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Amerisips Homes Charleston Custom Home Builder
Jun 242014

newnetzeroThinking of getting off the grid or just significantly cutting your energy use? A new book by architect William Maclay outlines how to do just that.

His new book, “The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future” is comprised of detailed architectural drawings and impressive charts to show that net-zero-energy buildings (those that make as much or more energy than they consume) not only offers long-term advantages for the planet, but can also save their owners money from the start.

Within the 576 pages of his book, you will not find a single strategy for getting to net zero, but an à la carte menu of technologies and inspirations, including a generous number of examples conceived by other firms and examples of homes from Vermont to Boston, and Utah. This should be required reading for anyone considering building a new home. Education is your best friend!

Our “Free Energy Living”sm tagline adheres to the same principles of reaching beyond the hefty consumption of the traditional built homes and re-inventing the paradigm.  Read the full article and interview from the New York Times here, and then explore our site to see how we can help build the future, together.

Mar 272014

air-plus-logo-150x150In new estimates released Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported about 7 million people died as a result of air pollution exposure in 2012.

This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk as 1 in every 8 deaths is linked to it.

In particular, the new research reveals a stronger connection between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and heart disease, as well as cancer. The report also found air pollution plays a role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The new estimates used improved measurements and technology, enabling scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes both urban and rural areas.

With an Amerisips SIPS home, your indoor air quality earns the highest level of certification by the EPA.  You can literally ‘breath easy’.  No other home builder offers you that… what is it worth to you and your family to reduce your odds?

Included in the assessment is a breakdown of deaths attributed to specific diseases, which shows the vast majority of air pollution deaths are tied to cardiovascular diseases.

Indoor Air Pollution-caused deaths—Breakdown by Disease:

  • 34 percent: Stroke
  • 26 percent: Ischaemic heart disease
  • 22 percent: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • 12 percent: Acute lower respiratory infections in children
  • 6 percent: Lung cancer
Nov 212013

vastra-house_exterior-300x192“Vastu” in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit means “energy” or “that which is imperishable”, an adjective that we would gladly use for our home. Indeed, two of the vital functions of a home would be to nurture and shelter us. A home is a place that should protect us from the harsh exterior world and rejuvenate us.

“Vāstu” comes from the same culture that brought us Yoga and Āyurveda. Vāstu can be considered as the yoga of design, and strives to bring balance, health, harmony, order, and unity to the space around us. Meditation gives us the experience of pure consciousness; Vāstu enhances this and connects us with the source through proper design. Vāstu creates healthy buildings that profoundly affect our health, happiness, and prosperity ultimately, the health of our environment.

Vāstu Shastra is an ancient science of construction and architecture with precepts borne out of a traditional view on how Continue reading »

Nov 132013

Panel-house-roof-installCost per square foot…. We’ve all heard it and perhaps even used it ourselves. But what does that really mean to a buyer?

  • It means you are placing a purchase value on space rather than the quality of the space you are purchasing.
  • It means you are omitting the qualities desirable for you and your family – clean air, a structurally sound home, a well-insulated home, a home that is energy conscious to save you $ to put towards your kid’s education or a sailboat for yourself!
  • It means nothing.

In the past, we’ve all used it to give us an indication of what we are intending to purchase, compared to other homes (not even apples to apples). Continue reading »

Nov 122013

mgo-residential-296x300Magnesium Oxide (MGO) SIPS (Structured Insulated Panels) 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, Continue reading »

Oct 212013

MGO-panel-installing Through generations of time, man has searched for superior building materials to withstand forces of nature. We migrated from mud and thatch to log and stick. Despite the evolutions, drafts, mold & mildew, poor air quality, inadequate insulation and a poor barrier for Mother Nature succumbed to the elements.

Decades ago, famed architect Frank Llyod Wright resurrected the Structured Insulated Panel to engender the construction of a superior home – Amerisips continues in his footsteps, offering the superior construction of SIPs.

Most SIPs construction utilizes the pressed OSB boards with styrafoam sandwiched in between. This extremely advantageous material offers far more benefits to the home owner.

As a species, we desire to continually improve, and thus enters our AmeriBoards – Magnesium Oxide panels.

