Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Structural Insulated Panels

If you are interested in building an energy efficient home, insulation is your top consideration and probably the most important component of the home. The design of the home, and in particular the kind and amount of insulation specified, can have a dramatic effect on the energy efficiency of a home by reducing or eliminating the need for heating and cooling.

For this reason, our
architectural firm prefers to design homes with Structural Insulated Panels (SIP panels). SIPs, sometimes known as stress skin panels, are made of an insulating foam core with OSB (oriented strand board) bonded to either side. There are two popular types of foam cores – EPS (expanded polystyrene - photo, right), XPS (extruded polystyrene) -- ranging in R-Values from 13 to 40 (R-value refers to a materials ability to resist transferring heat), far above what conventional wall construction with fiberglass or cellulose insulation can deliver.

SIP panels address the efficiency of the home and can be used in any climate. The structural insulated panel enclosure system creates an energy efficient building envelope, keeping your home warm in the dead of winter and cool in the hot summer months. (SIPs were even supplied for the International Science Station at the South Pole, where summer temperatures average minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit!)

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 percent (visit the Structural Insulated Panel Association website at
Do you have questions about using SIP panels in your project? Let us know!
For information on the importance of ventilation in a SIP panel home, check out these blogs:
Structural Insulated Panel blogs found on the Post and Beam & Timber Frame Blog.