Friday, February 26, 2010

Save trees. Make the whole darned house out these things. InnoVida panels made with composite skins can be almost everything but the foundation!

UPDATE: Turns out two officers InnoVida Holdings LLC were convicted for a massive fraud several years after this post was originally published.   InnoVida Holdings Exec Gets 4 Years For $40M Scheme.  

SIP's (Structural Insulated Panels) have been around for 50 years and there must be 50 variations on them. Generally a SIP is a sandwich with insulating material in the middle and hard material on the outside. Most of the time the SIP's are used only for exterior walls. Occasionally they are used for Roof decking and/or as subfloors.

The SIP produced by InnoVida Holdings LLC, which they call a Fiber Composite Panel (FCP), is used to make exterior and interior loadbearing walls, roof decks, subfloors, columns, beams, connecting pieces and trim as well as built in furniture such as shelves and cabinets.

The InnoVida FCP features composite structural skins made of high-strength E-Glass fiber fabrics impregnated with a fire-resistant polymeric epoxy resin. Unlike wood skinned SIP's the FCP has no food for termites and cannot rot. Unlike SIP's with concrete skins the FCP requires no portland cement. Unlike any other SIP I know of, the FCP's are joined using chemicals to create a chemical bond or "weld".

Also unlike any SIP I know of InnoVida's panels are light enough to allow entire houses (not just demonstration houses but real houses) to be built without the use of a crane. Imagine how light a truly tiny house would be! Yet the chemical welds would create a unitary structure . Also the exterior finish of the FCP could be as simple as paint where as wood skinned SIP's require exterior siding and interior drywall.

In the Innovida system interior walls are used structurally which allows the elimination of trusses in many cases. The interior walls are of course as insulated as the exterior walls which would make small houses much more functionally quiet.

As with most other SIP's the InnoVida's FCP's are made to order at their factory and shipped to the building site. Because the FCP's are significantly lighter than wood SIP's purchasing locally to avoid shipping costs would be less of an issue. InnvoVida's US factory is in Miami Beach.

The video below is an animation of construction with the InnoVida FCP. If you've ever looked into construction using other kinds of SIP, this seems much simpler:

This video below documents the construction of a two storey flat roofed home in Dubai.

This video shows the construction of a demonstration house. What I like about it is the way the FCP's are used to make shelves, cabinets and other built ins.

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