According to a study by RS Means, building with SIPs can decrease framing labor by as much as 55% over conventional contstruction.
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SIP homes and commercial buildings can be constructed considerably quicker than traditionally framed buildings. A properly trained Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) installation crew can cut framing time by as much as 55% compared to conventional timber framing.
SIP panels can be used for walls, roofing, floors and can be used with any type of external cladding. SIP panels are widely used because they can cut build time on a number of projects
SIP panels can be used for walls, roofing and floors and can be used with any type of external cladding. SIP panels are widely used, because they can cut build time on a number of projects
It’s not just construction time you can save when building a SIP home or building. You also cut the costs associated with the project. Builders can see savings through decreased construction and labor costs, as well as reduced downtime.
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High-Performance Building Envelopes
SIPs yield high-performance building envelopes with energy performance well beyond conventional framing. SIPS provide a core of high R-value solid insulation typically requiring no additional continuous insulation on the building exterior. The large size of SIPs results in fewer air gaps, reduced thermal bridging from fewer lumber connections (lower framing factor), and elimination of air spaces within the wall cavity. SIPs provide a virtually airtight envelope improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and creating healthier homes and businesses. Airtightness also reduces HVAC sizing and dramatically improves occupant comfort by providing consistent room temperatures, regardless of the number of floors.
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Structural insulated panels are one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. A SIP building envelope provides continuous insulation, is extremely airtight, allows for better control over indoor air quality, reduces construction waste, and helps save natural resources.
R-Values in the Real World
Insulation is one of the key components of any energy-efficient home or commercial building. With heating and cooling accounting for 50 percent of energy use in the average home, the type of insulation you choose can save thousands of dollars in utility bills over the life of your home.
When field-installed insulation is measured in the laboratory, the test only measures the insulation itself, and not the other components that make up the wall or roof system. Wood-framed homes rely on dimensional lumber, referred to as studs, at regular intervals to provide structural support. Lumber is a very poor insulator and forms a bridge from the outside of the home to the inside of the home where heat can pass through by conduction. This process is known as thermal bridging.
Building with SIPs does not require any insulation to be installed in the field. There is very little dimensional lumber required to build a SIP home because SIPs are structurally sufficient. ORNL tests prove that SIPs maintain their full R-value in whole wall testing.
The Effect of Air Infiltration
The effort to maintain a constant and comfortable temperature inside your home is hampered by two forces: conduction and convection. Conduction is the transfer of heat through a solid material, which is what insulation is designed to prevent. Convection is the transfer of air through gaps in the walls and roof of the home. Outside air leaking into the home, or air infiltration, is responsible for 40 percent of heat or cooling loss in the average home.
SIPs not only serve as a framing and insulation material, but also as a code compliant air barrier. SIP homes have routinely tested two to three times more airtight than wood frame homes with fiberglass insulation.
Laboratory VS Real World Conditions
In the U.S., the R-value of insulation is determined using a standard testing method called the guarded hot plate test. This test is conducted in a controlled environment, where there is no air movement, at a temperature of 75°F.
Studies conducted by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratories show that as outside temperatures get colder, the R-value of fiberglass insulation decreases. Using a full scale climate simulator, ORNL tested loose-fill fiberglass attic insulation rated at R-19 at a variety of temperatures. When outside temperatures dipped to -8°F, the R-19 insulation performed at R-9.2. What is more surprising was that infrared imaging revealed convective currents inside the fiberglass insulation. Warm air from inside the house would rise through the insulation, lose heat by coming in contact with the cold attic temperatures, and drop back through the insulation, forming a convective loop of constant energy loss.
In contrast, the rigid foam insulation used in SIPs actually performs better in colder temperatures. Expanded polystyrene with a stated R-value of R 3.9 per inch at 75°F was tested at R-4.2 at per inch at 50°F and R-4.4 per inch at 25°F. More importantly, because all types of SIPs have solid insulation completely enclosed with wood sheathing, they are not subject to any convective currents like fiberglass insulation.