SIP-FUNDAMENTALS



Gathering all the answers to the questions you have about SIP's


1. What is the cost?

Building with SIPs generally costs about the same as building with wood frame construction, when you factor in the labor savings resulting from shorter construction time and less job-site waste.
Other savings are realized because less expensive heating and cooling systems are required with SIP construction.

The cost to build a SIPs house depends entirely on its design. Generally the installed cost of SIPs is comparable to stick framed construction. When you look at the benefits of labor savings, and less waste, SIPs offer short-term construction savings as well as long-term benefits for the homeowner in energy savings.

The following is an independent study demonstrating these energy savings:  Mark Whitaker, an independent energy consultant in Mesquite, Texas, compares SIPs vs. stick frame building envelopes and projects the utility cost one can expect to pay based on the type of HVAC system, local utility rates and heating and cooling days. Here is an analysis comparing the operating costs of a 1,522-square-foot Dallas home using two different construction envelopes;

 

 

SIP Energy
Efficient Home

Conventionally
Constructed Home

Home Owners
Pocketed Savings

5 years

10 years

15 years

20 years

$2,464

$5,463

$9,111

$13,549

$5,647

$11,552

$17,742

$24,246

$3,183

$6,089

$8,631

$10,697

 

Estimated Operating Costs @ 4% Annual Cost Increase


2. What style of houses can be built with SIPs?

Virtually all styles of houses can be built using structural insulated panels.  SIP structures are being built in all kinds of environments.  Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii. Any environment, hot, cold or wet is ideal for SIPs.

3. What is the insulation advantage to building with SIPs?

By way of comparison...

- A coffee cup that protects your fingers from 210º F liquid has an 1/8 inch of foam.- An ice chest that will hold ice for 5 days in 180º F weather has 1 inch of foam. The SIPS wall and roof sections have from 3.5 inches to 12 inches of foam, providing super insulation from heat and cold!

R-value is a measure of a material's resistance to heat flow. The higher the number, the better the material is at insulating. According to the Dept. of Energy, thermal breaks such as corners, windows, doors, and stud walls dramatically reduce the stated R-value of virtually every product on the market except SIPs. As an example, a 2x6-stud wall with R-19 fiberglass batts has an R-value of 14. A six-inch SIP wall has an R-value of 21. Simply put, a 6" SIP wall out performs a 6" stud wall by 53%.  Panels have the following ratings.

The energy efficiency of an entire wall assembly has been documented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, (ORNL). The testing method takes into account energy losses for the structural members, corners, joints and around windows, not just the value of the insulation. Results of these tests are shown below:

 

But SIPs are better still at energy savings!
Air Infiltration - Comparative tests done by Oak Ridge National Laboratories show that a 2,600 sq.ft. house made out of SIPs was 5 times more airtight than an identical house made with traditional framing and fiberglass.

REMEMBER: Fiberglass R-values go down as temperatures go down
Studies conducted by the Department of Energy show that fiberglass insulation in an attic rated at R-19 performed at R-9 when temperatures outside dropped to -8ºF due to convective currents within the insulation.


4. How strong are SIPs?

SIPs are extremely strong. Studies have shown that SIPs are at minimum 20% stronger than dimensional lumber.

Strength in building materials and systems is judged by the materials' ability to withstand the forces of nature. Data to determine strength properties is gathered by destructive testing, and specific tests are utilized to evaluate a SIPs' performance in high winds, earthquakes and snow load conditions. The testing program on SIP panel systems is the most extensive in the industry.  SIPs are exceptionally strong in racking diaphragm shear capacities, which are the primary structural properties that engineers are concerned with when designing for seismic and hurricane events. Not only do test results show SIPs are stronger, but natural disasters have proven it time and again. A SIP home located in the Florida Gulf survived Hurricane Opal in 1995 and was used as a meeting facility for the county rescue team. The same SIP home along with another in Central Florida also survived the hurricanes of 2004.  The combination of the rigid foam insulated core, bonded to an outer sheathing, forms a monolithic structural I-beam. The strength of the panel comes from displacing the load across the building structure.

