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August 07, 2014

Advanced Framing

Not illustrative of the subject - just a shot I liked
We have designed this house to utilize a technique called "Advanced Framing", aka Optimum Value Engineering (OVE).

These fancy names just refer to a few framing techniques that:
1. reduce the amount of lumber in your walls, and
2. increase the amount of insulation in your walls.

(Which really are the same thing due to cause and effect.)

Here are a few of the principles we are employing:

Image from

Space studs on 24" centers instead of 16" centers.  Less wood, more insulation.  The image above shows the benefits pretty clearly.

Image from US Dept of Energy / Building Science Corporation

Align your framing vertically: floor joists, wall studs, and roof framing  bear directly above each other.  This means the structural forces have a direct path, and you can eliminate double top plates, reduce header sizes, etc.  See image above.

Revised window headers: Use insulated headers, and eliminate the jack studs by using header clips.  Also illustrated in image above.

Image from US Dept of Energy

Corner details that allow for more insulation: Corners used to be full of wood - not necessarily for structure, but to provide attachment surfaces.  New techniques eliminate a lot of lumber.

Images from

Raised Heel Trusses: aka "energy heel" trusses.  Instead of pinching down the insulation where the roof meets the walls, these trusses (or also hand-built roof framing) provides increased depth for insulation above the perimeter walls.

for more detailed information on these techniques and more, try these links:
- APA Advanced Framing Guide
- BSI-030
- Green Building Advisor: Pros & Cons of Advanced Framing
- Energy Star: Advanced Wall Framing

None of this is all that hard to do, really, but it does take a little planning and familiarity with the concepts.

Material costs on a job can be reduced by up to 30%.

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