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Framing Methods for Energy Efficiency
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Structural Insulated Panels or SIPs
Over the past 15 years in our building and design company, we have found that using Structural Insulated Panels or SIPs have provided the structures the highest level of energy efficiency, SIPs offer the builder the best in materials also for building green. The SIPs package offer wall packages that have faster erection times and provide the least amount of waste. The SIPs building package can arrive as pre-fabricated packages or be fabricated on site. Here is a list
of pro's and con's building with SIPs.
SIP's offer the best in energy efficiency, by not having stick frame construction the structures
insulation has less interuptions in its insulation with far fewer studs.
The walls have very little to no air infiltration. Each joint in the walls has multiple beads of sealant
which in turn allows no air infiltration.
The insulation has no air voids other than electrical chases which are sealed at their terminations.
Stick framing has many voids in its applications of insulation, around wires and pipes.
Erection times are as fast or generaly faster than stick framing. With the erection of the walls the insulation is completed as well.
SIP's require a lot less lumber to build with. With less lumber, comes less labor and waste. In a
prefabricated SIPs package you might have a trash bag or two of trash in the framing phase. With stick framing you have all the scrap lumber and plywoods.
Building with SIPs the walls are straighter and are more square. With stick framing you are at
the mercy of lumber quaility and carpenter experience to comes close to matching panel straightness.
Interior finish is easier with panels and produces less waste. By not having to fit to studs spacings,
drywall panels can be used in larger pieces with less cutting. When placing screws they can be placed anywhere. If the design utilizeses full sheet deminisions then a lot less waste is produced.
Costs can be roughly the same depending on and the case using SIPs construction cost will
be lower. With simple structures, it is ideal for do it yourselfers and construction companies can
find quite profitable when they establish the assembly process.
Planning, designing and using SIP's takes additional planning and drafting. This does add some
expense but results from this offer a building envelope that is more energy efficient. Some
design and construction companies won't deal with this responsability.
During erection some trades don't like learning and installing something new or different. They
will want to charge additional for the "hassel" of soemthing new and different. Ask them if they had to learn the computer, we all needed to learn that new technology, would this be any different?
Do they not want to offer their client a better finshed product?
Erection of large components, general if larger panels can be used or large sections can be pre-
assembled and then be mechanically lifted into place, the structure will be more efficient. This
can be added expense and planning but will be a better finished product.
Electrical, this is an important component and needs proper planning and exicution. Electrictions
fall into the con above but if the project is erected correctly should be not a whole lot different than
most projects. As with most construction, once you learn the tricks of the trade, it should be a snap.
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