Homes built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) are enjoying a surge in popularity because of their energy efficiency, comfort, quietness and outstanding indoor air quality. But according to Tom Milton, technical director of the WoodWorks initiative in Minnesota, a growing number of designers and builders of multi-family and commercial buildings are realizing these same benefits on a larger scale.
For the non-residential marketplace, says WoodWorks, there are considerable advantages to a building system that combines the efficiency of panelization and accuracy of machine-cut panels to create five building elements at once:
• Structural assembly
• Insulation system
• Air barrier and vapor retarder
• Wire chases
• Flat nailable surfaces for interior and exterior finishes
Don’t overlook cost savings
There are also cost advantages in addition to energy savings. WoodWorks points out that SIPs are built for speed. They are easy and fast to install, and openings and loads are pre-engineered.
Subcontractors start sooner, drywall hangs faster, and walls are uniform and easier to trim out. There’s less jobsite waste, less temporary heat required, and fewer call-backs, SIPs builders say.
For the building owner, there’s also the satisfaction of creating an efficient building envelope that reduces carbon dioxide emissions using the only major building material that’s renewable and sustainable over the long term.