It is vital to understand the need and methods for achieving a continuously insulated building. Insulation plays a key role within the building envelope and is paramount to creating and maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are high performance building panels used in floors, walls and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. SIPs are made with an expanded polystyrene (EPS) rigid foam core sandwiched between two structural skins of 7/16″ oriented strand board (OSB). When the two are laminated together, they create an insulated panel that is 2-1/2 times stronger than a stick-frame wall.
Whether you are building a residential home, a commercial building or an agricultural structure, Enercept offers cost-efficiency, energy efficiency, improved air quality and the one of the easiest ways to build green.
The energy efficiency, strength and construction techniques of Enercept SIPs are a result of extensive engineering, design testing and experience.
SIP homes require up to 50% less energy to heat and cool than stick-framed homes, meaning less fossil fuel consumption and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The efficiency of a SIP building is a result of both the tighter envelope the panels create, and the substantially higher whole wall R-Value of SIPs when compared to stick-framed walls. A high-performance SIP building enclosure often allows smaller HVAC equipment to be specified.
It is important to work with a qualified HVAC professional that can accurately estimate the low levels of air infiltration in a SIP home or commercial building. Proper HVAC sizing is crucial because an oversized HVAC system will fail to reach the steady operating state the equipment was designed for. Short cycling HVAC equipment will be less energy efficient and require more maintenance than properly sized HVAC equipment.
SIPs release no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Furthermore, because SIP-Built structures are so air-tight, indoor air quality can be closely controlled, a huge advantage for those with environmental or chemical allergies. The air tightness of the SIP building envelope prevents air from gaining access to the interior of the home except in controlled amounts.
A controlled indoor environment is both healthy and comfortable. Humidity can be controlled more easily in a SIP home, resulting in a home that is more comfortable for occupants and less prone to mold growth and dust mites.
SIPs structural skins use oriented strand board (OSB). OSB is made from fast-growing, small-diameter trees that can be harvested from plantations, avoiding the need for cutting old-growth trees.
Even the smallest scraps of wood can be turned into OSB, virtually eliminating waste. A SIP construction site has less waste because window and door openings are cut at the factory and framed with headers in place. SIP homes demonstrate that by improving energy efficiency, SIPs have a positive environmental impact over their product life cycle.
SIP homes can go up much faster than traditionally framed buildings. A properly trained SIP installation crew can cut framing time by 55 percent compared to conventional wood framing, according to a third-party study conducted by R.S. Means. Panels are manufactured as big as 8-ft. by 24-ft., so entire wall and roof sections can be put up quickly, reducing dry-in time.
SIPs are ready to install when they arrive at the jobsite, eliminating the time needed to perform the individual job site operations of framing, insulating and sheathing stick-framed walls. Electrical chases are typically provided in the core of panels, so there is no need to drill through studs for wiring.
SIP construction is recognized by the International Code Council body of building codes, which are used by most jurisdictions in the U.S.
For residential buildings, prescriptive design practices for SIP wall systems are included in Section R610 of the International Residential Code.
For applications beyond the scope of Section R610, the building inspector will typically require a licensed engineer or architect to review the building plans prior to construction. An engineer’s design is usually required in high wind areas, high seismic zones and commercial buildings.
How Do SIPs Compare to Traditional Construction?
Structural insulated panels combine structural framing, insulation, and sheathing into one step. Enercept window and door openings are factory built, complete with framing and headers. The fast enclosure system also extends your building season.
Building with Enercept requires less on-site labor, saving you time and ultimately, money. Upon request, Enercept can provide on-site technical assistance by an experienced installer for builders new to SIP construction.
Since our panels come ready-to-install with rough openings already in place, there is very little waste generated on -site. The typical exterior framing waste of an Enercept home can sometimes be hauled away in a single 55-gallon container.
SIPs reduce the margin for framing errors. Each panel is numbered to correspond with a computerized CAD panel layout drawing. With the Enercept 4′-wide panel system, rough openings are cut and framed at the factory and include structural headers. Panels are built to engineers' specs, taking the hassle and guesswork out of design and quality control on-site.
Could your truss roof support the weight of a pickup truck? Stick-framing relies on the integrity of a multitude of connections between 2x's and sheathing. With SIPs, loads are distributed across the entire panel due to the continuous bond between the sheathing and rigid insulation, making them extraordinarily strong and ideal for many applications.
Chances are you have been given misleading information about SIPs. Need answers? Here are the facts about many common concerns and queries.
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Here are some common queries we hear about building with SIPs.