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

Photo above: 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.

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.


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. 

SIP Show Building Grand Island NE

Commercial Over 10,000 sq. ft.

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.

Energy Efficiency SIP Office Building Louisville CO

Commercial under 10,000 sq. ft.

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.

Energywise SIP Pediatric Denistry Office College Station TX


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.

SIP Multifamily Las Vegas NV

Honorable Mention Multifamily

Honorable mentions were awarded to Energy Panel Structures – Multifamily

There duplex homes were part of a five-duplex, seven-single and one-triplex housing project located in a distressed housing area in Des Moines, IA. The homes are located in various locations in the Martin Luther King Parkway residential area, where vacant lots existed, or condemned structures were demolished, to make way for new units. This project provides affordable housing for low income families through a Rent-to-Own program for qualifying families only.

Energy Star SIP House Des Moines IA


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. 

Retrofit SIP House Park Rapids MN

Single Family Homes Over 3,000 sq. ft.

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 60s.

High Performance SIP Family Home Gig Harbor WA

Honorable Mention Single Family Homes Over 3,000 sq. ft.

Submitted by Hall & Wright Builders

The owner is very savvy in terms of advanced building construction methods(he owns a glass manufacturing company, his brother is an Architect, his son is an architect and another son is a project manager for a large nationwide home builder.) He wanted SIPs and I gave him a tour of my personal house which is built with SIPs and we toured a few houses under construction and he was sold. Since we are the only Builders in our area that has extensive experience with SIPs he decided to go forward with us.

SIP w all thickness and core material: 6.5" EPS wall
SIP roof thickness and core material: 8.25" curved EPS roof

ENERGY STAR SIP Vacation House Oak Island NC

Single Family Homes Under 3,000 sq. ft.

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.

Passive Solar SIP Home Grand Haven MI

Honorable Mention Single Family Homes Under 3,000 sq. ft.

Submitted by Premier Building Systems


  • 6-inch SIP wall with additional 2x4 interior wall with additional insulation, 12-inch SIP roof
  • ENERGY STAR and Earth Advantage certifications
  • HERS Index 22, with photovoltaics HERS Index is -22
  • Passive solar design and solar thermal hot water heating
  • All LED lighting
  • Greywater recovery system for landscape irrigation

Hagen-Niehaus Net Zero SIP House Ashland OR

Affordable Housing

Submitted by Extreme Panel Technologies

Affordable housing for those who fit the criteria for Habitat for Humanity. Energy efficiency is key. SIPs panels are user friendly for volunteer labor ans also helps in speed of construction. 

Solar thermal systems to supplement hot water heating -- 60-70% of solar of water.
60% of electricity by solar photovoltaics
Energy Star appliances
90% of lighting is LED
Passive solar was utilized as much as possible with orientation of building, overhangs, etc.

Solar Panels produce 5.5 to 6.5 KW.

High Performance Affordable SIP House River Falls WI