EnerSmart SIPs are Affordable and Save You Money.
At EnerSmart we pride ourselves in offering a high quality product for a price that will fit for your specific project and budget. The popularity of SIPs is growing quickly because it’s a solution that has an immediate and significant return on investment, especially from a direct energy savings perspective. SIPs are also more affordable then other non-conventional building methods like spray foam and ICF, while offering greater performance. For this reason the use of SIPs is exploding around the world.
This depends entirely on what you’re comparing it to? Since most structures today are still stick framed we will do this comparison first, even though SIPs have far superior strength and performance. To put it into perspective, comparing SIPs to stick framing is like comparing a luxury sports car to an entry level sedan. As consumers, we get what we pay for and the construction industry is no different. From a pure cost, “SIP wall vs stick framed wall” standpoint, typically you will spend anywhere from 0% – 30% more by using SIPs, depending upon your project’s specific requirements. This is before you account for things like energy savings, re-sale value, etc. Keep in mind that this is on the envelope portion of the project only and not the entire cost of the finished home. For example, if it is going to cost you $15,000 to stick frame your walls, it may cost you an additional $0 – $4500 to use SIPs for the same walls. It’s a pretty small price to pay in the overall cost of your build when you consider all the advantages. In using SIPs, most of your envelope costs goes toward the product whereas with stick framing, most of your envelope costs goes towards labour. Would you rather spend your money on the actual product or on labour?
Additional costs compared with conventional stick framing with batt insulation are offset by the following:
Labour cost savings from ease of assembly. When comparing the price of SIPs to the cost of materials to stick frame the same structure, the price of SIPs may appear to be considerably more. However, when labour savings are taken into account, this is where the difference is made up. Take a 2000 sq.ft. bungalow for example. If you’re stick framing it, how long does it take to do material take-offs, order materials, cut materials to size, frame the walls, frame the headers, square the walls, sheet the walls, stand the walls, brace the walls, insulate the walls, vapour barrier the walls, clean up material waste, dispose material waste, etc? Now consider that you can install the SIPs on this same project and have stronger and more energy efficient walls up and ready for drywall in as little as 6 hours from the time they show up on site.
Less job site waste. EnerSmart panels are pre-fabricated in our factory specific to your project which results in an easy install with less waste going to the land fill. There is no cutting or insulating and very little vapor barrier installed on site for any area SIPs are used, greatly eliminating the associated waste that is typically created by these activities.
Ease of finishing. All EnerSmart walls are true and do not warp, expand, or contract and with very few framing members in the walls, it makes life quite simple for a lot of the ensuing sub-trades.
- Window and door installation. Rough openings are cut on a CNC machine with a +/- 1/16” tolerance and because the SIPs do not expand or contract after they are up (as stick framing will do), windows and doors go in quickly as designed.
- Drywall. There is no need to search for a stud when using SIPs so drywall is installed very quickly and very efficiently as very little cutting is required which allows you to maximize your materials. Because the SIP walls are so true and square, it also makes mudding and taping much easier.
- Electrical. All the electrical rough openings are cut into the SIPs at our factory and chases are drilled into the foam to allow for electrical wiring. Electricians simply have to fasten the boxes to the OSB and run the wiring through the chases that are already drilled for them. With SIPs, there is no drilling through a pile of studs in order to run the wiring as is the case with stick framing. Adding or moving electrical locations once the SIPs are up can also be done quite easily.
- Cabinet installation. Installing cabinets is very quick and simple because the SIPs are so true. There’s no messing around with stick framed walls that are out of square. Additionally, because there are no studs in the SIPs and the entire interior wall surface is OSB, cabinet installers can nail or screw anywhere into the OSB, therefore making it easier to design and install.
- Finish trim. As is the case with cabinetry, finish trim such as window/door casing, baseboards, crown molding, etc. is easily installed because it can be nailed anywhere to the interior OSB facing and all the walls and rough openings are extremely square.
Energy Savings. These savings start right away with much less construction heat needed. Once the project is completed there are significant cost savings immediately. By using this superior insulated and air tight building system you can save approximately 40% – 60% in energy costs compared to traditional framing. If extra costs are incurred in building with SIPs for your project and those costs are financed, the savings alone on energy costs will likely more then cover the loan costs and interest.
Re-sale value. Although you may not have moving in mind, the average Canadian moves dwellings 11 times in their life with 4 of those being home purchases. When you go to sell your house in the future and energy costs are even higher than they are now, which home do you think will have a higher re-sale value? The inefficient, energy consuming stick built home? Or a high performance SIP home that consumes approximately half the energy? In discussing this with numerous real estate companies, they believe that any additional costs that were incurred by using SIPs will be totally offset by the re-sale value alone.
When looking at all the different non-conventional options out there for your project we want to make sure you have the right information to make the best decision to meet your needs and especially your budget.
Here are the more common non-conventional forms of construction and how EnerSmart SIPs compare:
- ICF or Insulated Concrete Forms – For a foundation this is a very good system but for above grade it is very expensive because of the cost of concrete. SIPs can give you just as good or better performance for a lot less money. SIPs are however a great complement to an ICF foundation.
- Spray Foam – Spray foam is a rising star in the construction industry but it has some faults. Off-gassing and additional thermal bridging from these wall systems are just two examples. EnerSmart SIPs use virgin bead EPS that has fully cured so off-gassing is not an issue. Also our walls don’t have lumber in them increasing the total wall performance as there is very little thermal bridging. You can get better performance for less money using EnerSmart SIPs.
Can I Use SIPs for Commercial Construction?
Yes! There are a lot of different insulating options used with fiber or spray type applications most common. Ask us how using our jumbo panels on large commercial and industrial buildings has proved to be an economical and easy to use alternative that significantly increases the energy performance of large buildings.