At New Frameworks we do a lot: from construction to consulting, new buildings, to deep energy retrofits. It’s a lot to keep track of! With that complexity in mind, we’ve created this handy guide to our frequently asked questions.

Still have questions? Drop us a line.

  • I've heard that straw and other plant-based insulations do not do well in a wet, cold climate – is that true?

    The weather conditions of the northeast are a challenge to any building material. Luckily, when these elements are taken into account and designed around, our straw and plant-based insulations perform excellently. Please refer to our research study on the performance of straw-bale walls.

  • What is integrative design and why is it important for high performance buildings?

    Integrative design is a process wherein everyone participating in the build is brought to the table from the outset to make sure every design element and decision is well coordinated and completely understood from the start. The construction of high-performance buildings requires the precise alignment of many different disciplines and fields of knowledge, integrating those different specializations from the beginning is the most effective way to assure success.

  • What does Design/Build mean and how does it differ from just a contractor or an architect?

    Design/build is a method where the design and the build are done under one roof and by a single cohesive team. Coordination and budget alignment maximizes efficiency through a feedback loop where build wisdom informs design choices, and design innovation pushes build practices to be the best they can be.

  • What does carbon storage mean in building choices?

    Plant based materials like straw, cellulose, and wood pull carbon from the atmosphere and store it long term, reducing and helping to reverse climate change. The materials that we build with are more than just the “less-bad” alternative, they actively work to reverse climate change.

  • How much does a natural, high performance building or renovation cost?

    For custom new residential construction, fully contracted and built to high performance standards, $200-400 a square foot is a typical range to expect. Many factors impact where in that range the project will fall - which is why we use our Design & Planning process to co-develop the design alongside the budget. Renovation numbers, on the other hand, vary too much to have one range. We frequently work with owner-builders and those who offset costs using creative means such as community work parties, sweat-equity, materials off their land, and other ways of achieving high quality results at a lower cost. Making this work accessible to more people is a goal of ours, and finding streamlined designs that can optimize value and meet budget constraints is paramount. Send us an inquiry on your project and we are happy to talk specifics!