Friday, April 10, 2009

Steel Thermal Efficient Wall Panels (STEP) combine foam insulation with steel framing

Steel framing is recyclable and with proper insulation it poses no problem for thermal bridging. Foam panels make great insulation but of course they are not load bearing.

A number of companies have combined steel framing with foam insulation in various forms. One such company is Accelerated Building Technologies of Pennsylvania. Their product embeds cold rolled steel framing into extruded polystyrene. They call it Steel Thermal Efficient Wall Panels (STEP).

The steel framing extends to the inside of the foam leaving a cavity for mechanical systems, plumbing and electric in accordance with open design principles. Drywall can be attached on the inside surface.

The system lends itself to conventional style buildings, though there are some design principles to keep in mind, such as avoiding sloping load bearing walls and wall lengths of less than 3 feet.

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