Structural Insulating Panels Outperform Conventional Framing

SIPs were chosen as the structural roofing system for the VISION House Seattle Cascades to enhance efficiency, solve for labor challenges, and mitigate soaring lumber costs.

Green Builder Media and CR Herro, VP Innovation at Meritage Homes, selected Premier Building Systems Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) as the structural roof system for the VISION House Seattle Cascades to help the off-grid home achieve its net zero target, address labor shortages, mitigate out-of-control labor prices, and reduce jobsite waste.


SIPs consist of an insulating expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam core laminated between two sheets of oriented strand board (OSB). This system provides a solid and durable building material that needs no additional frame or skeleton for support. 

SIPs are custom made for each construction project.  The system is remarkably airtight and well-insulated, as factory cuts provide the best precision, resulting in an energy savings of up to 60 percent. 

SIPs are not just energy efficient, they can be assembled quickly and easily, reducing labor costs, weather delays, and damage, and the foam and OSB boards require less energy and raw materials to produce than other structural systems. 

When building with SIPs, there is rarely a need for trusses or wood framing. The panels are structurally strong enough to stand alone, reducing the necessity for lumber and increasing livable spaces in a house, such as the attic.

The OSB is manufactured from fast-growing, underutilized, and often less expensive wood species grown in carefully managed forests. When manufactured, the process uses small wood chips and highly automated machinery, making OSB an efficient use of raw materials.

SIPs also help solve for waste reduction. Pre-manufactured at the factory, SIPs come ready to install, eradicating the need for cutting and trimming at the job site. Oftentimes, waste produced during manufacturing is utilized to create fuel or recycled into new products.

“Increasing lumber prices, material shortages, and labor challenges are pushing the industry towards alternative building systems like SIPs,” says Sara Gutterman, Green Builder Media CEO.  “The durability, efficiency, and reduced waste make this building product an excellent option for new home builds, benefiting the environment, enhancing human health, and optimizing comfort.”

To learn more about how SIPs are used in the VISION House Seattle Cascades, check out the video above, featuring CR Herro and James Hodgson, General Manager of Premier Building Systems.