While even mild Montana winters present challenges for construction, it is true that this winter has been much better for building than for skiing. Workers are steadily creating the attractive, mixed-income neighborhood Story Mill Community Park. They have leaned into a roller coaster of temperatures and only occasional snow events. Thawing ground to pour footings, covering concrete after laying it, shoveling mostly light blankets of new snow to keep framing, they have pushed up an expanding number of homes that are turning heads like crocuses in spring. Thirty foundations are in. The site is now bustling with all stages of construction.
Inside this spectacle is important innovation and remarkable results for energy conservation. The homes are being constructed with an additional interior air barrier, and an added layer of rigid, exterior insultation. Tests are showing results in the homes’ air tightness that are four to eight times better than required by current building codes. Next time you see families enjoying Bozeman’s flagship community park, you can picture the homes beyond them pushing the frontier of energy conservation.