While well known by custom homebuilders, structural insulated panels (SIPs) are little known by the broad market. They are a remarkable product that deliver unparalleled performance, so it’s time to celebrate SIPs.
SIPs panels are essentially a sandwich of structurally engineered oriented strand board (better known as OSB) and either a polyurethane or expanded polystyrene insulated middle. [Please note that Black Canyon Builders works with Murus SIPs, so we are referring to that company’s top tier product lines.]
If you’ve heard of SIPs panels, the first association is the superior R-value they provide. While a notable energy efficient and comfort attribute, SIPs panels provide a host of other benefits. Here are a few:
- Clean construction ~ SIPs with a Woodhouse Timber Frame come measured and cut to precision, leaving no need for the on-and off-site mess of additional insulation.
- Fast construction ~ Fewer cuts and nearly instant structure.
- Consistent and superior temperature moderation ~ SIPs provide consistent heating and cooling, without hot and cold spots of “tradtional” construction.
- Fiscal savings ~ Savings in energy costs to heat and cool, both throughout the year and over the lifespan of the home, are significant.
- Design Flexibility ~ Since SIPs panels are (or can be) structural, a homeowner isn’t constrained by traditional construction limitations. SIPs can support large window expanses and powerful architectural detailing.
- Structural SIPs mean every square inch is habitable ~ If SIPs are used for the roof structure, for instance, trusses are unnecessary and the attic space is open. More square footage for your dollar. For wall structure, SIPs walls require comparable space to most masonry walls.
- Air tight ~ Many SIPs homes are so airtight, we install an additional ventilation system to ensure clean air. Off the cuff, that may sound like a negative, but the positive side is that you’re not losing the air you’re paying to heat.
- Minimal cold bridging ~ Cold bridging is the inevitable “break” in continuity where construction materials meet. For example, “traditional” construction will have a cold bridge every 16″ inches. SIPs panel construction significantly minimizes this phenomenon.
- Flexibility of interior choices ~ The rigidity of SIPs panels can reduce the need (in many instances) for additional support systems for heavy, interior design elements.
- Solid, luxurious feel ~ Yes, this point is a little strange to associate with a home. Just think of the difference between opening a solid wood door and a cheaper, hollow-core door. The solid wood feels sturdy and as though it will stand the test of time. Now imagine that feel extending to an entire home. Your custom home should feel equally solid, sturdy and luxurious – from the outside in.
Special thanks to the Build It Green, UK website for adding to our long list of SIPs benefits.