Friday, June 26, 2009

Locally manufactured SIPs from EH Systems in New Braunfels make choosing this green building option easier

EH Systems manufactures SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) conveniently nearby in New Braunfels.

SIPS have been used for decades, both as infill between framing and as load-bearing panels in structures built without other framing. In a SIP, two solid panels are separated by lighter weight insulating material, to which the panels are attached.

SIPS vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The outer skin can be made of plywood, osb, metal or concrete among other materials. Today the insulating material is usually polystyrene but a number of other materials have been used over the years. Different adhesives are used and advocated by various manufacturers. Although in general the panels are assembled on site in similar ways, each manufacturer adds their own design touches intended to make the panels easier to install, more resistant to insects, sturdier, lower in objectionable substances or more convenient to run wiring through.

When you build with SIPs the house plan is almost without exception required to be in the computer. The manufacturer uses the CAD data to machine cut the needed panels. Typically SIPs are only used for the exterior of a structure with conventional frame walls being used on the inside. The exterior of a SIPs structure is covered with conventional siding, stone, brick or stucco.

EH Systems manufactures SIPs from 4 foot wide to 9 feet wide. The panels can be up to 32 feet high. The larger panels are used for institutional customers such as schools and industrial facilities. The smaller panels are used for single family homes.

They also manufacture roof panels. Many SIPs designs feature cathedral ceilings. When combined with SIPS floor panels in the attic, a homeowner can gain relatively comfortable unconditioned storage space.

There are many home plans designed specifically for use with SIPs. But EH Systems like many manufacturers has staff and a CAD (computer aided design) system to convert plans to a SIPs layout. They offer hands on training to whole companies, superintendents and framers. An on-site builder services representative is also available to participants in their Preferred Builder program.

EH Systems is a member of Build San Antonio Green and since they manufacture locally, their products can provide valuable LEED credits.

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