Since 1994, Bliss Building, Inc. has served northern Minnesota as a custom homebuilder and general contractor. But business started to change for owner and President Terry Bliss when he adopted structural insulated panel (SIP) construction in 2005. The company found its niche offering high performance, energy-efficient homes built exclusively with SIPs—and business couldn’t be better.
Despite a housing market that continues to slowly climb from the depths of the economic recession, Bliss is building at capacity due to the area’s increased demand for energy-efficient homes.
“The quality and energy efficiency of the homes I build separates me from everyone else,” said Bliss. “I’m swamped with work and my competitors are all wondering where their next job is going to be at. The SIPs are what is keeping me busy.”
In northern Minnesota, where winter temperatures routinely dip below -20 deg. F, building energy-efficient homes is not a new concept. Bliss Building competes against builders offering homes with advanced framing, exterior foam insulation, or spray polyurethane foam. For Bliss, the biggest advantages of SIPs are cost effectiveness and the ability to create a durable wall system that avoids moisture issues caused by condensation.
“With panels, you get the dew point in right spot,” he said. “They make it easy to get within the budget and get a home that is energy efficient.”
With over 30 SIP homes to his credit, Bliss chose to pursue the SIPA Registered Master Builder designation to help communicate his experience to potential customers.
“If SIPs are working for me, I need to promote what I’m doing; and that’s one way of doing it—to get trained and to be a Register Master Builder,” he said. “It really helps build confidence in the customer.”
Bliss sees the SIPA Registered Master Builder designation as another boost to his already successful business, along with his recent move to a dealer/distributor role for Extreme Panel Technologies and his 2013 SIPA Building Excellence Award in the Single Family Home Over 3,000 sq. ft. category.
“Since winning the SIPA Building Excellence Award, I have got two homes just from that award,” said Bliss.
The winning home was the 7,339 sq. ft. Keller Residence, built on lakeside property in Park Rapids. Judges were impressed that a large home achieved such low levels of air infiltration—testing at 0.47 ACH50. Six-inch SIP walls and a 12-inch SIP roof helped the home reach a HERS Index of 36. Bliss also incorporated a number of other energy-saving technologies, including a geothermal system for both heating and domestic hot water, a 95 percent AFUE furnace, and an energy recovery ventilator.
You can see additional pictures of the award winning home below. For more information on Bliss Building, visit their website.
Click on a photo to enlarge.