Images Courtesy Enercept

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Enercept has pioneered sustainable building since 1981, when they became one of the first to manufacture structural insulated panels (SIPs). The original holders of many SIP patents, Enercept crafts a system that virtually eliminates thermal bridging.

Since then, Enercept insulated panels have been used all over the world in projects across North America, Europe, Asia, and even the South Pole. (The International Science Station in Antarctica is the largest Enercept SIP project to date.)

With a foundational commitment to innovation, Enercept has a national  reputation for delivering highly customized SIPs. The Enercept team and a network of experienced dealers provide environmentally friendly framing-and-insulation solutions for residential homes, commercial buildings, and agricultural structures. They’re always ready to tackle new design challenges.

Featured home: Rosenvold Timber Frame Home, Minnesota

The advantages of structural insulated panels

SIP construction solves so many problems encountered with traditional stick frame construction. SIPs are made of rigid foam insulation enclosed between two oriented strand boards (OSB). Enercept builds insulated panels off-site, custom-tailored to the specific project. Then they’re quickly assembled on-site.

Compared to traditional construction, SIP construction offers

  • Faster installation times: SIPs are factory-made, so they can be built during site development and foundation work. SIP construction also bypasses many of the supply chain and labor shortage issues faced by builders in recent years.
  • Less waste: Off-site construction means less waste at the build site and less disposal costs. Often, the exterior framing waste of an Enercept home can be hauled away in a single 55-gallon container.
  • Increased energy efficiency: SIPs create an airtight building envelope that virtually eliminates heat losses. The result is significant energy cost savings throughout the life of the home. Compared to conventional stick-built structures of similar size, SIP homes offer energy savings up to 60%.
  • Healthier indoor air quality: Airtight SIP construction helps prevent outdoor allergens and pollution from entering the home.
  • Durability: Instead of hundreds of joins between framing and sheathing, SIPs distribute loads across the entire panel and adhere to rigid quality control standards.
  • Extra conditioned space: Vaulted ceilings can make even small homes feel larger. And with insulated roof panels, a loft or conditioned attic space can be used for bedrooms, storage, or a bonus room. 

Enercept structural insulated panels offer additional sustainability and performance wins.

  • Encercept offers nationwide availability in the US, and beyond!
  • Panels are made with oriented strand board (OSB) produced from fast-growing, small-diameter trees harvested from farms. No old-growth timber needed.
  • They are committed to low waste. All scrap foam and wood from Enercept SIPs production is ground and recycled.
  • Enercept SIP structures are compatible with USGBC LEED and ENERGY STAR home certifications.

Thermal bridging with and without insulated roof panels

exterior image of residential roof showing how thermal bridging melts frost on a shingled roof along the wood rafters - photo

Thermal imaging provided by Nature.

Because wood is more conductive of heat, studs in a wall or rafters in a roof allow heat to bypass even high–R-value insulation. When frost is on the ground, you may have noticed vertical striping on roof shingles (or even the side of a home). These stripes, known as “frost ghosting,” follow the lines of rafters (or studs), directly showing us the effects of the home’s heat loss through thermal bridging.

The continuous nature of insulated roof panels allows very limited thermal bridging. Jumbo roof panels can be as large as 8 by 24 ft, and mastic/caulk fills each seam that is then sealed with tape. Enercept’s patented SIPs have only 3% to 5% of wood penetration through the insulation, compared to 25% for conventional framing. If you’re considering whole-wall R-values, SIPs outperform stick-built, creating a high-performance building envelope.

Featured home: Custom Family Lodge, Arizona

The most customizable SIP homes on the market

Enercept believes builders shouldn’t have to sacrifice vision to build sustainably. Enercept has a library of pre-designed, conceptual plans. These can be helpful in refining your ideas in terms of style, square footage, and price range. They can also serve as a jumping-off point for a custom design. Enercept also has a network of designers and architects that they work with.

But the important question is, what are the limitations in designing with SIPs? “Based on my experience I think we can we can do pretty much anything residential. There’s a limit to the height… but there’s not many limitations when you combine proper engineering with SIP panels,” Chuck Pfeiffer, Enercept Regional Sales Manager, responded. “You could jot down your dream house on a cocktail napkin, and we’ll find a way to put it together.”

From the earliest stages, the Enercept design team helps determine the optimal SIPs layout for every project. Enercept drafters then create panelized construction drawings to exacting specifications. They embrace creative design elements with detailing, unique shapes, or irregular openings. Complex rooflines and joins are actually easier.

Using advanced computer-aided design and manufacturing, Enercept produces precision custom panels in the factory. The insulated roof and wall panels arrive at the job site ready for speedy assembly.

Enercept offers insulated roof panels, basement and foundation panels, and wall panels. Panel core thickness can range from 1 to 16 inches, and each panel comes with pre-installed electrical chases and plumbing chases where needed.

Enercept SIPs customized packages can save you time by including

  • Top plate material
  • Glulam center beam
  • Seam tape
  • Panel sealant for the joints
  • Rough openings for windows and doors

Plus, Enercept goes beyond industry standard practice. They install frames and headers for all windows and doors, which can shave considerable time off a build.

Featured home: Elm Tree Residence, North Dakota

SIP construction with Enercept

Building a SIP home with Enercept anywhere in the US starts with a free, no obligation, project estimate.

After reviewing the package with Enercept, a project kicks off with an initial down payment. An experienced Enercept drafter will generate detailed plans for the the SIPs manufacture and how the build will be constructed. As site prep proceeds, Enercept will start manufacturing your SIPs. A project manager and production scheduler guide clients through the process and keep progress on track.

Panels arrive at the construction site along with detailed construction and electrical drawings. Chases for electrical are precut, again saving time and money. The builder and electrician have all the information needed to assemble the structure. Enercept’s free virtual on-site assistance, available nationwide, supports builders to ensure quality, hassle-free installation.

Dream homes become reality

As more consumers demand high performance homes, there is a large pool of experienced SIPs builders. Enercept can also provide training for your builder, or access to a pre-trained professionals.  “There’s a very short learning curve. A builder will learn to go faster, but not necessarily get better. Because of the ease of construction, because they go together tight, it’s not at the owner’s expense that their builder is learning to do this,” said Jon Golz, also a Regional Sales Manager.

“We also have a program at Enercept of training builders, Enercept U, which is an in-house program….  So all of our regional sales managers, every one of them, has a network of builders. And many are willing to travel, and at least shell-up the SIPs portion if a local builder is not comfortable with it.”

SIP buildings are airtight and durable. They offer low-maintenance reliability and significant energy savings throughout the life of the structure. From simple structures to architectural masterpieces, Enercept drafters can create a fully customized panel layout. And Enercept has been building SIPs for longer than almost anyone else.

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Enercept can turn an ideal green home into reality. Click through for your free, no obligation, project estimate.