Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Planning Seminar - Timber Frame & SIP Panels

Our Home Planning Seminar with Riverbend Timber Framing last Saturday in Manchester, NH was a great success! Thank you to all who attended! The afternoon was filled with information about sustainable design, timber framing and structural insulated panels, renewable energy options, and financing.

The seminar started with Architect Jeremy Bonin’s presentation on sustainable design. Jeremy gave reasons for waiting to design the home until after the site is purchased and brought guests through the steps of the design process with the various considerations of light and climate. In addition, he discussed floor plan design and orientation – including many design techniques that do not cost the homeowner money but can provide significant energy savings, such as daylighting and passive solar orientation. A particularly popular topic with the audience was renewable energy systems. Many of the attendees are planning to incorporate either a solar, wind, or geothermal system in their new home. Jeremy used detailed diagrams and photos to describe the types of each method and presented cost estimates and average return on investment information for the various systems.

Riverbend Timber Framing is a leader in the timber frame industry. Aaron Caswell had a terrific presentation on timber frame homes and structural insulated panels and explained the basics to those just beginning their research (such as the difference between timber frame and post and beam construction). He used sketches and photos to show the various timber framing systems, and addressed the question of the average cost per square foot by comparing photos of two timber frame homes of the same size – one with 150 timbers with a simple timber frame and the other with 350 timbers custom designed with hammer beam trusses, dormers, and hip and valley rafters. It was a useful tool in depicting why the home with the elaborate timber frame system would cost more per square foot than the basic, straightforward timber frame with less timbers.

Jay Lowrie, of the SeaSolar Store, used solar charts and solar radiation diagrams to highlight the opportunity we have in New England for taking advantage of solar energy systems. He outlined the various solar energy systems you can incorporate into your timber frame design, including solar hot water systems and photovoltaics.

Dave Duplessis of First Metropolitan Mortgage has twenty years’ experience in the mortgage industry. For those homeowners having to sell their home in order to finance their new home, Dave gave advice on how to set up their construction loan and how to deal with change orders and alterations to the home design after the loan has been established.

A special thank you is extended to Aaron Caswell from Riverbend Timber Framing for inviting us to coordinate and speak at the event and to Jay and Dave for their excellent presentations.

We look forward to continued conversations with all who attended and we will post our next seminar event soon. We are coordinating one for this winter, so please check our website often for event listings!

Kimberly Bonin, Executive Project Manager

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