Environmental Benefits of SIP’s
Foam Laminates of Vermont uses OSB as the facings for our SIPs because they are environmentally friendly. These OSB SIPs are environmentally friendly because they typically contain softwoods such as poplar and aspen, which are fast growing trees harvested on a tree farm when they are young. This is important in a green society because the emphasis is on newer and faster producing trees which protect the old growth forests. As a result of this protection towards old growth hardwoods, OSB is generally referred to as a sustainable and renewable natural resource. All OSB off-gassing occurs at the OSB mill.
Foam Laminates of Vermont uses EPS foam as the insulating agent in our Structural insulated panels (SIPs) because they do not contain any Formaldehyde or C.F.C’s: the disastrous compound responsible for ozone layer depletion.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average U.S. home releases 22,000 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere each year. This is twice the amount of the average vehicle.
By reducing the amount of energy used for heating and cooling, Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) can significantly reduce emissions produced by our homes and commercial buildings
Indoor Air Quality
In recent years, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the air inside the places we live and work can be more polluted than the air outdoors. This poses a serious health risk to occupants.
Poor indoor air quality can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Furthermore, this can also increase susceptibility to headaches, viruses, and asthma-like symptoms.
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) have a high R-Value foam core without any thermal bridging studs or areas of potential compression or voids in the insulation.
SIP homes also have extremely low levels of air infiltration because there are fewer gaps to seal. When combined with other high efficiency energy systems, SIP homes commonly demonstrate 50%-70% savings over the Model Energy Code (MEC)
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Green Building with SIPs
Perhaps the greatest reason of all why SIPs are exploding into the marketplace is because of their superb energy efficiency and superior thermal performance. An analysis conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) compared the average insulation value (whole-wall R-value) between a SIP wall and some other traditional construction wall sections. Their study determined that a 3.5 in. EPS core SIP outperformed its counterparts in thermal efficiency. There results are tabulated in the graph above.
One of the major concerns for any homeowner is the inability to control rising energy costs. Recently, there have been spikes in propane, heating oil, electricity, and even the labor associated with felling, splitting, and drying wood for home heating. However, SIPs offer a window of hope; SIPs are virtually airtight due to the nature of their fabrication and installation. As a result, the occupants have much more control over their interior environment.
More Resource Efficient
SIP panels are extremely resource efficient and as such support the green building industry. For starters, there is little doubt that there is much less wood required to construct a SIP shell than in a conventional stick-frame. The table shown below depicts the typical amount of wood used in a stud framed wall compared to a SIP wall.
The OSB that is used as the facings in a SIP panel comes from younger growing farm trees, which are generally regarded as a renewable and sustainable resource. These trees such as aspen and spruce are harvested from fast growing crop forests and thus no old-growth timber is used.