What would you expect the additional cost (percentage) to be in meeting the
state of MI energy code requirements for a 2700 sq.ft open style ranch?
I am told the exterior walls are going to need to be 2x6 instead of 2x4 to be able on meeting the insulation specs. This sounds expensive especially when you have to than figure in window and door extensions. Any thoughts around this?
I'm surprised you haven't been using 2x6 studs in Michigan all along. Most houses in the Northeast have been framed with 2x6s for the last 20 years. On my home plan website, www.originalhome.com, we offer a choice of 2x4 of or 2x6 studs, and I can't recall an order in the last 5 years for 2x4 studs.
However, 2x6s are more expensive; they take up floor area, and they're a waste of wood. I remember reading once that 2x4 studs at 4 feet on center would be adequate for vertical load support. Of course, that was before the winter of 2011!
I haven't seen the Michigan code, but you might want to investigate sprayed foam insulation. You may be able to meet code with 3-1/2" of sprayed foam although you may find it's cheaper in the end to use 2x6s.
David Moore, AIA
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PS. Here's additional reading on Building Permits.
And, here's a link to: Revisions to the Michigan Uniform Energy Code (MUEC 2003) effective October 24th, 2008