I can't believe it, but the entire box is now up. All the wall and roof panels have been installed. As you may recall the second floor was a bit of a learning curve for everyone, but when it came to the last level, everything went together as expected. LightShip Group, the firm making the panels, took all the field experiences that we had with the first install, went back to the shop and turned out 100 percent perfect panels for my third floor walls and roof.
Building this house has been a constant learning experience, and today was no exception. My original plan was to build the walls from special insulated structural panels from Kama-Eebs, add some simple "X" braces to control shear, and throw on some housewrap before attaching my siding. And that would have been the cheapest and most ideal solution, but the more I looked at the final Kama panels installed the more I began to question the wisdom of that idea.
We recently installed the panel roof system over the kitchen area and hit the first of our inevitable early-adopter glitches. The roof panels are 11 inches thick and much heavier than the wall panels, as they have much more embedded steel to carry both my green roof and the snow load here in upstate New York. The things are dense and required a serious effort for two to carry around. Even with all that beefiness, the engineer asked me to put a horizontal steel beam through the middle of the room for added support. The panels were supposed to meet at the beam and fit seamlessly together. The key words there: supposed to. Read on for the reality.
One of the most unique things about my green home is the walls: instead of a standard "stick-frame" construction, I'm using special insulated panels from a company called Kama-Eebs, which have all sorts of advantages in efficiency and heat retention.