For an open-plan 30 square foot house, Architect Gregory La Vardera’s client in Maryland wanted a comfortable super energy-efficient home for a demanding climate, but all steel, and with an openly industrial vibe. He got one that is 60% more energy-efficient, due to the building technique.
EcoSteel has built economical steel buildings for 50 Years in the US, but in the past, their steel structures, both for commercial buildings as well as for homes, have been built with the construction concealed behind a facade that gives no clue about their industrial underpinnings.
But now, architects are beginning to leave the construction techniques particular to steel building with SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) exposed.
As more people become aware of the energy efficiency of building with steel, its industrial basis is exposed with sometimes brutal honesty, by way of a token of appreciation. The company now specializes in remote location and LEED Certified construction projects that take advantage of the efficiency of some aspects of prefab construction, but have no size limits. So their system has no limitations of size or design style and their building package is a pre-manufactured kit of parts that packs flat and assembles on-site.
This home uses a wavy steel cladding, but you’ve probably seen the company’s plain cladding on commercial buildings. These form a surface on the outside of the SIP. Ecosteel’s SIPs are filled with non-CFC polyurethane foam.
Of course, additional insulation can be added inside, as here. The SIPs are manufactured in a uniform pressure laminating process that bonds metal facings to rigid insulating foam cores, so that the whole thing can be used for very fast and efficient building.
The metal building industry is taking over eco prefabs now, but has a long history in the sort of rudimentary industrial buildings that we are familiar with, because of their extreme economy. If designers and architects can just capitalise on the strengths of steel, this will be a good thing for the future, bringing experience to our newfound understanding of the need for energy efficiency and economy in home building.
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