Ultimately, it’s all about recycling and energy use, believes Scott Foley.
A builder in Cottage Grove outside Madison, Wis., Foley says he’s been “hooked on SIPs” for about 10 years, but until recently, he hadn’t build a SIPs home. That is, until this year, when he constructed the ultimate ultra energy-efficient home for himself.
“SIPs are the wave of the future,” says the owner of Ultimate Construction. With costs climbing for natural gas, LP gas and electricity, Foley wants to do his part to conserve energy. But it’s more than that.
“SIPs are also about timing, speed and quality,” he insists. “There are no comparisons,” he says of the EPS panels he uses in his construction business.
Foley is about to spend his first winter in his four-bedroom home that boasts 7,800 square feet, 4,100 on the main level alone. He confesses to being eager to see how the house performs, energy-wise. He’s expecting great scores because the home’s Energy Star certification “beat the base by 54 percent — and it’s a great feeling,” he says.
Two furnaces heat the home, that features a southern elevation resembling a festival of glass, screen porches and balconies. Each furnace boasts a 92 percent efficiency rating. A 98 percent efficiency-rated boiler system provides radiant heat for bathroom, basement and office floors and heats domestic water.
Foley is also sold on SIPs’ ability to soar to 10- or 12-foot ceiling heights without having to use code-required engineered studs. That flexibility allows him to create some of the more elegant spaces in his house that give it openness and flexibility.
“Because SIPs are pre-engineered, the walls are straighter and they can be higher,” he says, comparing building with the strong, recyclable product to putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle or playing with Lincoln Logs.
Foley says his building experience taught the engineers at EPS, his panel supplier, a thing or two as well, among them that designing a SIPs home is “not so bad after all.” It was a learning process, however, with elevation changes, a full walkout basement.
With 22 years in business, Foley says, this house is not a “cookie cutter” project because he’s not a “cookie cutter” builder.
He’s already getting a chance to use the lessons learned in constructing his home as tools that will pay off. Ultimate Construction started work on another SIPs house in November and is building a 26,000-square-foot office building using SIPs construction.
Neither Foley nor the clients for whom he’s building SIPs projects are likely to forget that another saving feature of SIPS is the project’s ability to claim tax credits, energy company rebates and other financial incentives.
With SIPS as part of the package, it seems the savings never end. What’s not to like about that?