First Zero Energy Ready Home in Tennessee

New Home Proves SIP is Energy Efficient

Dan Smith, sales representative out of the Murfreesboro model worked with a customer whose goal was to build a Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH).

To accomplish this goal, the customer chose Honest Abe’s SIP panel offering but was drawn to one of the Honest Abe’s most popular log home floor plans – the Madison. So with slight modifications, including a small loft, the plan was developed and the home built. It became the first residential Zero Energy Ready Home certified in the state of Tennessee. In addition, the home also received EPA Air and Energy Star Certifications.

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Mike Hix was the designer that worked with Dan and the customer to customize the plan. With nearly 1,700 square feet of conditioned space, the homeowner’s projected energy costs is $1,020 annually. This is with all electric heating/cooling heat systems and an electric hot water heater.

The home’s exterior walls are constructed with the standard, highly energy efficient 4.5 inch SIP system with a Hardie product on the exterior. These panels give you a continuous R-26 rating with very limited thermal breaks. The roof system is the standard Honest Abe Heavy Timber roof system in the center (R-40).

The wings are constructed with manufactured trusses with blown in cellulose insulation achieving an approximate R-40 also. Jeld-Wen 2500 series windows and Honest Abe fiberglass doors were chosen by the customer. Dry-in labor was provided by Honest Abe veteran crew led by Darrell Elliott.

“It was fun to work with such nice customers who had a goal from the beginning and to see them it achieve that goal is very gratifying,” Dan said. “It’s also nice to think about all you can do with the money you’re not sending to the power company!”

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Honest Abe Log Homes developed our Southern TimberCraft line of homes to incorporate many of the same timber elements that may be found in both log and timber frame homes. However, they utilize Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for the exterior walls or building envelope.

A SIP is basically a sheet of OSB or plywood, a thickness of rigid foam insulation and a second sheet of OSB to create a “sandwich.”Your log, timber or hybrid home can employ SIP construction, and we will supply the panels, custom manufactured right, in your package, delivered with your other building materials.

Benefits of Using SIP

  • Energy efficiency – imagine having the cost to heat and cool your home being HALF that of a conventionally framed home for the rest of your life. Would you enjoy that? It’s not only possible with a SIP home. It’s documented! SIP panel homes offer a few big advantages. LESS seams means less air infiltration. Higher R values mean less heating/cooling capacity needed to keep your home comfortable year round.
  • Faster to build – our SIPS are delivered to your home site already cut and numbered. It is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. In a typical home the panels can be assembled in just a couple of days, with NO WASTE! Saving time saves you money!


  • Structurally capable – SIP panels are two to three times more structurally capable than stick framing. Study after study shows how a SIP panel home will keep you safe as well as warm.
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