SIPS TIPS: This isn’t your grandmother’s stick framed structure!

SIPS TIPS: This isn’t your grandmother’s stick framed structure!

Do you really know how a Structural Insulated Panel System works?  This is the first of our new monthly blog series:  SIPS TIPS.  We hope this will help you in your next green building project.


1. Worry about renovating SIPS structures no more. With SIPS the structural components of most buildings are the shell. So moving interior walls are typically not a structural factor. This is huge for schools and other larger commercial buildings who want to have flexibility for future renovations in class room, meeting room, conference room type layouts.

2. Electrical isn’t a worry. There are more options than you can imagine with SIPS structures. The envelope of your residential or commercial SIPS structure is made from SIPS that are pre-insulated and designed with minimal thermal drift for exceptional energy efficiency. (See SIPS advantage brochure pages 11-13 ) and they are pre-drilled with electrical chases so electricians can simply pull wire (just like through conduit) without compromising the thermal properties of air and heat transfer. Electrical chases can be completely customized or eliminated to best meet the structures needs. Other options include firing walls out (like you would in standard steel/stick construction) and installing electrical through these walls rather than through the insulation cavity. Either way, electrical is not a hinderance, it is a benefit. In fact, Manch School in Las Vegas (the state’s largest elementary school) saved over $1M in their electrical bid when the actual electrical install was far less than estimated due to the ease of installation inside the electrical chases in SIPS! (Manch School Project Profile)

3. Wood is good…. especially in SIPS.  This isn’t your grandmother’s OSB.  Its a thick 7/16th skin that is made from high quality wood fibers bonded together to form some of the strongest wood structural components out there. Its not just wood, its good. This OSB is structurally bonded to the continuous solid rigid EPS insulation. So it has tested structural (and seismic) properties. It’s not just cheap chip board. Premier SIPS skins are treated and laminated with the insulation to provide a solid panel system. View Premier SIPS vs. Traditional Construction.

4. Seismic satisfaction. Zone D? We chuckle. Done. Proven and accepted from code officials time after time. It’s a matter of adjustment, we get it. When moving from hundreds of years of traditional stick frame structures to SIPS it takes hundreds of tests to prove results  in seismic zones. Well Premier SIPS have done it. Check out the Kobe, Japan earth quake  and the SIPS structures that stood. Or the third-party NTA testing that shows the strength of SIPS. It can’t be argued any longer, these large solid, and modern pre-insulated panels have proven that they provide seismic strength to meet and exceed that of other wood framed structures.

5. Green? Really? This isn’t your grandmother’s stick framed structure. Gaps in the frame? Spaces between lumber connections for air to move through? All of these types of framing elements allow air to move through the framed structure. With SIPS these gaps are few and far between. Panel spans up to 24 feet and the connections virtually eliminate these areas for air seepage, SIPS are the solution for all climates. It’s why Alaska, Washington and Oregon are the states that have adopted Premier SIPS in droves over the other states, leaving others to catch up to the benefits.  Based on the industry studies, there is no question that SIPS outperform other wood structures when it comes to energy efficiency.

More questions or concerns?  Visit our website, view our project galleries or contact us!


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