Although it sounds vaguely like some sort of bacteria, rest assured, SIP’s are much less threatening. The acronym stands for Structured Insulated Panel’s. These efficient and ingenious panels are used in floors, walls, and roofs in mostly residential (and some light commercial) projects.
From the SIPA (Structured Insulation Panel Association) website:
The panels are typically made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). Other skin material can be used for specific purposes. SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be custom designed for each home. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with SIPs will save you time, money and labor.
I am told that because SIP’s are manufactured with the insulation built-in, the application is more reliable. Instead of having, say, a spray-foam insulation on your project, where areas can be missed and only show up once a blower door test is performed, SIP’s provide a tight and reliable envelope from the start. This, of course, allows your blower door test – if you are going after a specific building program compliance path -to be more efficient.
As you can see by the graph above, just by using SIP’s, as opposed to conventional timber frame building, you are reducing your energy needs by half. Those are great numbers, don’t ya think?
Also, by by using energy efficient building materials such as structural insulated panels, builders and contractors can qualify for a $2000 tax credit on residential homes or up to a $1.80 per square foot tax deduction on commercial buildings.