SIP Explained

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.

What is our 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 panels are provided by leading manufacturers Hemsec 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.  

More information on Hemsec SIP can be found here. 

Speed of construction

Building with SIPs is a fast construction method. It is entirely possible for the SIP house ‘shell’ to be completed within five days.

Design efficiency

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.

Sound proofing

SIP panels have excellent sound absorption properties with the result that the finished buildings are quieter to live in.

Thermal performance

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.

Extra floor space

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.

Resale value

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.

Other sustainability pages

If you would like to discuss your project, please get-in-touch.

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