SIP’s save energy because ther eis very little framing necessary. Sawn lumber is a relatively poor insulator and causes energy loss through "thermal bridging". A SIP building envelope provides high levels of insulation and is extremely airtight, meaning the amount of energy used to heat and cool a home can be cut by up to 50%. The energy that powers homes and commercial buildings is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
Recent studies have shown that building with SIP’s can save you as much as 41% on labor because they arrive at your construction site ready to set in place with speed and precision and there is no need to install sheathing or insulation. There’s less time sorting and cutting materials on site, less waste, and less bracing required. Panels as large as 8’ x 24’ cab be set in place quickly with mechanical assistance allowing for faster dry-in time. The walls and roof are then immediately ready for exterior finish systems. And, since interior framing can be done after SIP’s are set, you can work inside in a controlled environment once windows and exterior doors are installed. When building dormers, they can be assembled on the ground and set in place as a single unit saving additional time and labor.
SIP buildings are extremely airtight and require mechanical ventilation. Ventilation systems bring fresh air into the building in controlled amounts and exhaust moisture-laden and stale air to the outside. B limiting air exchange to controlled ventilation systems, SIP homes allow for all incoming air to be filtered for allergens and dehumidified, amounting to better indoor air quality. Proper ventilation is important in all homes to preserve indoor air quality.
Properly Sizing HVAC Equipment
The high insulating properties of SIP’s allow smaller HVAC equipment to be used. Proper HVAC sizing is crucial because an oversized HVAC system will fail to reach the steady operating rate the equipment was designed for. Short cycling HVAC equipment will be less energy efficient and require more maintenance.
Building with SIP’s makes it easy to qualify for Energy Star. Energy Star does not require bloweer door or duct blaster tests for SIP homes to meet the program’s requirements, decreasing the costs of an Energy Star inspection.
SIP’s are an engineered high performance system that results in fewer callbacks as a result of straight, flat, true walls; no drywall nail pops; no cracks due to lumber shrinkage; no "comfort complaints".
The insulation used in SIP’s is a lightweight rigid foam plastic composed of 98% air, and requires only a small amount of petroleum to produce. The foam insulation used in panel cores is made using a non-CFC blowing agent that does not threaten the earth’s ozone layer.
Since SIP’s are prefabricated in the factory, there is less jobsite waste that needs to be landfilled. Factory fabrication is often done using optimization software and many manufacturers recycle factory scrap to make other foam products.
For more information on structural insultated panels, visit www.sips.org