Special Methods of Construction, Unique Houses & Home Building Links
Concrete Homes - information from the Portland Cement Association about Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF), aerated concrete, concrete block, Shotcrete, stucco, and driveways. They also offer books, videos, lists of manufacturers and suppliers, and a virtual tour of their 1998 Concrete Concepts Show Home.
Insulating Concrete Form Association - the ICFA has been the self proclaimed "voice of the ICF industry" since 1995. In addition to offering lots of information about ICF construction, their Web site also allows you to search their member database for ICF manufacturers, contractors, distributors and other related professionals - just keep in mind that their stated mission is "to promote the use of ICFs, and to help overcome obstacles to industry growth."
- American ConForm Industries - SmartBlock
- Arxx Building Products - Arxx Wallsystems (formerly Blue Maxx)
- ECO-Block, LLC - ECO-Block
- Owens Corning - Fold-Form
- American Polysteel - Polysteel Form
- Reward Wall Systems - eForm and iForm
RASTRA - is an insulated concrete form system, which is made from recycled expanded polystyrene that is mixed with concrete. The standard form is 8 foot 9 inches by 15 inches. The sections can be assembled horizontally or vertically. They can also be preassembled into larger wall panel sections and lifted into place with a crane.
Madison Research House - Designed with a permanent wood foundation (PWF), this 2,200 square foot demonstration home was built on the grounds of the USDA Forest Products Research Labratory in Madison, Wisconsin.
Earth-Sheltered Home Design - Information from the U.S. Dept. of Energy, which outlines the advantages, disadvantages, cost, construction techniques, typical design criteria, and other considerations for those thinking of building an underground, earth bermed or earth sheltered house.
Passive Solar Home Design - Information about passive solar design, also called climatic design, from the U.S. Dept. of Energy. It is most easy to incorporate passive solar design into a new home design, but almost any home can be retrofitted to collect and store heat derived from the sun.
North Carolina Solar Center - created to "advance the use of solar energy throughout North Carolina", the NCWeb site contains factsheets, a large list of solar resources, and other solar related publications. While most of the information is intended for local use, the theories and principals of solar energy are readily adaptable to any location.
Tri-Steel Structures - Ever consider building a steel framed house? This Texas based company has over 130 standard models shown on their site and photos of some of the finished products. They might make you think twice about building with wood.
North American Steel Framing Alliance - a non-profit trade association that was established in 1998 to "rapidly accelerate the use of light gauge steel framing in residential construction" - lots of information and related links.
Nicholas Lane Contractors - provides light steel and wood framing services to builders and developers in southern California. Their Web site contains quite a few pictures of steel framed projects and the "Special Features" section contains over a dozen articles about building with light gauge steel.
Surfin' StrawBale - a long list of links to straw bale houses, straw builders, and other straw bale construction resources.
International Straw Bale Building Registry - a world wide database of straw bale buildings, many of which are open to visitors by appointment.
Insulspan - manufacturers of structural insulated panels (or SIPS), which are composed of a continuous core of rigid foam insulation that is laminated between two layers of oriented strand board (or OSB) to form a solid building panel.
- Building With Structural Insulated Panels (Sips): Strength and Energy Efficiency Through Structural Panel Construction by Michael Morley
Deck House & Acorn - View photos of some of the finished products of these two high-end package home companies. Deck House has long been known for their use of lots of natural wood, stone, and glass in their modular designs. The Acorn homes featured on the site are more contemporary in style with painted trim and bleached white wood beams. Both home styles can be customized to your specifications. Click here for photos of a Deck House under construction in Maryland.
Davis Frame - From traditional colonial exteriors to very modern ones, all of these homes are built around a timber frame. Featured in Timber Frame Homes Magazine, this New Hampshire company offers a very impressive product and a Web site to match.
Beach Shack - Mary Ann Green's hurricane resistant tropical construction on the Caribbean island of Anguilla.
Performance Building Systems, Inc. - Earth sheltered house plans and homebuilding kits for owner/builders and professional contractors. The basic design is an underground arch or dome shaped structure, which consists of 4 inch thick steel reinforced concrete. The concrete is applied to the form by spraying it from a hose in much the same manner that in ground swimming pools are built.
Earthwood Building School - Rob and Jaki Roy run this alternative homebuilding school in West Chazy, New York. They conduct specialized workshops in cordwood masonry, earth shelter or underground homes and, believe it or not, stone circles.
Rammed Earth - comedian Steve Davis spent 2 years building his rammed earth house in Australia. He has included progress photos and links to other rammed earth resources on his Web site and in his own words... "NO!!!, I would not do it again."
Terrafirma Rammed Earth - a rammed earth design/build company from Mandurah, Western Australia. Their site contains pictures of several building projects and a short history of rammed earth construction.
Federal Emergency Management Agency - FEMA is "the federal agency charged with building and supporting the nation's emergency management system." Before you build your new home, be sure to read the "How To Series" in the mitigation section of their site. It contains information about protecting your property from wind, fire, flooding and earthquakes. If your home will be subject to high winds, hurricanes or tornadoes, you can download complete construction plans, drawings, and specifications for building a Tornado Safe Room inside your house.
National Affordable Housing Network - an independent non-profit organization that works with local low-cost housing production groups, including Habitat for Humanity, in order to develop and implement resource-efficient design and construction. They currently offer 3 different low-cost, high performance, superinsulated house plans and plenty of information about building homes that will have affordable energy costs.
Southface Energy Institute - Home of the Southface Homebuilding School, this Atlanta based organization promotes sustainable energy and environmental policies and technologies through education, research and technical assistance.
Monolithic Dome Institute - Inflate an Airform, apply polyurethane foam, install steel reinforcing, and spray on shotcrete to build one of these insulated, thin-shell concrete structures. They are said to be extremely energy efficient, fire-safe, and able to withstand winds in excess of 300 miles per hour.
Preservation Briefs - a publication of the National Park Service, this site contains more than 40 articles about barns, log buildings, pole barns & buildings, adobe, graffiti removal, roofing, painting, plaster, stucco, lead paint...