5. How are SIPs more environmentally friendly than other building methods?

SIPs are better for the world around us. SIPs panels are so energy efficient, that homeowners regularly save up to 60% on utility bills. SIPs help reduce the demand for fossil fuel consumption (such as gas, oil and coal) and also reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions (like carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere during the years you heat and cool your home, resulting in a cleaner environment.

SIPs also promote green building benefits, as they are 100% recyclable and they significantly reduce jobsite waste (by up to 60% reduction) in comparison to conventional stick-framing construction methods.

SIPs are better for your personal environment. Studies linking respiratory disease, allergies and other diseases to indoor air quality have spawned an array of non/less toxic products and improved indoor ventilation. Our panels are very airtight giving you precise control over the indoor air quality of your home, which helps to keep out allergens, humidity, dust, etc.

SIPS are made from materials that are best for the environment. The Expanded polystyrene (EPS) core used in structural insulated panels is manufactured using a low-environmental impact process of steam expansion that uses pentane and contains no CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) or HCFCs (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons) or formaldehyde. EPS is an inert material, so there are no issues with dust or off-gassing.

The oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing used in SIPs is made from harvesting fast growing new-growth trees, making the resources renewable and sustainable, as no old-growth timber is used.

6. Are SIPs insect-resistant?

Ants, termites and other insects are common throughout the United States and can affect both stick frame and SIPs buildings. SIPs are no more susceptible to infestation than stick frame. Good construction practices should be used in the design and construction of SIP buildings to avoid insect infestation. All of our SIP panels have a EPS treated with "Borate" to prevent insect nesting in the foam.

7. How do Plumbing and Electrical integrate with SIPs?

While there are some specific techniques that your subcontractors will need to become familiar with, building with SIPs will not create a significant roadblock in your construction. Traditionally, very little plumbing is included in exterior walls regardless of the building style used, and with SIPs most plumbing is located in the interior walls. Electrical chases are manufactured into panels to accommodate wiring. Wiring is simply pulled through the chases after the panels have been installed.

8. Why is a SIPs project completed faster?

The panelized portion of a structure goes up much faster than standard stick frame construction, and panels will be stronger, straighter and greener than stick frame methods.

SIPs arrive on the jobsite precut per your floor plans. Your SIPs are manufactured in large panels according to your plans. When manufacturing your custom panels to size, we cut out windows, doors and gable ends; reducing the need for time intensive (and costly) window and door framing.

To further ensure speedy installation, all SIPs arrive to the jobsite pre-numbered to coordinate with shop drawings.

The number of pieces in a standard masonry wood truss construction system of a 1400 square foot home reduce from over 4200 parts in the shell alone to a simple 300 parts for the entire shell including the roof, floor and all thermal insulation.

The simple fact that SIPs are pre-insulated also saves the insulation step in the construction process.

9. Why are more people building with SIPs now than ever before?

Building with Sips creates stronger houses, straighter, more predictable roofs, walls and floors, and greener structures. Consumers are demanding better quality building products, healthier indoor environments and they also have a higher level of environmental responsibility than in previous decades. Builders and architects are designing to meet these needs and SIPs fit them perfectly.

Builders are finding once they start with SIPs they have a hard time going back to stick frame construction. SIPs save builders time and money with faster installation, while creating a stronger, more efficient home.

Across the country, SIPs are a part of luxury homes, industrial warehouses, tract developments, multifamily units, churches, wineries, health care facilities and retail shops. If someone can dream it up, SIPs can help build it.




why choose us

The best structural insulated panel made by a quality NTA certified fabricators and the best service makes our panels the best choice for your project.

We are committed to:

Being the source for the right panel for the application.
We represent multiple manufacturers of SIPs OSB, and MgO board.

Providing panels installed
If requested we can provide an installation crew to install panels.

Providing an experienced project manager.
If requested we can provide a certified installer to direct the installation of your project.

Shipping straight, square, and well-laminated panels.
Our panels are designed on CAD and cut with CNC.

Inspecting all orders for quality and accuracy.
We inspect each panel before it is shipped to your project.

Educating the installer to guarantee success.
We provide shop drawings and assistance for each project.

Experienced engineering and design services.
We have available an Architect or Engineer to assist with your project.