How did this concrete panel home cut energy bills by 30%?

How did this concrete panel home cut energy bills by 30%?

Photos courtesy of Superior Walls.

How can homeowners move from a small, one-bedroom apartment to a two-story 1,940-square-foot home and save 30 percent on their monthly electric and gas bills?

Ed and Meg Faichtyger did just that by using precast concrete panels for the foundation and exterior walls of their new home in Franklin Township, New Jersey.

“Our concrete home is amazingly energy efficient and quiet,” said Ed Faichyger. “These walls are solid, so there’s no air or noise infiltration.

"When we were pricing the building costs of wood and concrete homes, there was surprisingly little difference. We anticipate the long-term benefits will be incredible. We'll never have to worry about water gathering underneath exterior stucco and causing the wood walls to rot. And, the concrete is fire-proof, so our homeowner's insurance is very low."

The Faichtygers did their research to find Xi Walls and the Prespan flooring system from Northeast Precast. These products from Superior Walls are custom made with insulation to help create a dry, comfortable living space. The precast concrete structure was installed in just two working days, allowing the house to be under roof in less than two weeks.

No beams or columns

Designed by J.W. Pedersen Architect, P.C., the three-bedroom home includes 1,940 square feet of living space on two levels, plus an additional 1,232-square-foot basement and 700-square-foot two-car garage. Sound transmission and structural integrity were the primary concerns for the open floor plan chosen by the homeowners. The insulated precast concrete walls and floor systems were used to resolve those concerns.

“Due to the nature of our layout and having precast concrete walls, we have our open floor plan with precast concrete planks spanning the width of the house,” Faichyger said. “There are no beams or support columns. And, because it’s a concrete floor, there’s no creaking or bouncing. Unless we are looking out the windows, we don’t know if it’s windy, raining or even storming outside. Our house is that insulated and quiet!”

Precast flooring system

The patented Prespan flooring system used in the Faichyger home features insulated precast floor planks that can be incorporated into both residential and commercial projects.

“The Prespan system eliminates the need for interior structural supports,” said Mark Gorgas, commercial division general manager for Northeast Precast.  "This system leaves you with a completely open space with no columns or load-bearing walls."

According to Gorgas, Prespan allows builders to gain a clear span of the entire building to create a full basement or crawl space walls under the garage. The rigid product features less deflection and is 25 percent lighter compared to hollow core planks. “Being able to put a full basement under a garage is a big win for homeowners that dream of extra space,” Gorgas said. "For the Faichtyger family, having the Prespan product under the home and the second floor was a smart investment. The EPS foam integrated into the precast floor system eliminates sound transmission between the floors."

Going up

The Xi Wall system used to construct the foundation and exterior walls of the home saved the homeowners both time and money. The precast walls were used in conjunction with foundation panels and stacked to create multiple stories as a part of a complete wall system building solution.

All Superior Walls products are custom manufactured remotely in indoor production facilities, eliminating any on-site soil contamination such as the form oil used for poured walls. No on-site sprays or bituminous coatings are required to make the walls dampproof. The panels are delivered directly to a job site where certified crews install the precast wall panels.

Because the precast panels are engineered and manufactured with insulated concrete studs, the wall system reduces the amount of materials used to build a structure, including wood and concrete, and reduces the carbon footprint of a new home or commercial facility's construction process.

Concrete construction benefits

For the Faichyger home, the thermal mass of concrete has reduced loads on their HVAC system and provides constant temperatures in the home. The air conditioning system for the home was reduced from two to one unit on a split system. On the home exterior, stucco and stone were applied directly to the precast panels.

 The wall assembly for the project has an R-Value of 31.5, while the Prespan flooring has an R-Value of 39. Most impressive, the reinforced concrete walls made the troublesome gable wall with windows into a shear wall. When combined with the rigid floor system, the structure is able to resist lateral wind loads.

“Our concrete home has exceeded our expectations in every way imaginable,” Faichyger said. "The total cost of the precast concrete was about a quarter of our project cost. That may sound like a lot, but we saved money on construction time, and now we save every day on energy costs.

"Overall, building a house from precast concrete panels and floor planks was a quicker, more cost-efficient option to traditional building. We're definitely recommending these products to our friends and family.”

Read more about home insulation.

Topics: Building Green, Foundations, Insulated Concrete Forms - ICF, Insulation, Thermal Envelope

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