Turning Research Into Reality: Demo House Showcases Energy-Efficient Engineering

Although researchers can accomplish amazing things from the comfort of the laboratory, sometimes all the testing, computer modeling, and scientific theory in the world is no substitute for the real thing. Sometimes, researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) need a real-world example in order to convey the exciting discoveries and developments happening every day at FPL’s home in Madison, Wisconsin.

In the world of wood science, sometimes that means you have to build a house.

Just a few hours south of Madison in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois,  FPL researchers, in cooperation with APA – The Engineered Wood Association, have recently completed a demonstration house to showcase energy-efficient building technologies. The project, dubbed The Inside View Demonstration House, is focused on educating residential homebuilders, designers, and building code officials across the country on how to cost-effectively construct an energy-efficient house with 2×6 advanced framed walls.


The Inside View Research Demonstration House will help educate builders, designers, engineers, and industry professionals on utilizing high-performance wall systems.

Thicker walls constructed with 2×6 lumber offer a larger wall cavity than conventional walls built with 2×4 lumber. In addition to increased structural integrity, this method of construction allows for more insulation, increasing the energy efficiency of the building. FPL is leading the charge in evaluating these wall systems, and also hopes to release a comprehensive guide focused on using 2×6 walls with optimized framing in residential construction next year.

The demonstration house, built by Beechen & Dill Homes, will be used primarily for training and education, and will advance the use of advanced frame walls through seminars, open houses, articles in construction trade magazines, and educational videos produced through APA.

In addition to the walls, the cutting-edge floor system featured in the Inside View Home uses high-performance wood I-joists and 7/8 Performance Category OSB and plywood structural panels. This combination creates a cost-effective floor that drastically reduces construction time and increases efficiency.

Projects like the Inside View Demonstration House help put FPL’s research directly into the hands of those that can use it. This transfer of knowledge from FPL and its industry partners to the American public, complete the chain of scientific research, and realize the Forest Service’s motto of “caring for the land and serving people.”

For more information, please see the FPL Research in Progress publication Advanced Framing/Energy-Efficient Technology Transfer Demonstration Home.

You can also view the APA press release here.