2. Think outside the box when it comes to materials
In order to achieve high-performance homes, designers and builders may find themselves using commercially available materials in new ways. For instance, rather than relying solely on interior air sealing or the use of spray foam insulation to provide the air-tightness strategy, the lab home uses well-detailed and integrated housewrap on the exterior to reach the extreme air-tightness targets of the project.
In addition, the home features 2 inches of foam sheathing on the exterior that would normally be used for interior basement walls. The sheathing’s pre-rabbetted channels along the vertical edges, which incorporate the use of furring strips for fastening, allowed the team to use common framing nails to attach the foam to the wall, rather than expensive long screws. The furring strips also provided a nail base for vinyl siding, saving money while netting the aesthetic requirements and thermal performance desired.