Posted: 4.3

Technology Insight – SIP Discussion

SIPs at 63 Branford

One thing we want to accomplish at Blue Brick Construction is to provide insight into our thought process and the implementation of technology and design knowledge. A particular aspect we want to address is hybrid construction. We have become quite fond of utilizing Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs). They offer a great deal in making a home tighter in comparison to typical stick framing. By tighter, we refer to the lack of air gaps in the exterior “skin” of the home. Traditionally, insulation is placed in between the studs. The air gaps remaining allow for the transfer of temperature from the inside to out and vice-a-versa. With SIPs, the air gaps are completely replaced with foam board. Next time you hold a cup of hot coffee, imagine that the foam that separates your hand from the scalding beverage on the other side was 8 inches thick and sandwiched between plywood… you now have a SIP panel. Aside from tightening your home’s envelope, they offer more than just insulation. Progress appears much quicker. Factory built panels arrive to the site and are craned into place same day. The walls themselves also lack the bends and bows that are inherent to stick built envelopes.

Stick framing has its place, though. This is where we have come to adopt the hybrid method of construction. Where SIPs have the edge when it comes to tightening the exterior envelope, their cost and density lack the flexibility required for interior walls. For example, wire is much easier to pull through a stick wall. Our friends at DAT Electric will attest to this. Standardization of ductwork and electrical components give the upper-hand to stick frame for interior applications.
Long story short, we like both, but have realized that pairing the two according to their strengths adds another level of quality we want to implement as often as possible.Stay tuned for more blog posts that talk about the building envelope and energy efficient building practices. – Submitted by Mark Logush