Flex space, SIPs, noise cancelling measures, reconfigurable design, zero net energy certification, timber frame construction.
If you were to put together a list of features that elevate new home construction to a top-of-the-line custom build, these are just a few of the buzz words you would hear. These features and more are all part of one of our newest custom-built homes in Eastern Iowa.
Located on a tree-filled lot near Lake McBride, the new home design began with a desire for an attached shop to house the homeowner’s woodworking hobbies. From there, the energy efficient measures and unique design features began to take shape, starting with a timber frame construction of the two-story, 3,000 square foot home.
Timber frame construction uses large posts and beams connected with wooden pegs or other type of exposed decorative joints. This home features mortise and tenon joinery and hand-hewn and oak pegs.
One of the main benefits of timber frame over traditional stick-built construction is design flexibility. Because the posts, beams, and trusses support the load of the structure, walls are not required to bear the load and can be placed anywhere. This feature is on display on the second floor of the home, which was created as one large open space. It’s a reconfigurable design that allows up to three conforming bedrooms to be added in the future.
Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are pre-engineered wall assemblies that are commonly used in conjunction with timber frame construction. The SIPs are erected over the structural timber framing, essentially creating a high-performance thermal envelope due to the panel’s R-26 thermal insulation resistant foam. Because the insulation is continuous there are no thermal breaks creating hot and cold spots, making it more energy efficient than traditional framed walls.
The expansive panel design reduces the amount of air seeping in, which also means less allergens, humidity, contaminants, etc. are entering the home.
The use of SIPs is also beneficial for the contracting timeline, as once the walls are up, the space is insulated. This means electricians, plumbers and HVAC contractors can work in an insulated space immediately, which is particularly important in climates that turn cold come fall. And because the SIPs are pre-assembled and insulated, electrical and plumbing contractors only had to finish the wiring and plumbing through pre-engineered pathways, prior to final wall finishes being installed.
For this home, the Allan Custom Homes team worked with Extreme Panel Technologies in Cottonwood, Minnesota.
The unassuming exterior of the home showcases the expansive trees and peaceful environment. The use of LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding ensures lasting durability in a midwestern climate. The treated engineered wood components are not only more resistant to impact than traditional siding, they also withstand the weather elements.
Gutters were not added on the main structure, creating a clean look, and eliminating the need to constantly remove leaves. Instead, a drip block detail was integrated on all the horizontal fascia runs on the house to keep rain from dripping down the fascia from the roof.
In addition to the main structure, Country Landscapes was contracted to design/build a complementary landscape, including a deer-fenced pergola.
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning elements in the home, shop and garage are loaded with benefits ranging from energy efficiency to convenience.
The heating and cooling systems incorporate a hybrid of components that includes in-floor radiant heat on both levels of the home as well as the garage and shop. Air conditioning is provided by high performance air source heat pumps. Endless hot water on demand is provided by a Navien residential combi-boiler.
A heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) brings fresh air into the space while exhausting an equal amount of inside air back outside while still retaining exemplary air leakage standards. In fact, the Iowa State Energy Code establishes air leakage testing at 4 ACH50 or less for residential homes. The home tested at almost eight times better than the code: 0.57. The benefit for the homeowner is increased overall comfort and energy performance.
The home is also a Zero Energy Ready Home, certified through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). A DOE Zero Energy Ready Home is at least 40-50% more energy efficient than a typical new home.
Reconfigurable floor system
The attached shop is a highlight of the property, due not only to the climate-controlled environment which includes a dust-control system, but also to its reconfigurable floor system.
The concrete floor was designed to receive the suspended flooring system, which allows for easy reconfiguration by the homeowner. It was even designed with electrical pathways cast into the concrete floor to allow for power access upon future shop configurations. All electrical work is embedded in the concrete, so power is readily available as tools and machines are moved.
Noise cancelling measures
With today’s increased focus on eliminating noise pollution to create a more serene space, specific features of the home inherently create a quieter space. The use of SIPs results in less noise coming in from the outside. And because the home is near a busy highway, sound reduction glass was integrated into the windows that face the road.