A SIP – Structural Insulated Panel – is a building component sandwich. It’s an energy efficient foam core laminated between two layers of wood sheathing, faced with drywall, fiberboard, metal, and even plastic. Well-designed and manufactured SIPS will make a house more energy-efficient, stronger, tighter, and more comfortable. There are some other appealing virtues to structural insulated panels that will make you want to build with them, including:
- SIP’s are a green building product. SIP walls demand far less lumber than conventionally framed dwellings. Because the wood panels are made with wood chips, 95% of a tree can be used, as opposed to only 63% if it’s sown into solid lumber.
- SIPs outperform conventional walls in fires. According to data from extensive laboratory fire testing and reports on SIP houses from real-life incidents, they are more resistant to fires.
- SIP walls are highly efficient. Foam provides much greater insulating value per inch than fiberglass batting.
- The foam is continuous throughout the wall, without the pockets and flaws in batt installations between studs.
- Foam won’t allow air infiltration inside the panels; if installed correctly they can be completely sealed.