Two easy changes can be made to conventional wall building:
1. Start by framing on 24" centers:
Optimum Value Engineering
It's hard to get experienced framers to change their ways, but this saves a lot of wood with some extra design time. You have to give them a drawing that shows every stud and header location and configuration.
2. Thermal bridging is a big issue in stud walls. Dow Styrofoam helps at almost no extra cost. Note that it eliminates most of the (rot prone) OSB in the structure, and if you tape the joints, it eliminates all the Tyvek. "Styrofoam insulating sheathing" keeps most of the water at least 1/2" away from all the wood in the house. Nice.