Ted Cushman

In the fall of 2014 my company built an addition to a ski lodge in Greenwood, Maine. The job is close to where I live, so I was eager to get the contract. But I also wanted to stick with my company's specialty: high-performance energy-efficient buildings. I've been trained as a Passive House consultant, and I like to apply the Passive House method to every project. Fortunately, I was able to persuade the owner that spending another 10% of the project cost on improved airtightness and increased insulation would be justified by the reduced heating and cooling costs and the improved comfort in the new building. Working on the plans with architect Eric Sokol, of Winkelman Architecture in Portland, Maine, we added our typical details—essentially, increasing the depth of the roof rafters and the thickness of the walls by using a wood I-joist buildout for super-insulation.

We used 16-inch-deep wood I-joists for the cathedral roof of the addition, with a supported ridge. The deep joists were overkill for the building's roof span, obviously. But we did have to scratch our heads a little to figure out the framing details for the two-pitch roof system. The roof above the main room of the addition is framed on a 12...

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