Green Dream: The Walls Are Here!

The delivery of the first batch of walls sets off a flurry of activity

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.

(Read more about the panels in my first Green Dream column.) Another plus: they're also easy to put up with a skeleton crew. Or at least that's the promise—-we'll see about the reality as my home really takes shape this week.

Here's a gallery of the site as we get ready to do some serious panel installing.

John B. Carnett, PopSci's_ staff photographer, is using the latest green technology to build his dream home. Follow along as the project progresses on his Green Dream blog: popsci.com/green-dream_

Yard Candy

When we got the panels off the truck, we had to make stacks all over the yard. I think they look pretty nice.John B. Carnett

Brackets are My Life

Just when I thought I'd gotten the site ready to go, the engineer asked for additional supports to be placed on top of my steel beams. That would require 10 6-inch-by-6-inch ¼-inch-thick steel brackets with two holes drilled into each. I used my portable band saw to cut the steel and a drill press to make all the holes. Here you can see my plates drying in the sun after I cleaned all the oil off and got them ready for welding.John B. Carnett

Bring on the Stairs

The primary steel for the home's primary staircase is now complete. This shows the I-beams, the steel frame, the pipe legs and the landing. It was a large investment in both steel and time but it turned out great and I think it will make this side view of the house really stand out. If nothing else it will be a very sturdy place to hang a hammock.John B. Carnett

Track Maker

This is the station that I set up to cut the track that holds the panel bases in position. The track is wider than the blade on my chopsaw can cut in a single pass so you have to cut, flip, and cut again. Nothing is simple ...John B. Carnett

My Home's First Walls

The first set of panels arrived late in the day and I was busy welding brackets on top of the steel beams, but I didn't want to end the day without seeing _something in place, so my engineer and I grabbed a corner section and got it up in about 30 minutes. It looked amazing and felt stiffer than I'd expected it to. Another several dozen and we'll have a house!John B. Carnett