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Community and Q&A

How will this all shake out?

MALCOLM TAYLOR | Posted in General Questions on

Traditionally if an owner or builder went to construct a house they used the assemblies that were common to the area. There might be several choices, but typically they were those used by, and familiar to, everyone in the trades.

We are currently in a period of transition, where these assemblies, being seen as not responsive to the demands we put on contemporary houses, are being discarded or updated.

For the larger industry players this has taken the form of responding to the new building code requirements. For posters here on GBA it has typically taken the form of every project re-inventing each assembly to suit the owner’s situation and goals.

Do you see this changing over time where, even among those interested in the innovative edge of energy efficiency, the range of diversity narrows to several ways of building each element, or will the proliferation of custom assemblies continue, and each house will be customized not only in it’s design, but in the materials and assemblies used?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    It's hard to predict, but here in Vermont, I notice that commercial contractors have definitively adopted continuous exterior insulation (rigid foam) for walls. I imagine that eventually, the residential sector will arrive at a similar place.

  2. JC72 | | #2

    Barring any sort of disruption in the supply of energy the adoption rate of building codes will be and has been the primary driver. Remember that the individual states, with significant industry input, are free to adopt/modify existing code whenever they choose. IMO with PV costs coming down I think we're going to see a leveling off in code adoptions because current code creates tight, well insulated homes. These homes are like luxury German automobiles, they perform at a really high level but are less forgiving in terms of deferred maintenance and shoddy assembly.

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