Undercover Green: As Homeowners Make Green Living a Goal for 2011, Hi-Tech Building Systems Makes NetZero Houses Comfortable

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As sustainability and energy efficiency become the hallmarks of responsible homeownership and a priority in 2011, families are striving to balance their goal of green living and their desire for traditional home design. ThermaSteel SSIP distributor, Hi-Tech Building Systems, has been chosen by Chicago Workshop Architects to provide the building envelope used to meet the desire for Midwestern comfort in the first Zero Net Energy home located in Twin Lakes, WI.

Beyond Beautiful: Steel SIPs add to the Net Zero energy-efficient properties of this traditional home in Twin Lakes, WI

We find that homeowners, particularly in the Midwest, are more willing to embrace high-performance building technologies when they are able to marry them with the traditional architectural styles they are used to.

Hi-Tech Building Systems has been chosen by Chicago Workshop Architects to provide ThermaSteel steel structural insulated panels (SSIPs) for construction of one of the first custom net zero energy homes in southeastern Wisconsin. Slated to be built at Majestic Estates, the only green development in Twin Lakes Wisconsin, this home will exude luxury and traditional beauty while at the same time approaching net zero energy efficiency through design tweaks, SSIPs -- steel structural insulated panels, geo-thermal heating and solar panels. These same elements will also improve safety, health, durability, and comfort for the family living there.

The average single family home in Wisconsin costs nearly $2500 in electricity and natural gas each year, to heat and power. Over a 20 year period, with an estimated annual increase of only 8%, a Net Zero Energy Home can save this same homeowner over $120,000. By definition a Net Zero Home generates as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. Of course, energy conservation is a key element in this equation since less energy used means less energy needed.

With a combined benefit to the wallet and the environment, what why haven't more area homeowners taken the plunge into the world of net zero energy efficient home design? For many, it's the negative perception of a sterile, boxy structure that comes to mind when they think of the ultimate green commitment.

Hi-Tech Building Systems, a company with roots in northern Illinois, understands this hesitation. "We find that homeowners, particularly in the Midwest, are more willing to embrace high-performance building technologies when they are able to marry them with the traditional architectural styles they are used to."

The use of steel structural insulated panels (SSIPs) enables designers to achieve virtually any look while tight construction, improved air quality, and superior thermal properties combine to create a healthier and more efficient home. As a distributor of ThermaSteel SSIPs, Hi-Tech is committed to working with custom builders and architects to meet the green home design needs of even the most discerning homeowner.

ThermaSteel panels, for example, are engineered to withstand hurricane force winds while remaining impervious to water, mold and insects, creating a cleaner environment with better air quality for the home's inhabitants. The panels' design enables them to fit together tightly on a track for a virtually airtight building envelope. The panels' unique design eliminates thermal bridging and increases the insulating (R) factor by as much as 70% over alternatives, making steel SIPs the logical technology to use for the utmost in energy efficiency.

But what about the aesthetics? Homeowners need not worry. For projects like this, Hi-Tech Building Systems will take a standard set of architectural prints and create a working set of prints, customized for use with the ThermaSteel panels. The SSIPs, created from recyclable materials, are then cut at the factory to the exact dimensions, including door and window openings, thus reducing the amount of jobsite waste. Panels will be used for walls, roofs, and floors. Standard drywall will be used on the interior and natural stone will be used for the exterior finish. Once completed, this zero energy home will set the standard for performance in this neighborhood. It could, however, be built on any street in small-town America and no one would be the wiser. No ultra modern, "out of placeā€ structures here; just a wise and comfortable homeowner, loving his or her beautiful and efficient home.

http://www.hi-techbuilding.com
http://www.majestichomesites.com/lot16.html
http://www.majestichomesites.com

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Robert J. Tomczak
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