high density closed cell foam insulation over the entire curved structure. The interior face of all framed walls, and around doors, windows, skylights, dormers and other openings, high performance urethane insulation is sprayed in to form a tight insulating barrier as well as add significant rigidity to the overall building shell. The exterior surface of all framed in areas are sheathed with solid foamboard panels. This strategic approach produces exceptionally tight structures while reducing the common and expensive problem of energy loss through thermal bridging to a level matched by no other conventional and truly affordable building system. This comprehensive insulation approach to constructing very tight and high performing insulated structures provides our clients with three money savings/money generating benefits; 1) smaller and less expensive heating and cooling systems are required, 2) year-round energy costs are often lowered by 50% or more over the same square foot very good quality conventional style buildings, 3) the building will hold higher resale value do to its lower ownership cost and Green track record.

Fact, once urethane insulation is cured, usually within 24 hours of processing, it becomes and inert material with no further off gassing.


Air Quality

Building science says, "Build Tight & Ventilate Right". Our structures are designed and constructed to be exceptionally tight for three very important reasons, to provide more comfortable, healthier and lower cost living and working environments. The objective is to eliminate the ability of the outside weather to have any influence on interior temperature, humidity and air quality. To provide the ability of the occupants to control interior comfort and air quality, two types of systems are offered to efficiently provide the necessary make up air when needed in the overall living and working areas in conjunction with the air exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Velux computer controlled and solar powered "Fresh Air" skylights can be installed that are programed to open and close automatically based on preset interior temperature and/or humidity settings, as well as on a preset time schedule. These units are equipped with sun shades and while opened, if rain occurs, the skylights automatically close.

The second type offered are programmable EVR (Energy Recovery Ventilation) systems that automatically bring in fresh air when required to maintain the desired level of comfort and interior air quality. As these systems draw in makeup air from the outside, they use the energy stored in the outgoing air to precondition the incoming air closer in temperature to the existing interior temperature, which directly contributes to reducing year-round energy costs.

In both cases, these systems provide very efficient and cost effective solutions for delivering comfortable and healthy inside living and working conditions while significantly contributing towards keeping the year round energy costs of our "Ultra-Hight Performance Building Shell System"™ structures exceptionally low.


Roofing

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.