The panels came stacked together- they are not heavy as single units but all together required a lift- my fork lift tongs were not long enough so we attached some extensions on and grabbed the entire load. If you did not have a lift handy you could break the straps off and pull them off one panel at a time with ease... that is my workshop in the background.
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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.

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.

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.

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 …

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!

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