Structurally-insulated panels, or ‘SIPs,’ are commonly used throughout Europe and North America as a construction method. The UK market has been slow to catch up, but SIPs have many advantages over standard masonry and timber frame construction methods. Primarily this is to do with the factory-built components allowing for a better performing building fabric. Below is a brief summary of these key advantages, as well as technical information on what makes up a SIP.
Stucturally Insulated Panels consists of two outer layers of OSB board with a closed-cell insulation sandwiched inbetween. The insulation is a solid polyurethane which provides exceptional thermal and sound insulation qualities. Our SIP material is provided by leading manufacturers Hemsec and is engineered and panelised in Scotland to our designs. The standard depth of panel is 150mm with a nominal u-value of 0.21 W/m2K, although the panels can be provided at up to 225mm depth. Our standard detail, with further insulation to the inside of the SIP, gives a nominal u-value of 0.16 W/m2K.
Building with SIPs is a fast construction method. It is entirely possible for the SIP house ‘shell’ to be completed within five days.
SIPs are structurally very strong, and can be cut to various sizes. Very little energy is used during the SIP manufacturing process, with SIPs using up to 50% less raw timber compared with conventional timber frame houses.
SIP panels have excellent sound absorption properties with the result that the finished buildings are quieter to live in.
Insulation is integral to the SIP system, and therefore does not require installation on site as is common with standard building methods. Insulation is blown in to the panel, forming a solid core, creating a highly energy-efficient fabric. This means that the building is heated evenly, is free from cold spots and benefits from reduced heating costs.
The strength of SIP structures allows for thinner walls. Bulky roof trusses are not required either. These factors can add up to 10% of extra floor space in your home.
The benefits of SIP, such as low running costs and environmental sustainability, are increasingly well recognised. This means that SIP houses will remain attractive to future buyers.