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BEAM Calculator – Superior wall basement – surprisingly good?

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Attached is the best method I have found for modeling a Superior Walls basement in the BEAM calculator.  I welcome any feedback and hope it is helpful for anyone comparing basement options.

I have been comparing different basement wall options in the BEAM calculator and I realized there was nothing available for a Superior Wall basement (a type of pre-fab basement system available in the US).

I took my best stab at modeling the Superior Wall Xi Plus in Solidworks 3D CAD to get material volumes and tried to determine the best material types in BEAM that match up.

1. Look up your desired wall height in the attached PDF or Excel file.
2. Multiply the numbers in your selected wall height column by the total length of basement walls in feet.
3.  Input the result in the “Additional materials” section of the BEAM calculator.

I was surprised how low the embodied carbon content was for a concrete basement wall.  This is because most of the wall is only 1.75 in thick, with columns every 24 inches.  It also does not require a concrete footer which saves a lot of concrete.  The savings are somewhat offset by the 5000 psi concrete, which has a higher cement than standard 2500 psi concrete.

I attached 2 example BEAM worksheets with the following results:
1,607 kg CO2e – Superior walls Xi Plus wall 8′-2″ tall, 40′ long
2,231 kg CO2e – Poured concrete wall 6″ thick, 8′ tall, 40′ long, 20″x10″ footer, 2 inch EPS

Certainly not as good as a permanent wood foundation or slab on grade from a carbon perspective.  But if you need/really want a concrete basement it could be worth a look.

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