SIPs (was Re: Here's my Vision. Has anyone ever thought of )
From: Philip Proefrock (
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 13:46:27 -0800 (PST)
SIPs (structural insulated panles) are not typically a source of
formaldehyde or other off-gassing issues.

> A slightly different form of "modular" construction is construction from
> structurally insulated panels (SIPs). You can find references
> here<>.
> Have any communities used or are any communities planning to use SIPs in
> their structures. It would seem to have many advantages (well insulated,
> rapid construction, precision and accuracy, sound attenuation) and at
> least
> one disadvantage (formaldehyde emissions).

There are two kinds of formaldehyde glues; one (urea formaldehyde) which
is used in many furniture and other interior applications, and will offgas
formaldehyde for decades.  The other (phenol formaldehyde) which is used
when the materials may be exposed to the weather, does not have any
offgassing because the formaldehyde is molecularly locked into the
The glues used on most OSB (oriented strand board, the material used for
the exterior faces of the panels) are the latter type, which does not

The expanded polystyrene used for the central core insulation also does
not typically use any form of CFCs or formaldehyde.

Additionally, SIPs allow for some of the highest efficiency construction,
in terms of air infiltration and leakage, and have been highly recommended
as the best method of construction for meeting Energy Star qualifications
according to a couple of home energy rating specialists I have met.

SIPs might have higher up-front costs, but the energy savings is likely to
pay for itself in due course.

Philip Proefrock, LEED-AP
  architect [at]

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