A.Michael Anschel, owner of Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build in Minneapolis, which specializes in older urban homes and in green design and building practices, responds: Begin with engineered framing material, such as finger-jointed studs, glulams, LVL, and LSL (laminated strand lumber).

Not only can you often reduce the quantity of material used (by framing on 24-inch centers and by using longer lengths than are possible with standard sawn 2-by lumber), but engineered framing products are straight and true, and recent advances in glue technology give me complete confidence in their long-term performance.

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