May marks Building Safety Month, a global initiative led by the International Code Council, emphasizing the critical role of modern building codes in creating safe and sustainable structures.  As we dive into this month-long campaign, let’s discuss a holistic approach to building safety that encompasses not only structural integrity but also resilience and passive survivability.  We will explore how Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) align with these principles and contribute to creating safe, sustainable and resilient structures.

Importance of Building Safety & Resilience

Building safety encompasses safeguarding occupants and ensuring resilience, especially in the face of adverse weather conditions and power disruptions.  At the core of providing building safety is a strong building envelope.  A prime example of the pressing need for resilient and safe construction is evident in the 2021 Texas power crisis, where the state faced three severe winter storms resulting in a major power outage for up to over a week in freezing temperatures.

Recent guidance from the Department of Energy (DOE) further emphasizes building safety by stating the importance of prioritizing building envelope improvements first before any mechanical or appliance upgrades are considered.  The building envelope serves as the first line of defense, and SIPs have been researched and tested for their superior insulation properties and airtight construction.  By prioritizing insulation and integrating SIPs into building projects, stakeholders can enhance energy performance, mitigate thermal bridging and fortify structures against the elements.

Resiliency & Passive Survivability with SIPs

SIPs offer a multifaceted approach to resilience, embodying durability and efficiency to ensure occupant safety and comfort, even in adverse conditions. Their robust construction and superior thermal performance make them ideal for withstanding extreme weather events and power outages. By effectively insulating and sealing buildings, SIPs not only minimize energy loss but also regulate internal temperatures, providing a stable and secure environment for inhabitants.

Whether confronted with freezing or scorching temperatures, structures constructed with SIPs demonstrate passive survivability by maintaining habitable conditions even in the absence of active heating or cooling systems. This ability to sustain comfort without external support is invaluable during emergencies or prolonged power disruptions.  Read more about how SIPs reinforce buildings against natural disasters and enhance their resilience, continue reading below.

Financial Incentives & Long-Term Savings with SIPs

Recognizing the pivotal role of SIPs in ensuring resilience and safety, let’s not forget the financial incentives and long-term savings they offer.  SIPs offer a gateway to various tax incentives and rebates, notablynotable through the 45L new builder tax credits for new home construction that give $2.5K per unit for homes built to Energy Star requirements and $5K per unit for homes built to Zero Energy Ready requirements.   

Beyond new construction, SIPs also offer a viable solution for the approximately 100 million under-insulated existing homes.  By leveraging the 25c tax credits for retrofitting efforts, homeowners can receive substantial financial support for enhancing insulation and energy efficiency. Homes constructed with SIPs not only qualify for these financial incentives but also provide long-term savings, health and comfort to occupants.  On average, SIP homes save 40 -60% on energy, depending on climate zone.

SIPs Build Better

SIPA’s Design Best Practice; High-Performance SIP Building Envelope resource serves as a comprehensive resource for incorporating SIPs into high-performance building projects.  From new construction to retrofitting efforts, SIPs offer versatility and efficiency, aligning seamlessly with DOE’s call to prioritize the building envelope first.  Visit our SIP Retrofit Insulation Panel (RIP) guide that explains the process for existing homes and buildings.  

By embracing SIPs, builders and homeowners can create structures that are not only code-compliant but also future-proofed against evolving environmental challenges.  As we think about what Building Safety Month represents, let us recognize SIPs as an integral component of resilient and sustainable building practices, driving us towards a safer, more secure built environment for generations to come.  We welcome you to explore our website for more information.  It’s filled with valuable resources to guide you on how SIPs can help you create safe, sustainable and resilient structures.  We provide insightful resources tailored to all project stages including Designing with SIPS & Building with SIPs. Design specifications, code reports, project showcases, builder education and AIA Continuing Education can all be found at

High-Performance Enclosures: Faster, Better and Cheaper