In the last article about cost I mentioned a home we had recently completed that came in at $125/SF, see the Osgood Cape. Admittedly this is a very low price per square foot but to his credit Mark made very good use of space, selected efficient and wise use of materials and by focusing on energy efficiency kept the cost of the mechanicals very low. We are closely monitoring his energy use to see how this comfortable family home performs.
Timber Framing is frequently presumed too expensive and luxurious for the average home owner. However, when building energy efficient, sustainable construction a timber frame home can be a much more practical, elegant, and even more affordable solution! Timber frame homes clad in properly installed stresskin panels create warm comfortable spaces, sustainable in both energy and material use. These beautiful, open homes celebrate the beauty of natural wood and craftsmanship. The spaces they enclose are open, airy and comfortable and facilitate a feeling of spaciousness without a massive footprint. Timber framing is a New England tradition which ties us to the land, our heritage, and the beauty and sustainability of local materials. These homes require low maintenance and last for centuries. The independence of the structure from the interior walls provides a flexibility that allows new generations to adapt the house to fit their changing needs. Timber frame homes last centuries and can be built for the same cost or less than super insulated, tightly sealed conventional construction.
A truly energy efficient stick frame home takes a great deal of labor to build and requires close coordination and monitoring of the various trades to be sure it is done correctly. Since studs and rafters create a direct conduction of heat from the inside to the outside another layer of insulation and/or framing is required. In addition very special care must be taken at every penetration of the envelope, such as gaskets around outlets, taping and caulking the vapor barrier at every seam, gasketing the wall framing to the sub-floor. These are only a handful of the issues. So you can see that one week for the installation of stresskin panels is very quick, has low impact on your site, a guarantee of extremely low air infiltration, and immediate testable results, and when all is complete a cost comparison will reveal very little savings on the conventional framing, and a much more complex system for maintenance or future remodeling.
I'm confident in a thorough apples to apples comparison you will choose a sip enclosed timber frame over stick frame every time!