I’ll admit that a basement foundation was not my first choice. In fact, I got talked into it kicking and screaming. Why? Because it took away from my small house concept. My little house, originally planned as a shade over 900 sq feet, ballooned out to 1600 sq ft because of the additional square footage. Not technically a “small house” anymore and I can’t help but feel sad about that. However, given that a) my lot is sloped b) I wanted covered parking and c) this is a cold climate area, the basement foundation was the most cost-effective option. It allows for an integral garage, which is tough to live without in the Pittsburgh winter. (or once you’ve had one, it’s hard to go back is probably a more accurate statement 🙂 I did find one way to work with the basement and remain true to my small house vision, but more on that later. Let’s talk a little about the basement foundation that’s being used for this house: the superior walls Xi foundation system. http://www.superiorwalls.com/home
Below is a cross-sectional view of its components.
This foundation system is a solid representative of green construction and building practice. Here are some of its mother earth loving features:
– it is produced in a factory with precast concrete walls …”eliminating any on-site soil contamination from such as the form oil used for poured walls. And because dampproofing is built into our walls (ESRs 1553 & 1662), no on-site sprays or bituminous coatings are required to make the walls dampproof.” http://www.superiorwalls.com/home
– it arrives to the jobsite ready to install, producing almost zero on-site waste
– there is a continuous layer of insulation bonded directly to the concrete walls, which improves the energy efficiency. 2.5″ of insulation creates a wall with an R-value of R-12.5, prior to drywall installation. It leaves enough room for insulation up to R-50+ if desired. (Just as a reference point, a basement wall built to current code has an R-value of R-10)
It is also an NAHB Green Approved Product
If you’re thinking of building a house with energy star or LEED certification, this is definitely a product worth looking into.
Back to my project: my basement will be finished, with an R-10 under the slab and R-20 in the walls. This meets the PGH (Pretty Good House) standards!! One tic next to that item on my PGH checklist 🙂