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Everything about Structural Insulated Panels

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How Much do SIPs Cost

The cost of Structural Insulated Panels depend on the structure, connection, thickness of the panels, insulation type, skins, sizing, electrical chase ways, pre-installed lumber… and much more. Giving a square foot price of let's say $3.50 just doesn't make any sense. That number does not mean anything. I believe that not understanding what SIPs cost is the #1 reason people tend to shy away from SIPs. Pricing can be as easy as sending in a architectural plan and having the project price quote - done. (Click and Get a Quote) Our goal is to give you an in-depth look into the great value that SIPs really are.
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How much do SIP panels cost
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Is There a SIPs Cost Rule of Thumb?

For years, I have heard people say, " a good rule of thumb is SIPs cost between 1% - 2% more." 1%- 2% of what? Is that just for walls or roofs as well? Is that total construction cost? including land and septic/water???

Taking that rule of thumb: if we were building a $200,000 house, that would mean SIPs would cost $2000-$4000 more. Does that sound correct?
Compare Material Costs of SIPs
SIP Panels are engineered systems and usually are sold as packages. In comparing just the material elements of both systems, all comparative materials and performance shortages should be adjusted.

Compare

Standard Stick Construction
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When analyzing standard stick construction compared to SIPs, it is easy to look at just the lumber package and insulation. When this is done SIPs look like they cost 20%- 30% more. but this would not be an accurate comparison.
SIPs Construction
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Depending on your Structural Insulated Panels package, remember a SIPs system requires material such as a top and bottom plate, sealant as well as additional lumber. Remember that included in SIPs, is pre-assembled labor cost.
The most often missed comparisons of standard stick construction material costs is sealing/sealants, inside vapor barrier, headers, insulation, electrical staples, ventilation, and wind bracing. What materials is needed to offer a continuous insulated system and what materials are needed to made the stick system structurally as strong as SIPs.
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It is a major OOPS to just compare material cost and not taking into account all the other cost elements - labor, sips effect, energy saving and incentives.
Compare Labor Costs of SIPs
SIP Panels are engineered systems and usually are sold as packages. In comparing just the material elements of both systems, all comparative materials and performance shortages should be adjusted.

