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High Performance Green Building

The move is on to Green Building, and rightly so. By using energy saving building components and recyclable products, overall energy usage goes down. Using materials that save more energy than the cost to produce them also produces a net gain for the environment. Steel SIPs qualify in all of these categories and easily satisfy the Energy Star rating requirements.

Energy efficiency

Structural insulated panels are 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 60 percent. The energy that powers homes and commercial buildings is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. By reducing the amount of energy used in buildings, architects, builders, and homeowners can contribute to a cleaner environment for the future.

Resource Use

The insulation used in SIPs is a lightweight rigid foam polymer 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. The EPS foam saves vast amounts of energy over and above its production cost. It is one of the best insulation products available, and when used in a steel SIP panel, it provides strength as well as an impermeable insulation.

Recycled Material

All job site waste is recyclable! Expanded polystyrene is 100% recyclable, as well as all metal job site scrap. Steel is the most recycled material on earth. Over 80% of the steel used today is recycled!

Thermal Performance of the Steel SIP Home

Compared to a building envelope constructed of conventional wood frame 2" x 6", the use of structural insulated panels or SIPs can result in a shell that has a 58% better thermal performance overall, according to recent tests performed by the University of Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The study tested and compared 18 wall systems - calculating standard R-values - but also calculating how well heat flows through various wall materials (structure and insulation) and how well the walls connect to other walls, flooring, roof, doors and windows - called whole-wall R-values. Traditionally a wall's R-value is calculated by determining the insulation performance of only structural and insulation materials called 'clear-wall R-value'. The new study weighed the performance of the entire building envelope or shell, comparing whole-wall R-value performance for concrete, wood, metal, Larson truss walls and SIPs.

SIPs had a whole-wall R-value equal to 88% of its clear-wall R-value, which means the material creates one of the tightest building envelopes in construction.  The panels tested were OSB covered SIPs. A steel skin SIP would achieve even higher values due to the total impermeability of the steel coverings.