By: Aaron Weatherbie, Sales Representative – Architectural Products
Structural Insulated panels offer many benefits. They are often chosen because of their increased energy efficiency and environmentally friendly components. SIP panels are made with expanded polystyrene (EPS) and oriented stand board (OSB). EPS is a rigid insulation that is 98% air and a small percentage of plastic. The OSB is made from fast growing trees that can quickly regenerate. I believe these are two great reasons for building with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), in addition to their ability to accommodate complicated designs.
I recently worked on a commercial roof project that was shaped like an octagon with undulating hips and valleys. This complicated design had multiple angles matched to form the hip or valley. Additionally, the angle of the ridge line also needing to be accounted for. The use of SIPs on this project drastically increased the speed of construction because the panels were able to be prefabricated so they were ready to install upon delivery.
The contractor on this project prefabricated the panels at his shop. All the angles were cut in a controlled environment. On the jobsite the contractor took it a step further and preassembled large sections of the roof on the ground before lifting them into place. This reduced the amount of time a crane would be needed, which saved money. By preassembling large sections of this complicated design, hundreds of square feet of SIPs were able to be installed at the same time.
Over the years structural insulated panels have been chosen for residential and commercial projects because of their energy efficiency and superior performance over conventionally framed structures. However, there are some designs in which SIP panels can be used to lower construction costs and speed up the amount of time required to complete a project. The prefabrication and on site assembly of these panels was key to the success of this design. With some advanced planning Structural Insulated Panels can turn a complicated design into a money saving opportunity.