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Sustainability: Panelization

Sarah Susanka's own house was panelized by Sterling Building Systems, of Wausau, Wisconsin. The house was enclosed in just four days.

"If you've ever driven by a construction-site dumpster, you'll have seen the wasted materials, the wood and drywall that fill the dumpsters. There are some basic strategies that our firm and other architects and builders across the country are embracing to help reduce the amount of wasted material. The first is the panelization of houses. This means that the envelope of the house is actually prebuilt in panels in a factory setting. Almost any plan for any new house can be panelized. The process prevents an enormous amount of waste. Many--but not all--of the panelization companies recycle literally everything into more building products. And panelization results in a better product. The control of the factory setting means that construction isn't stopped by bad weather, which can do serious damage to a house during the building process. In the construction of my own house, which went up in three days, not one drop of rain or snow soaked into any of the building materials. It's a technology that allows us to build better and faster."

--from The Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka

General Resources
Panelization | Energy Efficiency | Materials | Simplicity | Guides & Standards

There are two types of panelization referred to by builders and architects. The first is the type of frame fabrication used to make Sarah Susanka's house; this is commonly called "panelization construction". We have been unable to find a national panelization construction association to refer you to (if anyone knows of one, please let us know); and we are hesitant to refer you to companies with whom we have not personally dealt. However, we found a lengthy list online of panelization construction companies across America using a search engine.

The second type of panelization is the use of structural insulated panels as building material. The Structural Insulated Panel Association can refer you to builders and companies in your area who use structural insulated panels in their construction.

The Benefits of Panelization
Panelized construction saves both the builder and buyer time and money with improved quality, efficiency and control. Since the first builder realized that using a truss system to better build a complicated roof, panelized home building methods have become more and more technologically advanced, leading to a wide array of benefits.

Panelized Home Building Council
Learn more about the benefits of building panelized homes. The Panelized Building Systems Council has in-depth, consumer, and builder education pieces available.

Wausau Homes
Their Controlled Construction is a system that can be easily transported and erected at the job site.

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