To be on the cutting edge of new technologies in construction is always a goal for us at Hardypond. When we can couple that with building in a sustainable and cost-efficient way, then we’re really in our sweet-spot. We recently had just such an opportunity when constructing the Cutts Avenue Apartments in Saco.
Hardypond Vice President Bob Gaudreau introduced the idea of incorporating an innovative new product into the construction of the building: an insulated metal stud wall system called Wally Walls. It was immediately appealing as the product did a lot of things at once. A bit like an insulated LEGO block, Wally Walls offered us a modular, weather-tight structural solution for constructing the Cutts Avenue Apartments that was made from recyclable materials and would offer tenants exceptional energy efficiency and sound-proofing.
“We always want new ideas,” says Hardypond President, Deirdre Wadsworth. “New products help us grow; they stretch our minds. However, our client base is price-conscious. If something doesn’t work on a 30,000 square foot building, that’s a big ‘Oops.’ That’s why we take time to vet products before we use them,” she continues. While essentially every person on the job site would have to learn how to work with this new product, there were enormous advantages to incorporating an efficient new material. Also, the Cutts Avenue Apartments provided Hardypond with a test case to collect data and gain a full life-cycle perspective on this new building technology.
Wally Walls is proudly made in the U.S.A. Speaking from company headquarters in Wisconsin, CEO David Wallach explains, “We are giving contractors and builders an opportunity to build better. We’ve seen walls designed inefficiently to meet code. As a design-assist company, we approach things in a novel way, while still using conventional materials. We design walls holistically for better performance.” Wallach describes his product as a conventionally framed wall made of light-gauge steel with a “grilled cheese sandwich” of injected beads that provides R31.8 insulation. With Wally Walls, builders can have walls go up and be building inside a thermal environment within a day. For anyone who has ever built in Maine weather, that is an amazing advantage. Beyond the edge it gives during construction, Wally Walls also provides improved long-term energy savings while also eliminating the risk of mold and boring insects.
With the Cutts Avenue Apartments complete and a second apartment building in Saco planned, Hardypond is looking forward to incorporating Wally Walls again. “It’s a great tool, our tenants love it, and now we know how to use it,” says Wadsworth. While learning a new way to build with the Wally Walls system, Hardypond also used the experience to teach other Maine carpentry crews how to work with the product. At Hardypond, not only do we want to learn and grow with each project, but we want to help all Maine builders continue to be pioneers in building efficiently and sustainably with the best products and construction technology available.