The right material choices

Let me engage your project early to find the right materials and systems

Very often structural, enclosure and insulating materials get chosen for the wrong reasons, thus raising costs and decreasing project quality. For example:

  • Calling for fly ash concrete when slag is much more available, or calling for “high fly ash” concrete without limiting the use of cement (which is how to reduce your carbon footprint)
  • Calling for straw bale walls in situations of high moisture risk and low thermal insulation requirements, such as unheated garages
  • Using insulating concrete forms where they will do no good, as in retaining walls
  • Designing a highly glazed passive solar wall without insulating the enclosure or providing thermal mass.  “Lot’s of glass + no mass = freeze your ass.”
  • Expecting high mass walls such as concrete or rammed earth to be “just like” insulation.  They’re not.

The right materials in the right place can save money, reduce the risk of moisture problems and increase building efficiency, while the wrong materials or assemblies can have the opposite effects.

I’m an agnostic. I don’t push any particular technology or system, having seen too many people suffer the consequences of choosing materials and products — mainstream or alternative — without thinking through the bigger picture.

I can help you make this process relatively easy, which can save both time and money – especially if I can help at the beginning of design.