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Sustainability and energy efficiency distinguish winners of 2014 SIPA Building Excellence Awards

Eight homes and commercial buildings built with structural insulated panels (SIPs) were recognized for their innovation and environmental sustainability during the 2014 Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) Building Excellence Awards ceremony, April 29 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The annual competition selects the top SIP projects in eight categories, covering single family homes, commercial buildings, agricultural buildings, multifamily buildings, affordable housing, and renovations.

Judges Matt Belcher of Verdatek Solutions, Chris Fennell of Building Insight, and independent architectural designer Mehrdad Dabbagh, evaluated the projects on their quantitative energy efficiency, design innovation, creative use of SIP construction, and environmental sustainability.

From the category winners, an overall competition winner and runner up were selected.  See additional photos and details on the winning projects here.

The Pearl Izumi USA Corporate Headquarters in Louisville, Colorado was selected as the Overall Competition Winner and winner in the Commercial/Industrial/Institutional over 10,000 sq. ft. category.  Submitted by Premier SIPs, the 56,000 sq. ft. building achieved dramatic energy savings by using 10-inch-thick SIP wall panels and 10-inch-thick SIP roof panels for an airtight building envelope.  SIP construction reduced framing time and allowed general contractor Haselden Construction to get the building dried-in ahead of schedule.  Architecture firms Arch 11, ZGF Architects, and Buro Happold teamed up to design the project.

Overall Competition Runner Up honors went to Brazos Valley Pediatric Dentistry, winner of the Commercial/Industrial/Institutional under 10,000 sq. ft. category.  The 5,500 sq. ft. building in College Station, Texas features 6-inch-thick SIP walls and a 10-inch-thick SIP roof provided by Enercept.  At the entrance of the building is a large, elliptical tower that marries structural steel with SIPs for passive solar lighting and a distinguishing design feature.  The project was designed by W.C. Scarmardo and built by Marek Brothers Construction.

Extreme Panel Technologies claimed the Affordable Housing category for their role in a 2,100 sq. ft. LEED Platinum home built by St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity in River Falls, Wisconsin.  This extremely energy-efficient home uses 12-inch-thick SIP walls, as well as solar thermal and photovoltaic systems to reach an impressive HERS Index of 17.  SIPs were chosen not only for their energy efficiency, but as a user friendly product for the volunteer labor force that constructed the home.

In the Agricultural category, the award went to Energy Panel Structures for their show building at the Husker Harvest Days farm show in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Designed to illustrate the diversity of options when constructing an energy-efficient building, the project boasts different architectural finishes and an exposed interior ridge beam to demonstrate the versatility of the SIP building system.

Premier SIPs received the Multifamily category award for the Frank Hawkins Mixed Income Phase 1 project in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Winston Henderson Architects designed the three-story, 41,150 sq. ft. building with 6-inch-thick SIP walls to cut cooling cost for the building owner, who covers utilities for the mixed-income development.  In addition to saving energy, SIPs reduced the cost of framing labor and construction waste disposal.

Retrofit insulated panels (RIPs) were used alongside SIPs on the Thompson Addition and Retrofit located in Park Rapids, Minnesota, winner of the Renovation category.  Bliss Building removed the original siding on the 1,092 sq. ft. home and installed 4-inch-thick retrofit insulated panels from Extreme Panel Technologies over the existing sheathing, improving whole-house airtightness and energy efficiency.  A bump-out addition was then constructed using 6-inch-thick SIPs.  

The Wachtler Residence in Gig Harbor, Washington was named the winner of the Single Family Home over 3,000 sq. ft. category.  Builder Wachtler Marshall installed 6-inch-thick SIP walls and a 10-inch-thick SIP roof from Premier SIPs on the 3,800 sq. ft. home.  The airtightness of the building envelope (tested at 1.36 ACH50) was the enabling technology for the ductless heat pump and other energy-efficient equipment to reach a HERS Index in the low 50s.   

In the Single Family Home under 3,000 sq. ft. category, the award went to the Ellmann Residence, submitted by PorterSIPs.  Built by CL Construction, the 2,800 sq. ft. home features an 8-inch-thick SIP roof with 4-foot cantilevered overhangs.  Allegretti Architects crafted a passive solar design to maximize daylighting, along with hydronic radiant heating, LED lighting, and ENERGY STAR appliances to further boost the home’s energy savings.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Energy Panel Structures – Multifamily; Hall & Wright Builders – Single Family Home over 3,000 sq. ft.; and Structures NW – Single Family Home under 3,000 sq. ft.

See the complete details and photos of the 2014 SIPA Building Excellence Awards winning projects.


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