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Everything about Structural Insulated Panels

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SIPs Better for the Environment

Sustainablility

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Impact

The construction and operation of buildings have a significant impact on the environment. Buildings account for 39% of total U.S. energy usage and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. Sustainable buildings use less energy, reducing the carbon footprint. Buildings also use a tremendous amount of natural resources to construct and operate. Creating sustainable buildings that use these resources more efficiently while minimizing pollution that can harm renewable natural resources is crucial to a sustainable future.
Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are one of the most airtight and well-insulated building systems, allowing for better control over indoor environmental conditions. Reduced energy consumption for heating and cooling throughout building life is SIPs most substantial contribution to preserving the environment.
  • SIP structural OSB facings are manufactured from fast-growing, renewable wood resources
  • Production of the EPS panel core uses 24% less energy than fiberglass insulation of equivalent R-value
  • SIPs leave less waste on the construction job site
  • Year after year, SIP homes consume less energy than comparable stick-frame homes
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SIPs Save Energy

Building with SIPs creates a superior building envelope with high thermal resistance and minimal air infiltration. For example, Oak Ridge National Laboratory research on whole-wall R-value shows that a 4-inch SIP wall rated R-14 outperforms a 2 × 6 stick framed wall with R-19 fiberglass insulation.
  • ORNL blower door tests reveal that a SIP test room is 15 times more airtight than its stick-framed counterpart with fiberglass insulation.
  • Up to 40% of a home's heat loss is due to air leakage.
  • SIP buildings can have amazingly low blower door test results when properly sealed. Due to the reliability of SIP performance, ENERGY STAR opted to eliminate the blower door test requirement for SIP homes to meet ENERGY STAR standards.
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SIPs Improve HERS Ratings

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home's energy efficiency is measured. The HERS index is a nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home's energy performance. Many SIP homes achieve HERS ratings of 50 or less, meaning they are at least 50% more energy-efficient than standard new homes. In addition, the airtight SIP building envelope helps qualification under various green building standards.
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Save Resources

The major components of SIPs, foam and oriented strand board (OSB), take less energy and raw materials to produce than other structural building systems. SIPs are also fabricated in a controlled environment, allowing for greater efficiency than site-built framing. The NAHB estimates that constructing a 2000 sq. ft. home produces 7,000 lbs. of waste. SIPs can drastically reduce the waste generated during construction by using advanced optimization software and automated fabrication technology to ensure the most efficient use of material.
  • OSB is manufactured from fast-growing, underutilized, and often less expensive wood species grown in carefully managed forests. The OSB production process uses small wood chips and highly automated machinery, making OSB a very efficient use of raw materials.
  • About 85-90 percent of a log can be used to make high-quality structural panels, and the remainder – bark, saw trim, and sawdust – can be converted into energy, pulp chips or bark dust.
  • EPS is a lightweight insulation composed mostly of air. Only 2% of EPS is plastic. Over the lifetime of a house, the EPS insulation used in SIPs will save many times the energy embodied in the petroleum used to make EPS (see Life Cycle Analysis for more info).
  • It takes 24% less energy to produce EPS than fiberglass insulation of equivalent R-value.
  • Scrap EPS generated during manufacturing can be recycled into new EPS products.
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