Magnesium Oxide SIPS panels (MGO) are the next generation of SIPs having a superior fire rating to traditional fiber cement and OSB SIPs panels. MGO panel skins are available in thickness of 6 mm to 30 mm. AmeriBoard panels can be used for basement walls and waterproofed with the same methods and materials used to waterproof a Continue reading »

 Blog, Understanding SIPs  Comments Off on Stick Frame Construction cannot compete with Improved Building Materials
Oct 162013

image-PanelHouseThe comparison of SIPs to traditional stick-framing methods is simple, And the state of California has recognized it in a state wide law. Their Title 24 legislation, requires all new construction (residential and non-residential) must be zero energy by 2013. Since California is an innovator in energy efficiency, it is very likely that other states will soon follow their lead.

Since government agencies recognize the significant difference in high performance framing methods like SIPs, shouldn’t you? Here is a summary of why SIPs are superior to standard 2×6 R19 construction. Continue reading »

Aug 152013


LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system created by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes, including affordable housing, mass-production homes, custom designs, stand-alone single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, suburban and urban apartments and condominiums and lofts in historic buildings.

What Is LEED?

It is “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED). A green home is designed to have a positive impact on energy efficiency, environmental performance and human well being. LEED is a point-based certification system that measures how well a home performs as a green home. Homes can achieve the following levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Amerisips projects have achieved Gold and we are pushing the bar higher to regularly achieve Platinum.LEED-Platinum-Logo

LEED is a Tool
For Amerisips, LEED is a tool used to set targets and track progress during the design and construction of a Free Energy Living home.

LEED is a Scorecard
For homebuyers, LEED is a Scorecard—like a nutrition label—that gives a clear, concise picture of all the ways a green home performs at a higher level.

LEED is a Seal of Quality
For residents, LEED is a seal of quality, providing peace of mind that they are living in a home designed to deliver fresh air indoors and improved water and energy efficiency.

What Does LEED Measure?

LEED recognizes performance in eight areas:

Indoor Environmental Quality The quality of the air indoors is often two to five times worse, and occasionally more than 100 times worse, than outdoor air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A LEED home is designed to maximize fresh air indoors and minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants.

Energy Efficiency The average American household spends around $1,500 every year on energy bills, according to the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR program. Based on average ENERGY STAR scores of LEED homes built so far, they have the potential to use 20-30% less energy, and some up to 60% less energy, than a home built to the International Code Council’s standards for minimum energy efficiency. Less energy use means lower utility bills every month through the life of a house.

Water Efficiency Wasteful water use is both costly and risky, as population growth and a changing climate make clean, safe water an increasingly scarce resource. It is also directly tied to wasteful energy use: As much as 1/4-1/2 of the electricity used by most U.S. cities is consumed at municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities according to the U.S. Department of Energy. LEED homes use innovative strategies to reduce a home’s water use and to find creative ways to reuse water.

Site Selection The old truism about prime real estate – location, location, location – is especially true of green homes. LEED encourages homes that are close to schools, shopping, work and transit, maximizing your quality of life and reducing the amount of time you waste in traffic.

Site Development During construction and beyond, a home can cause erosion, interfere with natural habitats and pollute waterways through stormwater runoff. LEED homes avoid destructive construction practices and have landscaping and other elements that protect the land where the home sites.

Materials Selection The materials and resources that go into a home can be carefully selected from sustainably harvested, responsibly processed sources – or they can be wasteful and contribute to habitat destruction. LEED homes use recycled, reclaimed and responsibly obtained materials everywhere possible.

Residents’ Awareness LEED is proactive in educating homeowners and renters about a home’s green features and how to get the highest performance from them. A LEED home also stands as an example to the community of a well-built home and encourages others to live the same.

Innovation LEED encourages builders and designers to find innovative ways to increase a home’s performance, taking into account local and regional needs and promoting durability for a long-lasting, comfortable home.

How Does A Free Energy Living Home Become LEED Certified?

Registration The Amerisips building team registers a new home project with the LEED for Homes program.

Teamwork The builder, architect, engineer and others on the design and construction team work closely together to optimize the benefits of a green home and ensure all the pieces work well together.

Verification During the construction of the home, inspections at significant milestones, often including an ENERGY STAR rating, verify that the project is on the right track.

Certification At the end of the process, a home is awarded points for its achievements. Based on the number of points it receives, the home can be certified at one of four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.



