Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Insulated Panels: How green are they?

If you are planning to build a green home, SIP panels (structural insulated panels) are a strong, energy efficient, cost effective building system that can save you time, money and labor. But are they green? The Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA), answers:

Energy efficiency: Structural insulated panels are one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. A SIP building envelope provides high levels of insulation and is extremely airtight, meaning the amount of energy used to heat and cool a home can be cut by up to 50 percent. The energy that powers homes and commercial buildings is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. By reducing the amount of energy used in buildings, architects, builders, and homeowners can contribute to a clean environment for the future.

Resource use: The insulation used in SIPs is a lightweight rigid foam plastic composed of 98% air, and requires only a small amount of petroleum to produce. The foam insulation used in panel cores is made using a non-CFC blowing agent that does not threaten the earth’s ozone layer.

Waste minimization: Since SIPs are prefabricated in the factory, there is less jobsite waste that needs to be landfilled. Factory fabrication is often done using optimization software and many manufacturers recycle factory scrap to make other foam products.

Source: Structural Insulated Panel Association

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