Compare

Standard Stick Construction
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The labor of building a stick wall is more than just lifting the 2x4s. When comparing the labor of wall/roof systems, one needs to determine the labor costs for:
- Installing the framing
- Installing the sheathing
- Installing the
continuous insulation
- Installing headers
- Cutting out doors and windows
- Waterproofing & sealing the exterior shell
- Roof vents and soffits vents systems
SIPs Construction
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Structural Insulated Panels have some labor already included in the panels. Depending on the SIPs package (blank to Ready-To-Assemble) the included labor can vary. Understanding your SIPs package is very important to understanding the labor costs.
An important labor cost factor in comparing Stick Construction to SIPs construction is a full understanding of the construction details of each system. There many factors to calculating the labor of each system and understanding labor of structural components like trusses, beams, headers or even plates just to name a few items.
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It is a major OOPS not to look at all aspects of labor putting together the structural shell and all the construction details.
Peripheral Elements Effecting Costs of SIPs
There are many other elements that effect the cost of SIPs during construction that need to be identified and considered. Depending on your design and location, there may be others that need to be considered.
Cost Savings using SIPs
Savings ItemDescription Average Reported Savings
Reduce Window & Door HeadersIn many case window and door headers can eliminated if the opening is 48" or less. This reduces frame building time dramatically.$50-$100 per opening
Reduce HVAC SizingSIPs are so energy efficient that heating and cooling units can be reduced in size. The keep the structure tighter allowing less air leakage and less running of equipment.$700 - $900
Duct Work ReductionShorter duct runs can be placed in conditioned spaces can be exploited and this reduces cost of duct material and labor to install.$150-$225
Drywall ElementsThe amount of drywall sheets are reduced and the waste is reduced as SIPs has the advantage of continues nailing on exterior walls. Labor of installing drywall and mud/taping is reduced as there are less joints and less cutting to size. $60-$200
Faster Electrical InstallElectrical installation can be reduces due to pre-cut electrical chase ways that eliminate drilling holes in studs and staples. $300-$400
Dumpster Waste ReductionJob-site waste in the dumpster heading to the landfill is reduced using SIPs. Contractor report saving of a 1/2 to a full dumpster on typical projects.$350-$375
Blower Door TestSome states or programs require post build blower door testing. Blower door testing measures the amount of air leakage in a home and can predict energy loss. Many program consider SIPs construction to be so proven that Blower Door Testing is not necessary or required to get approval. $150-$300
TheftJobsite theft is getting more common across the county. In fact, it is estimated to now be over 1 billion dollars a year. Lose lumber theft is very common. SIPs are big and very hard to steal. Varies
IncentivesThere are many incentives, rebate and even tax credit available nationally and locally to build more efficiently. SIPs can help you qualify for some or all of these programs. Varies
Reduced Build TimeIt has been well documented that SIPs can cut days or even weeks off build times. Construction loans are more expensive than standard mortgages, so the faster it get built, the bigger the cost savings. Varies
VentilationIn most SIPs application, ridge vents and soffits ventilation is not necessary. The is a cost saving of soffit vents, soffit detail reduction, soffit metal change and cutting/installing ridge vent needs to be factored in when using SIPs roof panels.Varies
Total Cost SavingsTotal Cost Saving using the SIPs Effect can vary greatly based on design of structure, geographical area, labor rates and local material costs. Regional incentives can also vary greatly as some areas offer significant rebates. $1500-$4000
SFN Calculation
SFN (square foot number) Calculation is a way to estimate the cost savings of the SIPs Effect. It is not uncommon to use $1.10 - $1.50 per square foot as an estimate.
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It is a major OOPS not to take into consideration all of the SIPs Cost Effect as it may be to difficult- consider using the SFN approach.
Energy Savings Using SIPs
It has been very well documented that using Structural Insulated Panels vs standard stick construction will save money on utilities up to 60%. The question maybe - How Much? Energy Modeling and mechanical testing, like blower door test, can be used to determine the cost savings.
Energy Cash Flow Value Study - SIPs
Standard Stick ConstructionSIPs Construction
Base Building Cost$270,000$270,000
SIPs Cost$0$5,400
Labor Saving using SIPs$0($1,800)
SIPs Effect - SNF $1.25/sf$0($2,250)
Total Building Cost$270,000$271,350
Monthly Mortgage Payment$1,094$1,100
Monthly Utility Costs$150$60
Total Monthly Expense$1,244$1,160
Total Monthly Savings$0$84
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Energy Savings Cash Flow Analysis
Payback in just over 1 year
$3,930 Cash Flow Positive in 5 years
Modified SIPA Case Study
1800 Square Foot Home at $150/sq ft
Mortgage 30 yr fixed 4.5% interest 20% down payment
SIPS Cost - 2% over total Cost of Construction
SIPs Labor Savings 30% of framing costs
SNF is $1.25/sq ft of home
Incentives for SIPs
There are numerous incentives to use energy efficient SIPs. These incentive maybe tax credits, rebates, discounts or other programs offered by utility companies, federal, state or local governments.

Incentives

There are numerous incentive for using energy efficient SIPs.
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Federal Program
Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction
Energy-Efficient New Homes Tax Credit for Home Builders
Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit
State and Local Credits
Each State/Local programs vary
Utility Grants and Rebates
Various rebate from Utility Companies
Mortgage Program
Federal - Energy-Efficient Mortgages
Local Option - Energy-Efficiency Improvement Loans
LEED Points
Offers various programs
Energy Star Type Programs
Programs to build more efficient homes and offers various programs
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It is a major OOPS to overlook or not check into the numerous incentive that are available for energy efficient SIPs.

See what SIP incentives are in your area

Call 920-455-5850
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Get SIPS is an organization with the goal of educating home and building owners, architects and contractors on the wonderful benefits of Structural Insulated Panels.

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