The LEED for Homes certification program has been put in place to provide independent, third-party verification that a particular home complies with the LEED for Homes Green Building Rating System. This certification program is not meant to serve as a vehicle for the adjudication of disputes between third parties, including without limitation, contractual disputes that arise between homeowners, project teams, and homebuilders. Accordingly, this certification program and the services provided by Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, USGBC staff, Providers, and/or Green Raters does not replace the applicable judicial or other alternative dispute resolution processes that such third parties may have available to resolve such disputes between themselves.

Further, the U.S. Green Building Council makes no warranty with respect to any LEED-certified project, including any warranty of habitability, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose. There are no warranties, express or implied, written or oral, statutory or otherwise, with respect to the certifications provided by USGBC. By way of example only, and without limiting the broad scope of the foregoing, it is understood that LEED certification, whether at the Certified level or any other level, does not mean that the project is structurally sound or safe, constructed in accordance with applicable laws, regulations or codes, free of mold or mildew, free of volatile organic compounds or allergens, or free of soil gases including radon.

Aug 152013

OUR WEBSITE HAS MOVED! If you think SIPS are strong, wait until you see our new EcoShell product. 

August 15, 2013

Why Does Amerisips Design & Build with SIP Panels? A Structured Insulated Panel (SIP) functions like an I-Beam. The SIPs sheathing or facing acts like the steel flanges and the SIPs foam core acts like the continual steel web.

Extensive research has shown that the structural integrity of a SIPs building is significantly superior to a conventional stick framed house in terms of compressive resistance, flexural strength, shear resistance, and uplift resistance. Since their introduction and use in the 1930s (including homes built by Frank Lloyd Wright), SIPs have undergone exhaustive testing by many third party agencies. SIPs panels have proven themselves to be a powerful alternative to standard stick frame; 2×4 or 2×6 construction, and even ICF construction, regardless of the type of insulation; fiberglass, cellulose or blown foam insulation used in the walls or roof.

If the laboratory research wasn’t evidence enough, there are many SIPs homes that can be found in the real world, many of which are decades old Continue reading »

Sep 112013


What do we mean when we talk about a High Performance Envelope? One that is so tight at the seams that drafts which lead to excess energy use, mold, mildew and insect entry are virtually eliminated. Indoor air quality is so high that it receives certification from the EPA (AirPlus), and the home itself, is awarded LEED certification by the USGBC.

Where the insulation is so thick that your energy costs are significantly reduced, and where the structural integrity of the house can withstand winds up to 200mph.

That’s what we’re talking about… and it doesn’t cost as much as you think to own a home of this quality! Continue reading »

 Blog, Understanding SIPs  Comments Off on High Performance Building Envelope for Residential & Commercial
Sep 112013


The Need for Change

Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect, Building Technologies Program, US Department of Energy and Former Founder & National Director ENERGY STAR for Homes, U.S. EPA

Quote from “Retooling the U.S. Housing Industry” book

There are more than 130 million existing single family and multifamily homes in the United States. More than 95 percent of them evidence poor performance base on commonly occurring symptoms; unnecessarily high utility bills; seasonal discomfort; poorly managed interior moisture levels that can lead to musty smells, mold and dust mites; epidemic levels of respiratory health problems; widespread thermal defects; high indoor noise levels; window condensation; excessive bugs; high levels of dust; ice dams in winter and uneven peeling paint.” Continue reading »

Sep 112013

Energy independence is no longer a movement relegated to the apocalypse-touting and granola-eating subsects of the American population. It’s now accessible and attractive to main-stream and cost-conscious home builders. Gone are the days of bulky solar panels and protruding wind turbines. Thanks to Amerisips – an all-in-one, green developing, designing, distributing, and building company – Charlestonians can enjoy Free Energy Living…in style.

Amerisips uses structural insulated panels to form the foundation upon which their business model, company name, and homes are built. They use SIPs (which are six to eight inches thick) for the floor, roof, and walls of what they call their ‘Eco Shells’. Continue reading »

Sep 112013


So what exactly is HERS?

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is one of many national standard for measuring the energy efficiency of a home. Typically the older the home, the higher the rating (consuming more energy and costing more dollars to maintain). Even most new homes, while somewhat improved over an older home, is typically in the mid-range and will still cost the homeowner (vary based on usage like mpg in a car) a greater monthly expense in utility bills. It may sound good, but it has not achieved a healthy and lower utility cost.

