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Alternative Building Systems Choctaw OK

The confusion between nominal, clear-wall, whole-wall and dynamic R-values illustrates the problem of comparing building wall systems. What is needed is an apples-to-apples testing program by an independent agency.

Westpoint Homes
2731 S. I-35 Service Rd.
Moore, OK
Commercial Contractor, Custom Builder, Neighborhood Developer, Volume Builder
Membership Organizations
Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma, Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association, Certified Professional Builder - Oklahoma St. HBA, National Association of Home Builders

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Silver Stone Homes
2701 Coltrane Pl Ste 6
Edmond, OK
Custom Builder, Neighborhood Developer

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Built On Site Storage Buildings
(405) 769-6170
8538 Ne 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK
Vesta Homes, Inc.
(405) 919-0601
1245 S. Eastern
Moore, OK
Alternate Phone Number
New Home Construction
Membership Organizations
Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association

J C Building Concepts Inc
(405) 476-6657
5074 Woodcreek Ct
Oklahoma City, OK
Aadvantage Exteriors
(405) 632-0009
7100 North Classen Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK

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Cypress Springs Alzheimer’s and Memory Support Residence - Oklahoma Ci
8300 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

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AAA Construction
(405) 793-7877
1920 S Prospect Ave
Oklahoma City, OK
Concrete Contractor, Landscaping, Pole Barn, Steel Buildings
9 am - 6 pm Mon - Sat

Heartland General Contractors
(405) 635-0795
8308 S Shields Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK
Abc Remodeling
(405) 307-8225
330 180th Ave Ne
Norman, OK
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Alternative Building Systems

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How do various alternative building systems compare in price and performance?

Question: How do Rasta block (a concrete form system), aerated autoclaved concrete (AAC) and Durisol (blocks made from recycled wood) compare in price and performance? Performance criteria can include insulating value, structural strength, resistance to termite burrowing, resistance to water, vapor permeability/breathability and anything else you can think of that matters. I'm also interested in comparison of those materials with the Strata International Group's insulated composite described in your May/June 2006 edition, though that product may be too new for good price data. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

David Drooz

Raleigh, N.C.

Answer: The confusion between nominal, clear-wall, whole-wall and dynamic R-values illustrates the problem of comparing building wall systems. What is needed is an apples-to-apples testing program by an independent agency. The closest approximation to date is that of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Building Envelopes Program.

ORNL has tested the whole-wall R-values of a number of wall systems, including conventional wood frame, steel frame, log, adobe and earth blocks, structural insulated panels (SIPs) and insulated concrete forms (ICFs). To view the results, log on to and click on Hotbox Test R-value Database. However, with dozens of ICF products on the market, ORNL will never be able to test them all.

The next best source I know of is Supplement D-1 of the Washington State Energy Code (download at ), which lists the whole-wall R-values of 19 different ICFs.

Unfortunately, the extremely complex nature of heat flow through walls and roofs, which depends not only on the insulating property of the insulation fill but also on the air-leakiness, the presence of heat short-circuits such as framing and rebar, the amount and location of mass, and the local climate, allows for dubious claims by zealous proponents of any system. My advice is to take any and all claims by manufacturers with a heavy dose of skepticism and rely instead on the experiences of as many customers of the product as possible.

Any system approved by your local building inspector will prove structurally adequate. Any product containing wood fiber may be a target for termites, however. You can ensure an adequate interior vapor barrier (necessary in heating climates) simply by priming the interior surfaces with vapor barrier paint (any paint with a perm rating of 1.0 or less).

Cost comparisons are meaningful only when they include labor. Ask manufacturers for the names of contractors experienced in the use of their products. And, as always, get at least three estimates with stipulations on maximum allowed cost overrun.

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