An often over looked feature of a new home, is the comfort level of the inhabitants. Recently, homeowners have reported a high level of comfort with their new SIP homes . This is not a surprise since heating and cooling is more evenly distributed in SIP homes as consequence of the lack of hot and cold spots typically found in conventional stick framed homes. In other words, SIP homes are less drafty since they are virtually airtight.
Another serious problem facing traditional homes is the lack of adequate vapor barriers. A typical vapor barrier is some material (usually plastic or a foil sheet) that resists the passage of moisture through some medium (usually a wall or ceiling). The barrier helps to prevent interior or exterior moisture from penetrating an area where there is a significant temperature or vapor pressure differential. This is a crucial component in northern climates where there is a great dispersion between heated and unheated spaces.
A vapor barrier must be continuous to work effectively, and this is where conventional stick homes have issues. For instance, most homes have breaks in the vapor barrier at electrical receptacles, switches, lights, window and door frames, and other locations where the ceilings and floors meet. A SIP home provides a continuous foam core that is virtually impregnable to moisture flow.
Inadequate vapor barriers can cause humid air to pass through the surfaces and cause condensation where it reaches the dew point, often within the inside or outer wall surface. This is a serious problem because it can cause rotting of the wood members, mold and fungus growth, and peeling or lifting of exterior paint.
Building with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) in Vermont traps the dew point in the foam where it cannot access moisture sensitive wood. In this way, there is no need for expensive vapor barrier products. Simply put: SIP homes can prevent the growth of cancer causing mold and fungus, prevent the rotting of structural supporting wood, and reduce exterior painting.