To achieve a low monthly energy expense, the home needs to be free of drafts and leakages in the building shell envelope, allowing for a mold and mildew ‘sandwich’. Building leakages not only deteriorates the home’s ability to attain a low energy usage, but in a short time, deteriorates the indoor air quality contributing to illness of the occupants.

An Amerisips Free Energy Living (Net Zero Energy) Home is so airtight, it attains one of the lowest HERS scores and surpasses that criteria to achieve LEED Platinum Certification.

Download the Government PDF information and charts on Energy Efficiency ratings here. Then call us at Amerisips for an appointment or stop in to experience the difference. Net Zero Energy homes can be achieved.



Sep 112013


There are ten strategic competencies that Amerisips has built that directly address and conquer the fufll sweep of the built in inefficiences and entanglements in the construction industry. As a comprehensive ‘end-to-end’ solution, these competencies create ‘A Better Way’ for every home and building owner. The following is an abbreviated version, however, the full version will be available for download in a pdf format.

  1. A Customer Driven Company – The Amerisips’ management team, and organization, has decades of consumer product experience.Amerisips’ focused effort to untangle the hellish maze of bad practices, processes and excesses in the construction market began with creating the right products and services, while building the right relationships with the right customers. That is the Better Way.
  2. Proactive Design – “The end in mind” – There is substantially more to a high performance building than a beautiful exterior and excellent floor plan, yet the traditional residential architectural and design process employed for decades in the construction world has created a reactive arena for all the critical material and system choices and integration that are forced to fit within the initial design. The better approach Amerisips has executed is to exploit the talents of their in-house architectural and design team to proactively create total building integration with the client’s needs, project budget with optimal building performance in mind. And there is an added bonus for Amerisips customers – architectural and design fees are included in the overall construction budget at dramatically lower rates – saving them even more money.
  3. Low Cost Producer and Quality Leader – Amerisips’ innovative business model was designed at the outset to become the “quality leader” and the “low cost producer” in the light commercial and residential market segments for designing and building high performance structures. Amerisips accomplishes this powerful union of low cost and hgh quality by bringing together their optimized in-house building design witht he global leader in building systems manufacturing, German manufacturer Hundegger, with their state-of-the-art CNC – Computer Numerical Control equipment. The Amerisips design and build process meets the highest quality standards, while at the same time, delivering the lowest cost of building systems and production labor in the marketplace.
  4. Green Building Systems – The cornerstone of the Amerisips building systems strategy and green building capability is the manufacture, fabrication and assembly of Structural Insulated Panel Systems (SIPS) for the building envelope or “shell”. SIPS has been in use for over 80 years and delivers high levels of benefit in multiple areas:
    1. Building owners can expect signiificant energy savings over traditional “stick built” buildings – ranging from a 50 to 80 percent reduction in energy consumption.
    2. A typical SIPS house can be framed in 3-5 days and construction can be completed in as few as 70 days.
    3. Indoor air quality is consistently superior through the management of a tight building envelope and application of state-of-the-art HVAC and clean air filtration systems.
    4. Structures can be engineered to withstand winds up to 200 mph without significant added costs.
    5. SIPS manufacturing and field assembly produce very little construction waste, reducing disposal costs and minimizing impact on landfills.
  5. Shades of Green Plus Blue – Today’s buildings have become increasingly complex with more advanced HVAC systems, ENERGY STAR appliances, lighting and controls, plumbing and intelligent electrical systems that are often installed independently with little consideration for their impact on other building systems or worse, the building occupants. Amerisips has engineered and optimized building systems performance by focusing on a comprehensive “green plus blue” systems approach that integrates all systems for each unique building.
  6. Hybrid Energy Systems deliver Net-Zero “Free” Energy – Amerisips’ green building strategy starts with an optimized design and building shell then weaves those together with a best of breed energy savings and energy renewable ‘green’ system, such as solar and geothermal, with the ‘blue’ clean iar environmental system options. By capitalizing on the high R-value (up to R-45) performance of structured insulated panels, Amerisips creates an immediate energy savings benefit of 50 percent and from that, performance foundation will engineer the the selected Hybrid Energy System options to create the holy grail of building performance – a “free energy living” structure.

Curious about the other Four? Come visit Amerisips and experience them!