How We Build

Thermal Enclosure

 (the materials that separate indoor & outdoor environments)

  • Reduce Thermal Bridging with Advanced Framing.
    • Reduced framing members at exterior wall corners and interior/exterior wall. intersections (15 studs = 10 sq ft).
    • Reduced framing members at windows & doors.
    • Header insulation on the exterior.
  • Windows and Doors
    • Low-E coating & argon gas.
  • Air Sealing (caulking, spray foam, etc.)
    • All exterior windows, doors, pipes & other penetrations.
    • Sealant is applied to wood plates and stud to stud locations.
  • Insulation
    • Raised heel trusses are provided to gain additional insulation depth above exterior wall plates to reduce ice damming.
    • Attic wind baffles are added to prevent wind washing.
  • Air Barriers (poly)
    • Exterior walls.

HVAC system

  • Manual J – determines load calculations (amount of heat gain and heat loss).
    • Thermal characteristics of walls, ceilings, floors, exterior doors and windows.
    • Geographic location, orientation to the sun & roof overhang dimension.
    • Envelope tightness.
    • Lights and appliances.
    • Occupants heat & humidity loads.
  • Manual S – determines equipment selection.
    • Load calcs are used.
  • Manual D – determines duct design.
    • Room load calcs are used to determine duct size.

Water Management

  • Site & Foundation
    • Spray on capillary break between footing and concrete wall.
    • Sheet plastic capillary break below basement concrete floor.
    • Damp-proofing coating applied to exterior of basement concrete walls.
    • Drain tile covered with at least 6” of clean gravel & wrapped with fabric cloth.
    • Sump pump lid has a gasket and is mechanically fastened to floor.
  • Wall & Roof Assembly
    • Step and kick-out flashing at roof-wall intersections.
    • Self-sealing ice barrier membrane at eaves.
    • Gutter downspouts that empty at least 5’ from house foundation.
  • Building Materials
    • Moisture-resistant backing materials installed behind tub and shower enclosures composed of tile or panel assemblies.

Foundation & Flat Concrete

  • Poured concrete basement walls.
  • Window wells are filled with rock down to footing for better drainage.
  • Form-a-drain interior and exterior perimeter drain tile is used to provide better drainage around basement.
  • Rebar is used in all exterior flat concrete to keep concrete level.
  • Slab ledge at back garage wall.

Wood Framing

  • 11-7/8” I joists reduce floor squeaks and span greater distances.
  • 2x6 exterior walls are used because they will accept 57% more insulation than 2x4 walls.
  • 7/16” OSB is installed on the exterior of house walls for added structural strength.
  • 9’ main level ceiling height minimum (taller ceilings, trays or vaults in some homes).


  • LED and fluorescent energy saving lights.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide combination alarms hard wired with battery backup.
  • 200-amp service.
  • Breaker panel located in basement.
  • One CAT 6 telephone outlet located in master bedroom.
  • RG6 coaxial cable.
  • RG6 coaxial cable up to attic for future antenna.
  • Conduit installed from wall beside fireplace to above fireplace for running TV cables.
  • Ceiling fan installed.
  • Standard toggle switches


  • Passive radon vent pipe installed from below basement floor through attic & out roof.
  • Polyethylene water tubing.
  • Two exterior water faucets.
  • If basement bath is not finished, drain pipes below concrete floor are roughed-in.


  • Panasonic WhisperGreen Select whole-house ventilation fan is installed to improve indoor air quality & control humidity.
  • 15 SEER air conditioner. A heat pump could be used in Midland Power territory.
  • 95% furnace with 4” media air filter.
  • Programmable thermostat.

Insulation & Air/Water Barrier

  • R-10 concrete foundation wall insulation is installed on the exterior from top of footing to top of concrete wall. Placing insulation on exterior eliminates condensation on the basement side of the concrete wall.
  • R-19 house exterior wood wall insulation.
  • R-10 house exterior header insulation.
  • R-50 house attic insulation.
  • Tyvek Home Wrap around entire house to protect against air and water infiltration.

Windows and Exterior Doors

  • Low-e coated window glazing with argon gas.
  • Insulated front door and garage to house door.
  • Insulated, vinyl backed overhead garage doors.

Siding, Shingles & Masonry

  • Vinyl siding with aluminum soffit and fascia for low maintenance.
  • Architectural shingles.
  • Stone veneer installed with rainscreen drainage mat behind and weep screed at bottom.

Deck or Patio

  • Treated wood deck or concrete patio (depending on type of lot).

Gutters & Downspouts

  • Downspout routed under concrete walk leading to front door (if downspout is needed at that location).
  • Hinged downspout extensions for easy mowing.

Lawn & Landscape

  • Landscaping in front yard.
  • 4” minimum topsoil.
  • Erosion control during construction to keep silt off streets & out of sewer systems, streams & lakes.
  • Entire yard sodded to control silt run-off.


  • Stainless steel appliances.
  • Ice maker lines to all refrigerator locations.
  • Garbage disposal.


  • Comfort height bathroom vanities.
  • Towel bars and/or rings in all bathrooms.

Trim, Shelving and Hardware

  • Painted square or colonial casing and base.
  • Hollow core paneled interior doors.
  • Pocket doors with soft close hardware.
  • Mud room bench with coat hooks above.

Drywall & Paint

  • Orange peel wall & ceiling texture
  • Level 5 spray on coating to prevent drywall flashing.

Energy Testing done by independent company

  • Blower door test
  • Energy code compliance testing and report