Goodman Home Innovations: Multiple Innovations - Homes Across America Search Return Goodman Home Innovations: Multiple Innovations - Homes Across America Search Return

Goodman Home




Goals of Innovation: To evacuate vehicle exhaust from the garage below the home's main living area.

Description: A specially controlled Panasonic exhaust fan was installed in the ceiling and vented outdoors. The controller is activated by the garage door closing and stays on for a pre-determined amount of time. Fresh air is passively introduced from a vent near the floor.

Obstacles: There were no off-the-shelf controllers capable of operating the exhaust fan the desired way, so the controller was developed by a family friend. He now plans to market the controller commercially.

Cost Information: The fan, circuitry, vents and labor cost about $500.

Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: The innovation met the goal, but the owner suggests others should also isolate the garage air from the home by adding a vapor barrier between the garage and living area.


Goals of Innovation: Reduce the amount of lumber normally used to build a home of this size while improving its structural soundness.

Description: Although timber frame or post and beam construction is common, Gerald designed several techniques to adapt that method specifically to the type of straw bale home he wanted to build. Much of the structural support for the roof comes from engineered lumber products consisting primarily of 14" I joists and glued laminated beams made of 2" X 12" boards. The floors are supported by 18" I joists.

The "glue lams" tie the roof and wall framing together by wrapping around the entire perimeter of the house along the upper walls. They are screwed into the 6" X 6" inch corner posts and the 4" X 6" wall posts, which are set on eight foot centers. The window "bucks", which can be thought of as being more of a three dimensional and box frame, support the glue lams. The bucks also provide the framing for the windows and doors. There is a photo of a window buck in the photo gallery.

The entire frame work is tied together using Simpson ties, which are rigid steel braces, for each specific application. In the foundation, 2 1/2' by 7/8" bolts hold #10 wall straps. On the joints of the beams, flat strapping was used. Hurricane brackets and flat strapping went over the top of the I joists of the roof.

Obstacles: Certain framing techniques were specifically adapted or developed to accommodate the straw bale walls and create a tight building envelope. Although there are no building codes where this house was built, Gerald had engineered a complete set of building plans. He also had ICBO (International Council of Building Offcials) inspections throughout the construction process. The inspections wound up being a tremendous asset when weather and other delays forced him to take out a bank loan to finish the job.

Cost Information: It is estimated that by using this method, as well as by framing most of the interior walls with steel, the amount of dimensional lumber normally used for a home this size was reduced by at least 50%. Labor was also reduced.

Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: The system was rigorously tested in the fall of 2002 when the area had a 7.8 earthquake. The home came through without even a crack in the wall. The only effect was a squeak in a staircase, which Gerald fixed by tighening a couple of screws.

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