Construction Details

Montana has published the Montana Residential Energy Code Handbook . Blacktail Solar Homes will be guided by this handbook and will meet these requirements, and in many cases exceed them.

Information common to all construction phases can be found at Temperature Control


Possibly the most important element in low input home design is the insulation. Insulation protects the investment in heating the space naturally by keeping the heat from escaping out of that heated space. Blacktail Solar Homes have R-50 in the space above the ceiling and R-20 or better in the walls. Crawl spaces under the houses are insulated to about R-15. All combined, these houses have excellent thermal characteristics.

Winter Heat

Solar heating is a big part of Blacktail Solar homes. You will find it described in some detail at Heater details.

Electric heating is usually not the least expensive, but these homes are designed to require relatively little heating, and the solar panels will offset much of the cost. All external heat is electric.


Image of Solar Home 2A with exterior walls almost complete using ABS Northwest panels

Traditional framing uses 2x6 studs with fiberglass bat insulation. The studs act as conductors of heat from inside the house to the outside and even the most careful fiberglass insulation installation will have drafts and uneven coverage.

The above image shows Blacktail Solar Home 2A with exterior walls almost complete using ABS Northwest panels. See more at: ABS Northwest Panelized Wall Systems


  • Engineered Wall Systems Designed for Fast and Easy Installs.  
  • Building Code Approved ICC/IRC, BOCA, and UBC 
  • Cost Effective  
  • Good for Your Business AND the Environment 
  • Non-Toxic – No Off Gassing –  No Chemicals  
  • Reduce Air Conditioning and Heating Capacity Requirements 
  • High Quality Assembled in a Factory Environment  
  • Reduced Thermal and Sound Bridge 
  • Resistant to Mold, Mildew, Moisture, Fire, and Insects 
  • Superior Strength and Insulative Properties Compared to Traditional ‘Stick Frame’ Construction 
  • Benefits Do Not Diminish Over Time  
  • Made in Montana  
  • Healthy and Safe   

Conventional framing

Blacktail Solar Home 3A is built using conventional framing. The wall insulation is 2 inches of Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) in addition to conventional fiberglass batts. Window glass is the same quality as the other two homes. See more information about SPF and quality glass in the FAQ.