Building Panels With Only Wood, Straw, and Smart Vapor Control

Building Panels With Only Wood, Straw, and Smart Vapor Control

Project Spotlight

Location: Leyden, MA
Architect: Michael Dobler
Panel Builders: New Frameworks, HELM Builders
General Contractor: Holden Builders

Project Details

Bottom of wall
Window sill
Window head
Top of wall

Fighting Climate Change With Straw Panels

This prefab project in Leyden, MA recently caught our attention when it was highlighted in JLC Live. This project was a labor of love for the owner/architect, Michael Dobler. He recruited local GC Holden Builders and project management support from HELM Builders. New Frameworks provided design consultation, as well as the pre-fab straw /Gutex wall panels. What sticks out is the team’s resourceful approach to creating a home with lower energy use and carbon output.

According to New Frameworks, “While the footprint is on the smaller side, the project goals are ambitious with regards to toxicity and embodied energy of materials used along with New Frameworks' typical high-performance standards.” The team selected building materials from Fakro skylights, to Pro Clima membranes and tapes, and Gutex wood fiberboard. Outlines of the project details can be found in this spot-on piece from JLC Live.

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Straw packed behind INTELLO Plus. Airtightness increases the thermal performance of natural insulation and smart vapor control helps ensure a dry, mold-free assembly for years to come.

Each panel is secured in place and seams are taped with TESCON VANA.

Strips of SOLITEX MENTO 1000 are used to make the wall-to-roof airtightness continuous in a manner that is simply and robust.

Products Used:

  • Insulation - Gutex MULTITHERM - Moisture-resistant wood fiber board insulation and weather resistive barrier in one
  • Int / Ext Airsealing Tape - TESCON VANA - Best-In-Class Airtight Tape For High Performance Building
  • Interior Airtightness - INTELLO PLUS - the world's hardest working smart vapor retarder
  • Housewrap/WRB - SOLITEX MENTO 1000 - next generation WRB for airtight, vapor-open assemblies
  • Pitched Roof Skylight - Fakro FTTU6-Zwave - Energy efficient, triple-pane skylight for Passive House and high performance construction with a triple airseal at the wood frame.
  • Foundation Insulation - Glavel - foam glass gravel insulation made from recycled glass

Gutex MULTITHERM is tongue and groove board insulation made from wood, serving as continuous exterior insulation for these panels

The Fakro pitched roof skylight adds daylight without sacrificing thermal performance

MULTITHERM is moisture resistant wood fiberboard insulation and weather resistive barrier in one, for exterior walls under rain screens

HELM Builders documenting their use of Glavel sub-slab insulation on the company's Instagram profile

Glavel is gravel + insulation in one, made from recycled glass