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  • Even with the speed of SIPs, Mother Nature decided that the third building envelope erection will have to wait until Spring.

  • While Ron Jones wasn't slowed by the snowfall thanks to his Kubota tractor, it was for the best that the SIPs had been raised before it got too harrowing.

  • The goal of the project is to live as light on the land as possible, so one of the most important considerations was the building envelope—an airtight SIP building will use less energy to heat and cool. Plus, the fact that SIPs can be put up quickly is key in an area of the country where snowfall is unpredictable. 

  • SIPA Executive Director, Jack Armstrong (right) stands with Green Builder Media's Ron Jones at a vista near Mariposa Meadows.

What's So Green About SIPs?

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a high-performance building system for residential and light commercial construction. The panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, typically oriented strand board (OSB). SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be fabricated to fit nearly any building design. SIPs are one of the most airtight and well insulated building systems available. An airtight SIP building will use less energy to heat and cool, allow for better control over indoor environmental conditions, and reduce construction waste.

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The Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) is a non-profit trade association representing manufacturers, suppliers, dealer/distributors, design professionals, and builders committed to providing quality structural insulated panels for all segments of the construction industry. SIPA has been in existence since 1990 and has made tremendous progress in advancing energy-efficient construction with structural insulated panels. The panels for this project were funded by the 30 North American manufacturing members of SIPA. The manufacturing location was Montana and, like all SIPA manufacturers, the facility is held to a high level of quality control standards that ensures the fit and finish consistent with SIPA manufacturing members.


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Eight buildings built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) were recognized for their innovation and environmental sustainability in SIPA's 2014 SIPA Building Excellence Awards. Read about these innovative projects here. Shown above is one of the winners, the Ellmann Residence, submitted by PorterSIPs.  Built by CL Construction, the 2,800-square-foot home features an 8-inch-thick SIP roof with 4-foot cantilevered overhangs.  Allegretti Architects crafted a passive solar design to maximize daylighting, along with hydronic radiant heating, LED lighting, and Energy Star appliances to further boost the home’s energy savings.

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SIPS at the VISION House at Mariposa Meadows

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