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Message from the SIPA President: DOE Challenge Home

The closing of last month’s SIPA Annual Meeting & Conference had most of us sharing an optimistic view of things to come. Industry regulars and new participants reported an upbeat feel and a sense that it’s time to step out on the ledge and push this industry forward.

During my opening presentation, I gave an update on the status of the industry and how we (The Association) have been spending our precious resources. This outline covered the various programs and incentives designed to propel our sales numbers and market penetration ever higher.

One program that I spoke of briefly was the latest initiative from the Department of Energy (DOE). Sam Rashkin, the DOE’s Chief Architect, has created a beefed-up version of Energy Star for Homes called the DOE Challenge Home. The new RESNET-supported program embraces and promotes what all energy efficiency and building science advocates have been preaching for years: get the basics right first and define a renewable energy strategy later. It is no surprise that the criteria place a substantial emphasis on increased insulation levels, along with a defined airtightness performance standard.

DOE Challenge Home Labe

The DOE Challenge Home label indicates the program’s rigorous standards for energy efficiency, indoor air quality, moisture management, and durability. 


I recommend that you take a closer look at this program that prioritizes all the features and benefits of SIPs. The DOE Challenge Home will get you working with a HERS rater and help you define levels of efficiency that our energy codes will not specify for another decade.

In an attempt to better educate association members on this program, SIPA is working to become a DOE Challenge Home Training Partner. We will be distributing an outline of our plan to introduce, educate, and support SIP builders (both members and non-members). I believe that the SIP industry will gain invaluable exposure to the entire construction industry and home buying public when they demonstrate that the dominant characteristic of a DOE Challenge Home can be a SIP envelope.

During this slow economic recovery, our industry needs to choose very carefully how best to allocate our resources. Take a moment to consider the value proposition associated with educating the building community on a holistic approach to building the home of tomorrow, today; and doing it with SIPs.


Al Cobb
PanelWrights, LLC
SIPA President

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