structural insulated panel

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Is This SIP Roof In Trouble?

A roof made of structural insulated panels develops ice dams and shows signs of water leaks. Now what?

Posted on Mar 20 2017 by Scott Gibson

Matt Melton lives in central Washington state in a 3-year-old house with a roof made of structural insulated panels (SIPs) that are 12 1/4 inches thick. The pitch of the roof is very low, only 1/2 inch-in-12, and the metal roofing has been applied directly over the SIPs with no air channel beneath the roofing for ventilation.


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A SIP Roof Repair in Wisconsin

Air leaks in the seams between structural insulated panels caused extensive OSB rot

Posted on Dec 12 2016 by Allan Poole

A year ago, I looked on the web for information about repairing a poorly designed SIP(SIP) Building panel usually made of oriented strand board (OSB) skins surrounding a core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation. SIPs can be erected very quickly with a crane to create an energy-efficient, sturdy home. (structural insulated panel) roof system. I found Green Building Advisor and posted questions here. It was suggested that I share my roof repair experience for the benefit of others who may be grappling with the same misfortune as mine. Here is my story.


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  1. All photos: Allan Poole

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A Kit House for the 21st Century

A Maine company has developed a prototype building insulated with curved structural foam panels

Posted on Jan 15 2016 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED on Jan. 18, 2016


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  1. All photos: Shelter+7

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How to Install Rigid Foam On Top of Roof Sheathing

This type of insulated roof assembly limits thermal bridging through rafters

Posted on Apr 3 2015 by Martin Holladay
prime

UPDATED on December 15, 2017 with information on the U-factorMeasure of the heat conducted through a given product or material—the number of British thermal units (Btus) of heat that move through a square foot of the material in one hour for every 1 degree Fahrenheit difference in temperature across the material (Btu/ft2°F hr). U-factor is the inverse of R-value. alternative.

A roof over a vented, unconditioned attic does not need to include any insulation. However, most cathedral ceilings and low-slope (flat) roofs are insulated roof assemblies: with this kind of roof, the insulation follows the slope of the roof.

Insulated roof assemblies can be vented or unvented. There are lots of different ways to insulate this type of roof, but one of the best methods calls for the installation of rigid foam insulation above the roof sheathingMaterial, usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), but sometimes wooden boards, installed on the exterior of wall studs, rafters, or roof trusses; siding or roofing installed on the sheathing—sometimes over strapping to create a rainscreen. .


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Green Building Advisor - Alex Cheimets job
  2. Image #2: Fine Homebuilding
  3. Image #3: Sipschool.files.wordpress.com
  4. Image #4: Martin Holladay
  5. Image #5: International Code Council

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Attaching SIPs to Structural 2×6 Studs

The 14-inch-thick walls at the Potwine Passivhaus were built by attaching SIPs to load-bearing 2×6 walls

Posted on Oct 13 2014 by Alexi Arango

As they set out to build a single-family PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. on Potwine Lane in Amherst, Massachusetts, Alexi Arango and LeeAnn Kim asked themselves, “Is it possible to live without burning fossil fuels?” One measure of success would be meeting their goal of net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. performance. This is the fifth blog in a planned series.


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  1. All photos: Alexi Arango

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Passivhaus Design in Minnesota

Is Passivhaus certification so important that it justifies building an R-80 wall?

Posted on Oct 6 2014 by Scott Gibson

As net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. and PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates.-certified houses become more commonplace, it's not at all unusual to hear of exterior walls rated at R-40 or R-50. But that's not going to be nearly good enough for Tom Schmidt, who's building a 3,800-square-foot house in Minnesota.

R-80 is more like it, and the walls need to be "cost-effective" as well as not too thick.


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Image Credits:

  1. Craig Miller Productions

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Framing Begins at the Potwine Passivhaus

A discussion of wall and floor framing — and ruminations on design tricks for small homes

Posted on Sep 23 2014 by Alexi Arango

As they set out to build a single-family PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. on Potwine Lane in Amherst, Massachusetts, Alexi Arango and LeeAnn Kim asked themselves, “Is it possible to live without burning fossil fuels?” One measure of success would be meeting their goal of net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. performance. This is the fourth blog in a planned series.

March 15, 2014: First floor framing

Don, the carpenter, was able to get a bunch of work done early in the week before the weather turned cold and stormy. He’s basically got most of the first floor framing done.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Alexi Arango

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Net-Zero-Energy House in a Kit

A Vermont company offers packaged SIP homes in five designs for about $150 a square foot

Posted on Jul 4 2013 by Scott Gibson

A manufacturer of structural insulated panels (SIPs) in Brattleboro, Vermont, has launched a line of net-zero-energy kit houses that will allow owner/builders or developers to assemble a basic shell for about $150 per sq. ft.

SmartHomze come in five sizes that range from 560 square feet to 1,700 square feet. Kits include materials for exterior walls, the roof, doors and windows, photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. modules, heating and cooling equipment, and a heat-recovery ventilator(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. . Buyers are responsible for construction, interior partitions, appliances, and finishes.


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  1. Vantem

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How to Make a SIP Roof Better

Will a layer of rigid foam over the panel help or hurt?

Posted on Nov 9 2011 by Scott Gibson

Roger Lin’s Washington, D.C., house will have a roof of 12-inch-thick structural insulated panels (SIPs). By most standards, that’s a well-insulated roof. But Lin wants to add 2 inches of rigid foam on top of the panels to reduce thermal bridgingHeat flow that occurs across more conductive components in an otherwise well-insulated material, resulting in disproportionately significant heat loss. For example, steel studs in an insulated wall dramatically reduce the overall energy performance of the wall, because of thermal bridging through the steel. .

He’s uncertain about the details. He has already installed roofing underlayment over the panels. Can he put expanded polystyrene foam on top of the underlayment and cap it with metal roofing? Or does he need a layer of plywood or furring strips over the foam before the metal roofing is installed?


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Image Credits:

  1. Building Science Corporation

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How to Protect Structural Insulated Panels from Decay

Sealing air leaks at SIP seams can be difficult, especially when roof panels will be finished with interior boards

Posted on Jul 4 2011 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED on July 7, 2011 with comments from Tedd Benson

Jay Hersh is building a house in northern Vermont that will have a roof of structural insulated panels. Although his plans are fairly advanced, Hersh is still stumped about detailing the SIP(SIP) Building panel usually made of oriented strand board (OSB) skins surrounding a core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation. SIPs can be erected very quickly with a crane to create an energy-efficient, sturdy home. seams to prevent the migration of moisture-laden air from inside to outside. He's also looking for a foolproof way of heading off any leaks from the outside.


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