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Local US Green Building Council Members invited to sneak peek of first ThermaSteel home in Charlottesville

JRGBC-CV and Roger Voisinet, Cville Properties, Inc would like to invite you to tour the first Thermasteel constructed home in Charlottesville City, which is currently under construction and for sale (see Roger’s residential listings). Tour Date: August 7, 2007. Noon – 2pm. 104 Chishlom Place is just east of Meade Park .The ThermaSteel System is a unique patented process utilizing the power of composite technology. A structural grade double steel frame with rigid, fire retarding EPS bonded to the steel frame with heat activated adhesive, produces a light weight composite panel that provides structural framing, insulation, and vapor barrier in one fast, high-tech step. For non-members, call  Roger at 974-1500 for reservations.

 

An excerpt from the group’s future newsletter:

ThermaSteel Demonstration Home
by Roger L. Voisinet, MSc
RE/MAX Realty Specialists

As most of you know all too clearly, the home building industry is very conservative and slow to embrace new technologies and building methods. When I bought two lots in the City of Charlottesville I felt that it was my duty to expand the limits of the home building industry locally as best I could within the limits of a speculative home budget.

I had been involved with alternative building ideas as far back as 1973 when my Canadian company, Organization of Planning Teams International, worked closely with Paolo Soleri in the construction of the experimental city, Arcosanti (Arizona), still in progress. When I moved here from Montreal in the late 1970’s, I started Virginia Solar Contracting Services with Dave Watkins and we lead the way with photovoltaic projects (world’s first solar powered and heated RR depot for Southern Railway-Main St, Charlottesville), ground water heat pumps, the sale of solar-created BTU’s at discount (Waynesboro YMCA pool) and accelerated installation of solar water heaters of all kinds.

Early on in my research for the new home-to-be at Chisholm Place, I learned of the SIP manufactured by ThermaSteel Corporation in Radford, Virginia (www.thermasteelcorp.com). After speaking with Alan Scouten, a local architect and former employee and representative of ThermaSteel, I was convinced that this locally made Energy Star product deserved a closer look. Alan had successfully built his home and two for clients in Albemarle County.

The energy saving features along with a host of other benefits made ThermaSteel very attractive but the low embodied energy of a Virginia made product and the existence of ThermaSteel installers who Alan knew were the deciding factor in my decision to chose this form of construction. To date there have been no homes built this way in the City and Alan was game to assist me in designing a nice, 2-story home that would fit in well with the existing homes in this community of 19 homes on a quiet dead-end street.

The ThermaSteel system is a unique patented process utilizing the power of composite technology. A structural grade double steel frame (from recycled steel) with rigid, fire retarding EPS (expanded polystyrene a by-product of the oil industry) bonded to the steel frame with heat activated adhesive, produces a light weight composite panel that provides structural framing, insulation, and vapor barrier in one fast, high-tech step. The panels are made from approved shop drawings; window and door openings are made at the factory and each panel arrives with a number.

Research showed that the cost would be about the same as a conventionally framed and insulated home but would yield a 69% reduction in heating and cooling costs. The Thermasteel took approximately one week to assemble. Coincidentally, the Charlottesville Community Design Center brought in as a speaker the same engineer who ThermaSteel recommended: Dr. Richard Rue of Energy Wise Structures. I hired Dr. Rue to do the heat loss and gain calculations, specify the heating and cooling system and layout the ductwork.

Thermasteel benefits include: reduced waste and noise on the job site; extreme energy efficiency by eliminating thermal bridging, hurricane and earthquake resistance, measurable exterior noise reduction, mold and termite resistant, non-combustible and resistance to warp and rot.

Most of the additional environmental features can be found in whole or part in other green homes around the area: passive solar orientation, solar hot water (roughed-in at this house), reclaimed wood floors (ours, Caribbean heart pine, came from a submerged ship), no-VOC paints (ours from Sally Fretwell’s new paint line, see www.sallyfretwell.com), decking from Nature Neutral, Hardi Plank siding, Pella, low E, wood windows and doors, natural stone counter tops, Ikea birch cabinets (IKEA gets good marks for a sustainably run corporation), rain barrel, drought-resistant, native plantings, permeable parking area  etc.

The architectural features include an exposed heart pine ceiling set upon fir beams, large amounts of glass with views of the green backyard and the south-eastern mountains, a finished studio at terrace level and a sheltering front porch opening immediately into the great room with views to the south.

Some of the products I considered using but left out due to budget constraints are noted worthy. I omitted a BRAC gray water recovery system (about $2700,  www.bracsystems.com) and a Hearth Falls fireplace alternative (about $3000, hearthfalls.com) as being a bit too obtuse for a spec home with the danger of these items being undervalued by the purchaser. However, they were very intriguing. I also omitted the microwave and any use of carpet.

For progress photos, virtual tour, floor plans and further specifications visit  www.cvilleproperties.com

Roger L. Voisinet,  EcoBroker
President, Cville Properties, Inc
Associate Broker,  RE/MAX Realty Specialists

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