Q: I came across “staggered stud” construction and wonder how much of an improvement this makes to external wall R-values?

A: The technique to construct a home’s external walls using staggered studs is used to create a thermal break between the outside and the inside of the home. Often one can see where the studs are located from the outside of a less-efficient home when the weather gets balmy and there is moisture in the air. The lack of a thermal break means heat from the inside of the home can transfer to the outside walls and vice versa.

Staggered stud construction is now found in many newly built energy efficient homes and helps to create a thermal break. You shouldn’t be able to tell where the studs are when there are weather changes. Some high performance green homes are achieving R-values of close to 50. With programs like the Earth Advantage Institute’s certification program, new certified homes come with an energy bill guarantee when utilizing construction techniques such as staggered stud construction. You can easily find out if a home has been rated by the Earth Advantage Institute by contacting their local office.

Homes that utilize 2 x 4 construction are not as energy efficient as a staggered stud constructed home. Builders now have the capability to build in a manner that contributes to the ecosystem as well as provide comfort like nothing else. An added benefit to staggered stud construction is that it also makes an excellent sound barrier.

Visit the Smart Green Home located at 1310 SE 39th Way [travel 503 and go west on 179th in Battle Ground] in this year’s NW Natural Open House Tour during the hours of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through today or visit www.clarkcountyparadeofhome.com to take a virtual tour to see staggered stud construction.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!