Of the seventeen recipients of the 2012 EcoHome Design Awards, two of the top-tier Grand Award winners used structural insulated panel (SIP) construction as a means of reducing energy use and improving environmental sustainability. Hosted by EcoHome magazine, the awards recognize a wide range of sustainable designs, including multifamily, affordable housing, custom homes, and remodeling.
Unity College’s TerraHaus student dormitory in Unity, Maine is the first Passive House certified student housing facility in the U.S. Following the Passive House philosophy, the TerraHaus relies on a super-insulated building envelope and passive solar heating to dramatically reduce heating loads. Builder G•O Logic used SIPs with Neopor EPS cores for the walls and roof of the home, supplemented with additional cellulose insulation to meet the rigorous Passive House requirements. The university was able to heat the building for approximately $300 annually, or $30 per student—a significant improvement over the $500 per student annual heating costs in the two buildings it replaced.
Claiming the Grand Award in the 2,000 – 4,000 sq. ft. custom home category, the LEED Gold Phantom Canyon Ranch seeks to minimize its environmental footprint through a holistic sustainable design. MQ Architecture & Design established a passive solar strategy that allows overhangs to provide shade during the summer months and sunlight to heat the home’s stained concrete floors during the winter months. SIP wall and roof panels were used to enclose the home’s timber frame and limit heat loss through the building envelope.
An in-floor radiant heating system is powered by rooftop solar thermal collectors that also provide most of the home’s hot water needs.
Stormwater is controlled onsite through the use of concrete pavers, gravel parking areas, and na tive landscaping that controls runoff. MQ Architecture & Design also specified many locally sourced and reclaimed building materials.
See all the EcoHome Design Award winners at the EcoHome website.