Wall Systems

When selecting a framing system and material, it's important to consider the insulation. Your whole-building design will help you determine what type of framing material and products to use:

  • Wood

  • Steel

  • Concrete

  • Thermal Mass and High-Mass Materials (including straw bale)

  • Structural Insulated Panels

Thermal mass can reduce energy use in climates where buildings need to be cooled during the day and heated at night. To make the best use of the thermal mass, additional insulation materials are typically added. See the Insulating Concrete Forms section. Therefore, insulating a building using a thermal mass system usually costs more than insulating a typical wood-frame building. But some other construction costs may be lower. For example, buildings constructed with pre-cast concrete walls will have lower costs from less construction time and limited use of drywall. The R-values of concrete construction methods typically range from R-1 to R-2 per inch thickness. See section Straw Bale Construction.

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