How We Build

At CVH, Inc. we build highly energy-efficient homes.  One of the ways we achieve this is by employing building materials and methods that consistently deliver maximum performance, such as structured insulated panels (SIPs) and insulated concrete forms (ICFs).  While these materials perform like magic there's really nothing magical about them.

SIPs (or structured insulated panels) are building panels that consist of a core of structural insulating foam sandwiched between two structural facings, typically a composite board such as oriented strand board (OSB).  In other words, the SIPs take the place of the interior and exterior sheathing and the insulation.  They're all there in one neat little package!

SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be fabricated to fit nearly any building design. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with SIPs can actually save time and money because the components come all ready to install and don't require extra labor for each component.  The large panel sizes also contribute to a very tight building envelope.

ICFs (insulated concrete forms) are made up with 2 parallel layers of expanded polystyrene foam on the outside, and a concrete core on the inside.  The ICFs can be reinforced with steel rebar, and can be stacked to create walls of almost any height.  The foam blocks are first stacked like Leggo blocks, and are then filled with concrete to create a very strong, highly insulating structure. The foam creates an insulating "skin" on either side of the structural concrete.

The combination of  concrete and foam creates a wall with an unusually good combination of desirable properties: air tightness, strength, sound attenuation, insulation, and thermal mass.

The effects of thermal mass are often overlooked by other builders.  We have learned to harness the full potential of thermal mass, both to store daytime heat for use at night, as well as to mitigate over-heating on hot summer days.  The result is energy performance from our homes that is unmatched by others.  Our collection of national energy awards is only icing on the cake, the real proof is in the performance of the homes we have built.  Our average home over the last five years has reported total energy use just one half of the Passive House requirement, yet our homes only cost a fraction of a certified Passive House.  Perhaps our Positive NRG™ Homes should become the new standard!