Akron Straw Bale Home Features Superior Walls® Foundation System

Written by 

You can “huff and puff” but the new Straw Bale home constructed in downtown Akron by Calvin Smith Builders won’t come down --- and cold air won’t get inside this energy-efficient home. Built with a Superior Walls® Xi™ precast concrete foundation, this environmentally friendly home features earth plaster (a combination of shredded blue clay, mason sand, and chopped straw) to create an energy-efficient exterior.

“This is an extremely green, extremely energy-efficient system being performed on a stick-built, full-basement home, which is new for straw bale construction,” says builder Calvin Smith.

The Superior Walls foundation that forms the base of the house is made of precast concrete panels that were custom created for the project by Superior Walls of NWPA. The wall panels include DOW® insulation and, with added insulation, provide an R-42 insulation factor for year-round comfort and energy efficiency.

“The Superior Walls product helps start off this project with an energy-efficient foundation,” says Scott Musarra of Superior Walls of NWPA. “The walls are more aesthetically appealing both inside and outside than poured concrete, they’re easier to finish, and they have customizable exteriors. Combine those features with the faster installation time and the built-in thermal breaks in the walls and you’ve got a winning foundation for the Straw Bale home.”

New homeowners of the project, the Maher family, will enjoy the benefits of Superior Walls foundation systems in the home. The energy-efficient walls help lower energy costs and reduce energy leakage while providing increased living space in a comfortable setting.

Energy-Efficient Foundations

Top-of-the-line Superior Walls Xi wall panels feature steel-reinforced concrete and 2 1/2" of DOW® Styrofoam™ insulation to create a permanent barrier against sidewall water penetration. The panels are custom-designed and constructed in a factory-controlled setting. Unique features of the Xi wall panels include the follwing:

  • 5,000+ psi concrete;

  • Steel-reinforced top bond beams, concrete studs, and footer beams;

  • Horizontal steel rebar inside top and bottom beams;

  • Vertical steel rebar inside each stud;

  • Access holes for ease in wiring and plumbing;

  • Galvanized steel stud facing ready for drywall finishing; and

  • Insulated corners, studs, and bond beams.

“Superior Walls products are resource-efficient, using up to 70% less concrete in a new home than conventional foundations,” says Musarra. “The Xi panels can have additional insulation added to help them achieve an R-50+ rating.”

Green Approved Product

The Superior Walls Xi insulated precast concrete wall systems used by Calvin Smith Builders of LaGrange, Ohio, have earned the Green Approved Product designation by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center. Builders starting new home projects can earn a total of 13 potential points toward National Green Building Certification when using energy-efficient Superior Walls insulated precast concrete foundation panels. Superior Walls is the first and only foundation manufacturer whose products are approved to contribute points toward certification of a building under the National Green Building Standard™.

The Green Approved Products Certificate #00071 provides builders the following points for the use of Superior Walls foundation systems:

  • Practice 601.2, 3 points – Structural systems/advanced framing techniques optimize material usage.

  • Practice 601.5 (1-3), 4 points – Precut/preassembled components, panelized, or precast assemblies are utilized for a minimum of 90% of floor, wall, and/or roof system.

  • Practice 607.1, 3 points – Products containing fewer materials are used to achieve the same end-use requirements as conventional products.

  • Practice 701.4.3.1 (1), Mandatory – Insulation is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or local code. Mandatory for certification.

  • Practice 903.2.2, 3 points – Capillary break is added on footing.

Last modified on Mon, Oct 29, 2012
Superior Walls

Available nationwide through licensees in a variety of states, Superior Walls foundations have been installed since 1981 when the company introduced the original R-5 Superior Walls precast foundation system. Superior Walls products are the first and only foundation systems to have attained the Green Approved Product designation by the NAHB Research Center, earning builders points on a project toward a National Green Building Certification. The company is a member of the International Code Council and the US Green Building Council. For more information, call 1-800-452-9255 or visit www.superiorwalls.com

Website: www.superiorwalls.com
blog comments powered by Disqus