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Pioneer in Advanced Building

Who: Bill Eich.

Where: Spirit Lake, Iowa.

What he did: An engineer by training, Eich has made a national impact on residential construction by pioneering a variety of techniques to lower costs and improve building performance.

Nestled along the wooded shores of Lake Okoboji, the small town of Spirit Lake, Iowa, has served the homebuilding industry as a laboratory for new construction technologies. Its core of well-educated, progressive builders work without the bureaucratic restraints of a building department, using only modern engineering as a guide.

This freedom to experiment encouraged many advanced building methods, from permanent wood foundations to gasketed drywall sealing. Many of these techniques have finally made it into the national codebooks.

Bill Eich stands tall among these prominent building-science advocates. A trained engineer, Eich was among the first to adopt frost protected shallow foundations and helped write design guidelines now in use throughout the country. He was an early advocate of permanent wood foundations and remains a leader in energy efficient building practices. Eich was only 5 years old when he began working at his father's homebuilding company. He went on to earn a degree in construction engineering and eventually founded Bill Eich Construction Co.

Inspired by Canadian building scientist Joe Lstiburek, Eich realized the cost-saving potential of alternative building practices and began incorporating them into his homes. He has reduced costs while providing his clients with a better product. He has traveled extensively, leading seminars for builders across the United States, Canada and China.

Although he's given up on the idea of changing the world through better building science, Eich still lives the passion of innovative science by constructing some of the highest quality, most energy efficient homes in the nation.

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