Building America Case Study: Advanced Extended Plate and Beam Wall System in a Cold-Climate House, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Timothy Merrigan, D. Mallay, J. Wiehagen, V. Kochkin

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


This report presents the design and evaluation of a innovative wall system. This highly insulated (high-R) light-frame wall system for use above grade in residential buildings is referred to as Extended Plate & Beam (EP&B). The EP&B design is the first of its kind to be featured in a new construction test house (NCTH) for the DOE Building America program. The EP&B wall design integrates standard building methods and common building products to construct a high-R wall that minimizes transition risks and costs to builders. The EP&B design combines optimized framing with integrated rigid foam sheathing to increase the wall system's R-value and reduce thermal bridging. The foam sheathing is installed between the wall studs and structural wood sheathing. The exterior wood sheathing is attached directly to a framing extension formed by extended top and bottom plates. The exterior wood sheathing can dry to the exterior and provides bracing, a clear drainage plane and flashing surface for window and door openings, and a nailing surface for siding attachment. With support of the DOE Building America program, Home Innovation Research Labs partnered with Lancaster County Career and Technology Center (LCCTC) to build a NCTH in Lancaster, PA to demonstrate the EP&B wall design in a cold climate (IECC climate zone 5A). The results of the study confirmed the benefits of the systems and the viability of its integration into the house construction process.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Partnership for Home Innovation (PHI), Upper Marlboro, Maryland

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-5500-65326

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4808


  • Building America
  • framig
  • high performance
  • high-R
  • home innovation research labs
  • insulation
  • moisture
  • Partnership for Home Innovation (PHI)
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • walls
  • XPS


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