Life Cycle Benefits of SIPs

SIPs Environmental Advantage

By providing substantial energy savings and critical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the energy invested in the production and delivery of SIPs yields an exponential benefit to the environment, when compared to traditional stick framing.

The exceptional performance of SIPs as an insulator coupled with low air leakage for the built environment offers the construction industry the tools and technology needed to achieve superior thermal performance while making a significant and restorative contribution to the reduction of global warming.

SIPs increase R-Values in homes


All manufactured products require the use of energy, most of which is currently derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. SIPs are comprised of EPS insulation, oriented strand board wood facings and a small amount of structural adhesive. The manufacture of SIPs uses fossil fuels in the production of components as well as for processing, finishing and transportation. The manufacturing and transportation processes also emit greenhouse gases related to the consumption of energy. We call this the energy and emissions "investment".

The use of SIPs on a building significantly increases the R-value of walls and reduces air leakage and therefore saves energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the useful life of the building. These savings and emissions reductions represent the "dividend" or return on investment (ROI) of the energy used and emissions produced in manufacturing and delivering the product.

The life cycle stages evaluated in assessing the energy and emissions related to the production and delivery of SIPs included all steps in the process, from raw material extraction, to component production, wall production and transportation to the jobsite. The energy and emissions reduction calculations included all electricity and natural gas consumption for heating and cooling over a 50-year period. The study did not include nominal energy used in the product installation, demolition of the building, or the disposal or recycling of construction waste.

SIPs Environmental Profile

This Environmental Profile summarizes a life cycle analysis conducted by Franklin Associates for the EPS Molders Association SIPs Work Group. The study was to quantify the energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions provided by the use of SIPs walls as an alternative to traditional stick construction.

Study results present a powerful case for the significant contributions SIPs provide in making homes more efficient, comfortable and environmentally sustainable.

Climate Matters

The benefits of insulation vary with the climate and are generally more pronounced in colder regions where significant energy is used to heat a home. A common method used to distinguish climate zones is by measuring a region’s Heating Degree Days (HDD) and Cooling Degree Days (CDD) using a base temperature of 18°C. The annual HDD for a region is the sum of the daily differences between 18° and the average daily temperature (ADT) when it falls below that target.

SIPs Innovation Delivers

The results of this SIP Life Cycle Analysis demonstrate the average energy savings over 50 years were 9.9 times the energy invested when using SIPs compared to traditional stick framing for a home and would provide a reduction in global warming potential 13.2 times the CO2 equivalent of the emissions produced. This represents an energy payback period of 5.1 years and a recapture of greenhouse gas emissions in 3.8 years for using SIPs homes.

In Colder Areas like the lower South Island, the analysis demonstrates the average energy savings over 50 years were 18.6 times the energy invested when using SIPs compared to traditional stick framing for a home, and would provide a reduction in global warming potential 18.2 times the CO2 equivalent of the emissions produced. This represents a return on energy invested in 2.7 years and greenhouse gas emissions in 2.7 years.

SIPs Reduce EmmisionsThe basic design concept for SIPs is elegant in its simplicity, and offers several advantages for constructing walls and roofs. There is general agreement that SIPs provide better overall air tightness and practical thermal performance than conventionally framed walls.
- NAHB Research Center

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SIPs Design Manual

Detailed planning and designing information on Premier Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)