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Energy Star Ratings with Structural Insulated Panels

Green building Practices Yield Energy Tax Credits and SIPs Lower the Construction Budget

© 2009 by ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

Stress Testing a Structural Intsulated Panel

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) elevate the notion of modular residential building to a higher level of energy efficiency. Homeowners determined on securing a coveted Energy Star home certification should start with SIPs; green building practices start at the beginning of the project.

When Cap and Trade legislation takes effect, energy costs are going to go through the roof. There’s many things that homeowners can do to control energy usage and lower power bills. For new construction this is the place to begin.

Exactly What are Structural Insulated Panels?

The name says it all; this home construction technology is focused on building in a modular fashion. The panels are first designed by a building engineer or an architect using construction software. They are then manufactured in the assembly facility according to specs.

These custom panels are utilized in house roofs, walls, and even floors. The SIP mill constructs every panel in a sandwich fashion.

The exterior panel surfaces are composed of Oriented Strand Board (OSB). The core itself is rigid foam plastic insulation.

Don’t confuse SIPS with ICFs. ICFs Insulated Concrete Forms are a similar technology, yet stronger. They’re hollow blocks constructed with Styrofoam sides.

They are assembled, then wet concrete is poured into the interior of the blocks. This forms the wall.

Things to Consider with New Home Construction

Because the panels are put together at a remote site before being assembled at the construction site, layout, panel cutting, and traditional wood framing cease to be such an issue. What’s beneficial about this?

One of the primary things is that the structure may be dried in quicker than with traditional construction. This boils down to less time lost because of rain outs and minimal exposure to wind, rain, and snow.

The sooner the house is protected from the elements, the sooner inside build-out and trim work can commence. This means fewer logistics issues for the building contractor. Also, the homeowner has a better chance of scheduling the eagerly anticipated move-in day.

What’s the Connection Between SIP and Energy Star?

Home construction with SIPs technology may be conceived of as being the preliminary building block (pun intended) in the quest for Energy Star and LEED certification. These foam core panels will make the house virtually airtight.

Because of this, the structure may be expected to be conserve least 50% more energy than traditional residential wood framing.

After the house is completed, it has pass a standardized energy efficiency test to earn an Energy Star rating. If the test is successful, the house is included in the index referred to as HERS (Home Energy Star Rating System).

How does the test work? It’s comprised of a comprehensive visual review, a door blower test (to determine the structure’s air tightness), and then a duct blaster test, which detects leaks in the house’s duct system.

The efficiency test also looks at large appliances. Finally, having energy efficient Energy Star label windows is a priority.

Take Advantage of Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

In 2005, the United States Energy Policy Act designated energy tax credits for homes that met the standard. Homes built with SIPs are in this category.

Under the act the credit was $2000! Energy tax credits have changed with the Obama economic stimulus package, mostly for the better.

Tax credits are designed to lessen the amount of taxes a homeowner owes, whereas deductions apply to the earned income that is subject to tax.

Energy Efficient Mortgages and Construction Loans

EEMs, or Energy efficient mortgages, are suitable for green home contractor/builders, so SIPs construction is just what they are designed for. The concept is that the mortgage-holder feels secure lending a larger amount of money.

Or in today’s real estate meltdown, lending any mortgage financing at all.

Because residential utility bills continue to rise at a rapid rate, one can conclude that they will impose an increasingly painful bite on the homeowner.

However, as stated above, SIPs modular homes can save approximately 50% more than conventional framing. Simply put, the risk factor on the loan is much lower.

Likewise, as the mortgage market continues to constrict, mortgage-holders will gaze much more favorably at making construction loans for green, sustainable buildings. Their investment is on a superior building technology and if they ever have to foreclose, they have a more viable asset.

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© 2009 ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.