Local News

February 9, 2009

Up to the challenge

Local house to lead nation into new energy frontiers


For more information, contact Chris Fennell at the Institute for Building Technology and Safety, a national organization that promotes leading-edge construction and building code compliance, at 1 (703) 481-2000 or check the Web site

The institute has teamed with Oakridge National Laboratory, among others, to provide the highest level of technical support to builders involved in the High-Performance Residential Challenge.

TUPPER LAKE — A new, energy-efficient house being built near Fish Creek will be the first of its kind in the nation.

Rich Kraft, a builder from Tupper Lake, has partnered with research engineers and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in a unique scientific/economic construction experiment, of sorts.

The 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom finished house will eventually become Kraft's home, situated back from Route 30 in a young forest not far from Upper Saranac Lake.


Standing beside a row of gray-speckled concrete forms made of high-tech Neopor, Kraft described the house, one of four around New York that's part of the NYSERDA-generated High-Performance Residential Challenge.

"I wanted to make it energy efficient, and I also wanted it to last as long as possible," he said.

On two floors, the house will have no stairs, but walkways will connect levels.

The frame will be a lattice of concrete poured into the insulated forms. Stacked outside the work site, they looked like giant, grown-up Legos.

But the lightweight foam on either side of the concrete will form a complete block from the weather and wind outside, which can dip to 30 and 40 below in winter.

Kraft said the insulated "legos," called Logix, will work with any ordinary house design, from timber frame to sheetrock.

"It is not that huge of a difference in construction. In some respects, the building is simpler."

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