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QWhat are steel-faced SIPs?
QHow much faster can I build with steel-faced SIPs?
QHow much labor can I save with SIPs?
QHow much money can I save with SIPs?
QHow green are SIPs?
QHow strong are steel-faced SIPs?
QHow do I properly size HVAC equipment?
QHow important is ventilation?
QHow do SIPs improve indoor air quality?
QHow do SIPs react to Fire?
QAre SIPs compatible with other building systems?
QHow are electrical wiring and fixtures installed?

What are steel-faced SIPs?

A: Steel-faced structural insulated panels (SIPs) are high-performance building panels used in floors, walls, and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. The panels are made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural skins of metal. SIPs are manufactured under our factory-controlled conditions and can be custom designed for each structure. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with SIPs will save time, money and labor.


How much faster can I build with steel-faced SIPs?

A: Steel-faced SIP homes go up faster than traditionally framed buildings. A properly trained SIP installation crew can save a significant amount of time in a build cycle. Panels can be manufactured as big as 3.8' x 52' (depending on panel thickness), so entire walls can be put up quickly, reducing dry-in time. SIPs can be supplied as ready to install building components when they arrive at the jobsite, eliminating the time needed to perform individual jobsite operations of framing, insulating and sheathing stick-framed walls. Window openings may be precut in the panels, and depending on the size, a separate header may not need to be installed. Electrical chases are typically provided in the core of panels, so there is no need to drill through studs for wiring.



How much money can I save with steel-faced SIPs?

A: Builders can save money through decreased construction and labor costs. The superior whole wall R-values and building tightness capable with steel-faced SIPs allow HVAC equipment to be downsized and ductwork to be minimized. Builders can also significantly reduce jobsite waste disposal and temporary heat during construction. Building owners can save up to 50% in heating and cooling costs and may qualify for Energy Efficient Mortgages, and enjoy a higher appraised building value.


How green are SIPs?

A: Energy efficiency
Steel-faced SIPsare one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. A SIP building envelope provides high levels of insulation and is extremely airtight, meaning the amount of energy used to heat and cool a home can be cut by up to 50 percent. The energy that powers homes and commercial buildings is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. By reducing the amount of energy used in buildings, architects, builders, and homeowners can contribute to a clean environment for the future.

Resource use
The insulation used in SIPs is a lightweight rigid foam plastic composed of 98% air, and requires only a small amount of petroleum to produce. The foam insulation used in panel cores is made using a non-CFC blowing agent that does not threaten the earth’s ozone layer.

Waste minimization
Since SIPs are prefabricated in our factory, there is less jobsite waste that needs to be landfilled. Our fabrication is done using optimization software and we recycle factory scrap.


How strong are steel-faced SIPs?

A: The structural characteristics of SIPs are similar to that of a steel I-Beam. The skins act as the flange of the I-beam, while the rigid foam core provides the web. This design gives SIPs an advantage at handling in plane compressive loads.


How do I properly size HVAC equipment?

A: The high-insulating properties of SIPs allow smaller HVAC equipment to be used. When working with an HVAC contractor, make sure their calculations take into account an accurate estimation of typically low levels of air infiltration in a SIP building. Proper HVAC sizing is crucial because an oversized HVAC system will fail to reach the steady operating rate the equipment was designed for. Short cycling HVAC equipment will be less energy efficiency and require more maintenance than properly sized HVAC equipment.


How important is ventilation?

A: SIP buildings are extremely airtight and require mechanical ventilation. Ventilation systems bring fresh air into the building in controlled amounts and exhaust moisture laden and stale air to the outside. By limiting air exchange to controlled ventilation systems, SIP structures allow for incoming air to be filtered for allergens and dehumidified, which amounts to better indoor air quality.


How do SIPs improve indoor air quality?

A: The tightness of the SIP building envelope prevents air from gaining access to the interior of the building 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 structure that is more comfortable for occupants and less prone to mold growth and dust mites.


How do SIPs react to fire?

A: Residential building code requires that foam insulation be separated from the interior of the building by a material that remains in place for at least 15 minutes of fire exposure. Structural insulated panels faced with 0.5" gypsum drywall meet this requirement.

Commercial builders may need a one hour fire-rated wall or roof, which is achieved by testing and listing a specific wall or roof assembly to ASTM E119 with an accredited certification agency.


Are steel-faced SIPs compatible with other building systems?

A: SIPs are compatible with other building systems. Wall panels can sit on a variety of foundation materials, including poured concrete, blocks, or insulated concrete forms. SIPs are sized to accept dimensional lumber and are seamlessly compatible with stick framing. Builders may choose to build with SIP walls and a conventional truss roof, or stick walls and a SIP roof with little difficulty.


How are electrical wiring and fixtures installed?

A: Electrical wires are pulled through precut channels inside the core of the panels called “chases.” Manufacturers cut chases during the manufacturing process according to the electrical design of the home. Electricians can then use fish tape to feed wires through panel chases without compressing the insulation or having to drill through studs. Wiring can also be run through baseboard raceways and in the cavity behind the beveled spacer on SIP roof-to-wall connections.

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