Structural Insulated Panels Have Many Fans, So Why Don't More Builders Use Them?

Clever Homes produces finely detailed SIP-constructed custom homes that, when completed, look like any other home. The Johnson Residence in Oakland, Calif., features stucco and wood siding.

Clever Homes offers an extensive variety of finishes that include bamboo or wood floors, ceramic tiles, German faucets and fixtures, and concrete, paper, or quartz countertops. An interior shot of the Johnson Residence is shown here.

The Singh/Hee Residence in San Jose, Calif., displays the various elevation possibilities of SIPs.

Though Clever Homes considers the best technology to build its homes--stick framing, modular, etc.--SIPs are often tops on the list.

The Lighthouse by Potton is a SIP-built timber-frame demonstration home in the United Kingdom featuring a variety of green technologies. The list includes a biomass boiler, photovoltaics, solar-thermal array, and a heat recovery system. Utility costs are estimated to be around 30 euros a month.

Seen from the back, the Lighthouse has a sweet chestnut cladding and a wind catcher.

The Lighthouse’s lounge area is marked by high ceilings and a light-filled open plan.

Though the footprint appears small, the Lighthouse’s interior space planning is highly efficient.

The Post Oak Retreat by architect Camille Urban Jobe is a 2,250-square-foot SIP house that was built on a tight lot in an established Austin, Texas, neighborhood. It features a stucco exterior, a Brazilian hardwood rainscreen, and a steel plate rainscreen.

The Post Oak’s C-shaped plan creates a courtyard that responds to the clients’ desires for privacy in their dense neighborhood.

The open, wood-clad kitchen in the Post Oak residence.

A collaboration between architects Christopher T. Cobb and Camille Urban Jobe, Eva Street is a 2,145-square-foot SIPs house with Corten steel cladding. The home is outfitted with tankless water heaters, dual-flush toilets, and bamboo floors, among other green features.

Operable windows at the top of Eva Street’s staircase create a stack effect for passive cooling.

The Zero Energy Idea House is Energy Star rated and will be monitored by the Washington State University Extension program.

Ever versatile, SIPs can be constructed into traditional buildings such as the Kelly’s 1862 Timber Frame project.

The Steven’s Residence has R-40 walls, an R-50 roof, and geothermal heating and cooling.

You want traditional? SIPs can easily do that too.

Modern design is an ideal architectural style for SIPs. This home features panels measuring up to 10 inches thick and an air-to-air geothermal heating and cooling system.

Prototype03 by URBANbuild at Tulane University School of Architecture is a study in compact housing for substandard lots as well as in the feasibility of SIPs in affordable housing. Featuring 6-inch SIP walls, the 1,200-square-foot home measures 25 feet by 31 feet and is located on a busy corner in New Orlean’s Central City neighborhood.

The Zero Energy Casita by Ferrier Custom Homes is a 1,051-square-foot demonstration project that is choc full of green features. In addition to SIPs walls, the house is built from reclaimed materials, and outfitted with high-efficiency windows, a rainwater collection system, and a wind turbine.

Heather’s Home is the first LEED-H Platinum home in Texas and the third in the nation. The SIP-built house features solar hot water, rainwater collection, and a standing seam metal roof.

Heather’s Home is marked by high ceilings and light-filled interiors. The concrete floors contain fly ash.

One of the bedrooms in Heather’s Home.

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