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Introducing SIPs and the company, BuildGreen SIPs

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BuildGreen SIPs is a Capital Region manufacturer and installer of Structural Insulated Panel Systems (SIPS), currently producing panels at Shelter Enterprises in Cohoes, NY, with a new plant to be built in Menands . The company was founded a little over a year ago, when Mike Jacobson, the Executive Director of Capital District Habitat for Humanity, introduced Camille Gibeau to Richard Stone. Both had backgrounds in building with Structural insulated panels as does Habitat for Humanity, and both had a desire to build better, stronger, more energy efficient and economically viable homes.

SIPs panels are Structural. They require no additional framing. They function as walls, roofs and can be used as flooring.  A SIP panel replaces conventional insulation with EPS (expanded polystyrene) which is more energy efficient and lifetime stable.   To construct a SIP home takes less labor, less materials and creates less waste. A SIP panel combines at least 5 building components in one step, thus reducing the margin of error. This panel system  speeds up the construction time dramatically, saving labor costs, field errors, reducing loan cost, overhead, pilferage, and waste disposal costs. The panels are extremely energy efficient, requiring less expensive heating and air conditioning systems. There is also less finishing and trim costs because walls are consistently straight and flat and there is a nailing point throughout the entire surface.

In addition, lower energy use of SIP buildings result in fewer carbon emissions.  SIPs are made with environmentally safe materials including oriented strand board (OSB), foam insulation and sealants. OSB skins are made using smaller, faster growing tree species such as aspen and southern yellow pine, a renewable resource. The foam core insulation has extremely low vapor permeability, and no physical degradation over time. The SIP system is 15 times more airtight than typical wood-frame construction resulting in virtually no energy loss. Structures built with SIPs do not require a blower door test. That puts SIP construction on better terms with the environment throughout its total life cycle, making it a key component of sustainable building practices and qualifying SIPs for green building programs. Other environmental benefits include, greatly reduced job site waste.

The SIP building system reduces energy consumption by 50 % and more. On-going research and comparison at Oak Ridge National Laboratory shows that, in terms of real performance, SIPs outperform wood-frame construction in whole wall R-Value. Continuous research shows that SIP buildings can achieve energy efficiency improvements in the 70% range when combined with other energy efficient systems such as energy-efficient hot water heaters and well-designed HVAC systems.

The superior climate control inherent with SIPs construction is a result of high thermal performance and low air infiltration. A heat/recovery ventilation system enables- precise control of the air, filtering out contaminants and allergens, and also allows for incoming air to be dehumidified, reducing the possibility for mold growth. There are a variety of ventilation strategies to provide fresh air to airtight homes. These vary by climate, but most are relatively inexpensive and operate on automatic control systems without the need for homeowner action.

SIPs do not contain any VOCs or other harmful chemicals that can affect occupant health. The components used to make SIPs (foam, oriented strand board, and adhesive) meet some of the most stringent standards for indoor air quality according to the American Lung Association

SIP buildings are engineered to meet or exceed building code requirements in all areas of the country and are recommended in areas susceptible to tornados, hurricanes and seismic activity. A structural insulated panel is similar to a steel I-beam. The skins are adhesively bonded to a solid foam core over the entire panel surface. The skins act like the flanges of an l-beam, and the rigid core provides the web of the I-beam configuration. This composite assembly results in increased stiffness, shear strength, and predictable performance. During site assembly, the panel edges are fastened to OSB, further strengthening the overall structure. Not only do test results show that the panels are stronger than wood framed construction, but performance during natural disasters has proven it time and again. Because of the inherent air tightness of the SIP building system, and proper joint sealing, moisture is prevented from entering the building envelope and long-term durability is ensured.

With increasing energy efficient building code standards and requirements for commercial and residential development, the use of green and energy efficient construction technologies like SIPs panels are compelling. Building code requirements such as USGBC’s LEED, Energy Star Homes, and the National Building Association’s Green Building Code (which is internationally compliant, and where SIPs are common) are more readily met, given the inherent properties of a structural insulated panel.

BuildGreen SIPS is a member of the Structural Insulated Panel Association and SIPAs strategic marketing plan, whose mission is to capture a significant share of the construction market in the next 5 years. BuildGreen SIPS is also a member of The Capital Region Builders & Remodelers Association, a professional trade organization affiliated with the New York State Builders Association (NYSBA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Professional Women in Building (PWB)

About the Principles: Camille has been in the re-use business via architectural salvage, antiques and reclaimed wood furnishings. In1994, Camille was a certified NYSTAR builder, and won a NYSERDA award for building one of NYS’s 13 most energy efficient homes, built solely of SIPs panels. Richard Stone, has been a builder with vast experience in residential and commercial construction, especially in the use of SIPS Panels for luxury and affordable homes, shopping centers, office facilities and power plants. Most recently Richard was the construction manager for Habitat for Humanity. Through this endeavor he founded a not for profit called Afford-A-Home, serving those 60 to 100% of the median income levels (Habitat serves 30-80%). AAH builds solely with SIPs. You may reach Camille and Richard with comments to this blog or by email: Camille@BuildGreenSIPs.com or Richard@BuildGreenSIPs.com


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