Did You Know? Straight Talk About SIPs

Posted by Roberta Bartel on August 1, 2018

What do you think you know about Structural Insulated Panels?

At Enercept we like to say structural insulated panels (SIPs) are "the future of framing". SIPs construction includes many of the same components as traditional construction, but offers the benefits of a stronger structure, increased energy efficiency, faster installation and overall, a more cost-effective project. To that end, here's five important reasons why SIPs are the better way to build.

SIPs home 

    1.  SIPs are customizable to suit your needs. 

SIPs are perfect for intricately customized designs. Because Enercept’s panels are flexible and customized, they can be used for nearly any building design. Their strength also allows for myriad design options which might not be able to be achieved efficiently using more traditional building methods.

     2.  Wiring a SIPs home is extremely simple. 

SIPs can be wired quickly, easily and cost-effectively by a skilled electrician. While careful planning is required, the panels are made with chases in the appropriate places according to your specifications.  Enercept was the first SIP manufacturer to patent factory-installed electrical chases. Chases are marked on the interior sheathing of the panels for easy identification, and a smooth, heat-sealed chase makes wiring easy.

When erecting panels, remember to drill access holes through the sill and top plates for access to the electrical chases.

A comprehensive Enercept Electrical Guide is also available.

     3.   Enercept has been building SIPs since 1981.

Enercept has been manufacturing SIPs since 1981 and has built a solid reputation for delivering the most customized SIPs on the market. SIPs are certainly not a recent invention! In fact, they’ve been around since the 1930's. SIP development began in the mid 1930s. Panels incorporating several different skins – plywood, tempered hardboard and treated paperboard – surrounding a corrugated paperboard core were used to build a test structure. That same structure was dismantled thirty years later and most of them (except panels utilizing paperboard, which was unsuitable for outdoor exposure) retained their strength. 

Largely due to their energy-efficiency and strength, foam-core panels garnered much attention in the 1970s when their use became quite popular. They’ve since been used successfully in residential, commercial and agricultural buildings.

Not only are SIPs a tried-and-true building product, the Enercept building system has been accepted for use by HUD and is ICC/ICBO approved. Enercept SIPs – which offer a limited lifetime warranty – have been third-party tested by independent testing agencies.

     4.  SIPs save you money.

Building with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) is actually an excellent way to save money in several ways: labor costs, job site waste, energy savings and material costs.

From a contractor’s perspective, SIPs’ ease of use significantly cuts labor costs since the process moves along much more quickly than traditional stick framing. Since panels are assembled in our manufacturing facility, on-site waste is kept at a minimum. SIPs can even cut energy costs during construction because the panels allow the building to be enclosed much sooner in the process, which is especially helpful when building in extreme climates or tight time frames.

Further, using SIPs increases insulating power, meaning the structure will be easier to heat and cool efficiently using smaller heating and cooling systems. Not only does that mean lower initial investment in HVAC equipment, but it also results in continued years of savings due to lower utility costs. 

     5.  Not all building panels are SIPs.

There are many terms associated with building panels, such as “sandwich panels” or “stress-skin panels.” When talking about building panels, one needs to be certain to compare apples to apples … not all building panels are created equal, and thus the terms are not necessarily interchangeable. Some panels are non-structural and have no insulation. True SIPs are a building panel comprised of an insulating core sandwiched between two layers of structural board. Materials used for the layers can vary, from different wood products to metal to less common materials like fiber-reinforced plastic and magnesium oxide.

Enercept SIPs are constructed using an expanded polystyrene (EPS) core which is bonded between two structural skins, typically oriented strand board or OSB. Panels are fabricated for almost any building design to add strength and energy-efficiency.

We'd love to tell you more about the benefits of building with SIPs; if you have further questions or want more information, please contact us. We’ll be happy to provide clarification or more information.

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Our Mission: Our Commitment
When you build with Enercept SIPs we provide a building that will go up faster and will be warmer, tighter, stronger, quieter and more cost-effective than conventional construction. It is a commitment that others simply can’t beat!

Topics: SIPs, Offsite Construction