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About SIPs – What are SIPs?

A brief history

In the 1950s, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed Usonian houses which propelled the SIP concept. Frank Lloyd Wright was exceptionally innovative in all aspects of design and construction and his efforts to incorporate beauty and simplicity into cost-effective homes produced early SIPs homes. Structured Insulated Panels (SIP) design have been around since the 1930s, when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, dedicated to SIPs, designed and constructed a house to endured the severe Wisconsin weather conditions. As technology has evolved over the years, superior SIP products have been created and are widely used throughout the United States. SIP construction can be built to withstand winds up to 200mph, and provide the airtight envelope to deliver an allergy-free environment. Integrated with the appropriate solar, HVAC and plumbing systems, Amerisips is producing new visionary quality home construction that is based on the spirit of innovation, beauty and functionality. This ‘precision technologies’ approach to home construction is scalable to homes of all sizes and budgets ranging from $250,000 to $2.5 million.

What exactly are SIPs?

Traditional SIP panels are constructed by sandwiching foam insulation between two OSB boards, much like an Oreo cookie. The SIPS panels consist of two layers of structural board with insulating foam in between. Advanced adhesives are applied between the foam and OSB and then pressure is applied to the entire panel to insure optimal, uniform adhesion on both sides. The SIPs panels are incredibly strong and rigid. So strong, they can be assembled to withstand winds over 200 MPH. The panels are both nailed (or screwed) and glued together to create an airtight enclosure. The airtight seal and consistent foam thickness offer superior insulation when compared to lumber (2″x4″ pine boards) and rolled fiberglass insulation.

The panels are designed and cut to the exact measurements of the home. They are cut at the factory by precision equipment fed by a CAD (Computer Aided Design) 3D computer ‘model’ of the home. Cut-outs are exactly sized and perfectly square to facilitate installation for the windows and doors. ‘Chases’ are bored though the panel to easily install electrical wiring and plumbing. As the panels are connected, the precision bored chases perfectly align along the walls regardless of the length. When traditional SIPs panels are connected, the foam insulation is glued to the adjoining panel and the OSB overlaps the adjoining panel to create an airtight connection. (Learn about our new ‘tongue & groove’ connection system below.) Once the panels are are finished at the factory, they are numbered and loaded on a truck(s) for delivery.

SIPs Assembly

The panels are lightweight and modular in nature so an Amerisips home can be assembled in just a few days. Typically the panels can be carried into place with just one or two guys. Watch this video of an entire 4,000 Sq.Ft. home assembled and ‘dried in’ in just 5-days. Rapid assembly prevents the growth of mold and mildew typically found with conventional construction as timber and OSB are stored outside for weeks while the home is framed. SIPs offers tight construction that effectively controls air infiltration of pollutants, enabling more efficient and effective control of indoor air quality. Amerisips features EPA certified indoor air quality. The airtight construction also reduces humidity creating a more comfortable environment. The air tight envelope ensures consistent indoor temperature while the ‘solid core’ panels greatly reduce noise, creating a dramatically quieter home.

Daphne, a proud owner of a new Amerisips home, recently commented: “I sleep much better now. I finally realized its because I just don’t hear any outside noise!”

4,000 SF Home “dried-in” in Five Days
2013 – Amerisips Introduces MGO Panels

Being an innovative and technologically advanced company (one of the reasons the U.S. Dept. of Energy designated us: top 1% of U.S. builders), Amerisips introduced Magnesium Oxide (MGO) panels for the outer ‘walls’.  Magnesium Oxide SIPS panels are the next generation of SIPs having a superior fire rating to traditional fiber cement and OSB SIPs panels. MGO SIPS  are a healthy choice as they contain no organic solvents, heavy metals, asbestos, oils or other toxic ingredients and are classified as a “Green Building Material.”  MGO will not support black mold growth and has a high resistance to moisture absorption making it an ideal choice for wet humid environments. MGO is strong, durable and impact resistant, a requirement for hurricane prone areas.

With the use of a MGO SIPS panel, drywall can be eliminated which further reduces the  time and cost of construction. The exterior surface of MGO SIPS can be painted or coated with a synthetic stucco finish, lap siding, brick veneer, stone and a host of other suitable exterior finishes. MGO SIPs have superior loading, fire ratings and acoustic values over OSB and fiber cement SIPS.

2015 – Amerisips advances the State of the Art with InsulSteel™

In January 2015 AmeriSIPs launched their most advanced SIPs product: InsulSteel. Building on the foundation of the MGO/foam panel, InsulSteel panels are created with a steel framework over the foam insulation. The density of the foam insulation can be carefully controlled to create R-30, R-40 to R-70 (and more) panels (R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it.) Controlling the R value provides unprecedented energy efficiency while InsulSteel homes are easily capable of withstanding 200 MPH winds. The interior walls can be clad with MGO panels creating a completely fire-resistant home. Combined with advanced solar, HVAC and plumbing systems, we ave delivering homes with minimal or negative energy costs. The U.S. Dept of Energy awarded Amerisips the 2014 Housing Innovation Award for a home with a $312 annual energy cost (read more here).

This is the ‘state of the art’ or more properly, the ‘state of the science’ of modern home construction. We can meet any budget – don’t settle for less!

A better life begins with a better home

LEED Certification is awarded to only the highest energy efficient and healthy homes. Every Amerisips home will be designed, built and certified by both the U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Homes and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Indoor airPLUS programs, assuring you of the highest quality standards and the highest levels of indoor air quality.

Based in Charleston, SC, Amerisips Homes is the leading designer, manufacturer and builder of high performance Free Energy Living™ buildings for commercial and residential markets in the Coastal Southeast. Amerisips integrates world-class building technologies that both save and generate energy for the lifetime of your new home or building.