Construction techniques and methods continue to evolve to meet the changes in demand from consumers. The recent trend in low-energy and eco-friendly housing has paved the way for the renewed popularity of structural insulated panels or SIPs in the UK.
Why focus on low-energy features
Anyone who is in the planning stages of building a new home needs to prioritise low-energy features. One of the primary goals of a low-energy house is reducing energy consumption and minimising the overall cost of running a household. The ongoing depletion of natural resources is instilling a new consciousness in the construction industry, thus the eager adoption of techniques that can help conserve the environment.
How to achieve a low-energy home with SIPs
SIPs are the perfect solution for designing a low-energy house. When SIPs were first developed, the primary goal was to create a building that had superior insulation and durability. Through years of perfecting the technology, panels from SIP UK manufacturers are of the highest standards of quality with the following benefits:
- Building with SIPs reduces cold bridging. The term ‘cold bridging’ refers to certain flaws in constructing a home which connects the exterior elements to the interior of the home. In a conventional timber frame house, the spaces between the studs let outside air in. In contrast, SIPs reduce cold bridging by almost half that of traditional timber frames.
- Airtight building envelope. SIPs are factory manufactured to standard or custom sizes. By accurately cutting panels to size and with proper installation technique, the resulting structure is airtight. An airtight building envelope limits air leakage and helps to keep cold and warm air inside longer.
- Faster build time. Building with SIPs also reduce construction time and therefore saves on labour costs. Once the panels are delivered on site, they are ready for installation.
Apart from the characteristics of SIPs which make them ideal for a low-energy home, there are design advantages to using SIPs as well.
- Create an open plan layout. Open plan layouts are popular these days because the interior space is flexible. Using SIPs for roof panels and floors creates more room than in a conventional timber frame house.
- Vaulted or cathedral ceilings. A vaulted ceiling is a stunning feature that can be achieved using SIPs. Using these panels for roofing eliminates trusses, thus creating a spacious open ceiling.
In designing a home constructed with SIPs, there are a variety of options available for the external and internal finish. The exterior of these panels does not require additional support and cladding which allows you to add a lightweight and modern finish. For the interior, on the other hand, a layer of gypsum board may be added for fireproofing. Drywall and gypsum board are ideal finishing materials before the final coat of decorative finish such as wallpaper or paint.
In conclusion, designing and constructing a low-energy home is possible by using modern construction materials like SIPs. These panels help achieve excellent insulation and thus maintain the energy-efficiency of a home. With a low-energy house, you can save money on your electricity and gas payments as well as promote and support eco-friendly practices.