What are SIPS? Structural Insulated Panels or SIPs are a sandwich assembly consisting of a lightweight EPS (expanded polystyrene) core glued between two sheets of Oriented Strand Board (O.S.B.). The lamination process is performed under carefully controlled conditions, insuring a quality product. The panels create a system which provides high load bearing capabilities, exceptional insulation, and an uninterrupted wall surface, all in one. The system is designed to be mounted over timber framing or can be used as a standalone product. Either way, SIPs form an uninterrupted insulating blanket with an R-value much greater than that of conventional walls with fiberglass insulation.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average U.S. home releases 22,000 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere each year. This is twice the amount of the average vehicle.
By reducing the amount of energy used for heating and cooling, Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) can significantly reduce emissions produced by our homes and commercial buildings.
Indoor Air Quality
In recent years, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the air inside the places we live and work can be more polluted than the air outdoors. This poses a serious health risk to occupants.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Furthermore, this can also increase susceptibility to headaches, viruses, and asthma-like symptoms.
Building Green Tanguay Homes of Newport, Vermont uses OSB as the facings for our SIPs because they are environmentally friendly. These OSB SIPs are environmentally friendly because they typically contain softwoods such as poplar and aspen, which are fast growing trees harvested on a tree farm when they are young. This is important in a green society because the emphasis is on newer and faster producing trees which protect the old growth forests.
SIPS are Strong Recent research has shown that the structural integrity of a Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) building is significantly superior to a conventional stick framed house in terms of compressive resistance, flexural strength, shear resistance, and uplift resistance. SIPs have undergone exhaustive testing by many third party agencies, and SIPs have proven themselves to be a powerful alternative to the standard fiberglass-stick frame.
SIPS are Efficient
SIP panels are extremely resource efficient and as such support the green home building industry. For starters, there is little doubt that there is much less wood required to construct a SIP shell than in a conventional stick-frame. The table shown below depicts the typical amount of wood used in a stud framed wall compared to a SIP wall.
The OSB that is used as the facings in a SIP panel comes from younger growing farm trees, which are generally regarded as a renewable and sustainable resource. These trees such as aspen and spruce are harvested from fast growing crop forests and thus no old-growth timber is used.
Price Competitive We at Tanguay Homes of Newport, Vermont believe that the panels are, dollar for dollar, a better buy than any other insulation system. The Thermal performance of a building system is the highest concern of consumers today. Our SIPs offer the highest R-value for the lowest possible cost. The R-value of EPS remains stable for the life of the structure, unlike panels using expanded polyurethane, isocyanurate or fiber glass. Our panels require less construction time. The system fits together more quickly, and simply than conventional framing, for an overall savings in man-hours.
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SIPS are Comfortable
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
Why build with SIPs?
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.
History of SIPS Although foam-core panels gained attention in the 1970s, the idea of using stress skinned panels for construction began in the 1930s. Research and testing of the technology was done primarily by Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin as part of an U.S. Forest Service attempt to conserve forest resources. In 1937, a small stressed-skin house was constructed and garnered enough attention to bring in First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to dedicate the house. In a testament to the durability of such panel structures, it has endured the severe Wisconsin climate and was used by University of Wisconsin–Madison as a day care center up until 1998 when it was removed to make way for a new Pharmacy School building. With the success of the stress skinned panels, it was suggested stronger skins could support all of the structural loads and eliminate the conventional building frame altogether. After the creation of their prototype, Forest Products Laboratory entered their custom designed SIP into the marketplace where it sold for next thirty years.