The benefits of structural insulated panels (SIPs) is spreading - home buyers are now understanding and demanding this solution because of its unique and beneficial energy performance. And, the benefits don't start there. SIPs advance the construction process, potentially cutting costs for builders that they can pass along to buyers as well.
More custom home builders have discovered an advanced method of building that can help reduce a home’s heating and cooling energy consumption up to 60 percent compared to stick framing. The system is structural insulated panels (SIPs), which can be used to form walls, roofs and floors in big sections (24 ft. each) that install quickly and easily. SIPs panels are made when structural wood sheathing is laminated to a rigid foam core for superior strength and insulation. Compared to traditional two-by-four stud walls, SIPs have thicker and more continuous insulation for exceptional insulating power, and have far fewer gaps where heated indoor air can leak out.
“Making a home airtight is the most critical thing you can do for high energy efficiency,” says Garrett Strong, president of Tall Pines Construction, Inc., in Park City, Utah. In one custom home Strong built for the O’Meara family in the snowy foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, the large SIP panels leave few spaces for gaps and help super-insulate the home. This high efficiency allowed the home to supply 90 percent of its heating and cooling needs through passive solar energy.
Likewise, when it came time to design her own home, Montana architect Becki D. Miller, AIA, used SIPs to help create a structure that she estimates is about 30 times more airtight than a conventional home. In addition to being energy efficient, Miller notes that SIPs help simplify and speed construction. “In one step, you can have the walls up and they’re insulated and sheathed,” says Miller. “With SIPs, we had the walls up in only two days.”Read More