March 23, 2011—The Structural Insulated Panel Association recognized five of the most energy-efficient and unique buildings constructed with structural insulated panels (SIPs) during its Building Excellence Awards ceremony at the SIPA Annual Meeting & Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. Now in its ninth year, the SIPA Building Excellence Awards highlight innovative projects using SIPs as the basis for energy-efficient, green buildings.
All submissions used SIPs for at least 50 percent of the building envelope. Entries were evaluated on energy efficiency, design and structural engineering innovation, and other SIPs-related factors that contributed to the overall success of the project.
The stunning O’Meara Residence took top honors as the Overall Competition Winner and winner of the Single Family Homes over 3,000 sq. ft. category. Designed by Jean Yves-Lacroix of Lacroix Design, the 3,700 sq. ft. custom home uses a passive solar design and super-insulated SIP building envelope to meet the rigorous Passive House standard. Twelve-inch-thick SIP walls and roof from Premier SIPs keep heating loads low, even in cold Park City, Utah. Heating is provided by passive solar gain and an innovative solar thermal system with two 5,000-gallon storage tanks, in-floor radiant heating, and solar collectors on the roof and behind the metal siding. The addition of photovoltaics allows the home to have net zero energy use over the course of a year.
Through the use of other sustainable materials and practices, the home also qualified as LEED Platinum and met the Emerald Level of the National Green Building Standard.
Premier SIPs also received the Runner Up award in the category for the Northwest Net Zero Residence. Judges awarded builder Scott Homes an Honorable Mention for the Far Reach House.
Architect Sarah Nettleton’s Spear House was selected as the Overall Competition Runner Up and winner of the Single Family Homes under 3,000 sq. ft. category. Nettleton described this LEED Gold custom home as “a modern take on the self-sufficient farmhouse,” with a host of sustainable features, including rainwater collection, solar thermal heating, and locally sourced materials. The home uses 8-inch SIP walls and a 12-inch SIP roof provided by Extreme Panel Technologies. A passive solar design and remarkably air tight building envelope (0.74 ACH50) helped the home reach a HERS Index of 40, making it 60 percent more energy efficient than a code-built home.
In the Multifamily category, SIP manufacturer Extreme Panel Technologies was selected as the category winner for the Aeon Alliance Expansion, a four-story, 63,000 sq. ft. sober living community for the formerly homeless in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Designers Cermak Rhoades Architects specified 6-inch SIP walls to help meet the goal of LEED certification. In addition to the energy-efficient and durable SIP walls, the building uses an advanced ductless heat pump system for further heating and cooling savings.
New York-based R-Control SIP manufacturer Thermal Foams received the Agricultural category award for the Singer Farms Naturals barn in Appleton, New York. Originally an 1840’s barn, the reconstruction involved placing 10-inch SIPs on the roof and building a hybrid wall system using SIPs and straw bale construction. Heating is provided by a radiant heating system powered by solar collectors and an efficient wood burning furnace. The barn also relies on a 10kW photovoltaic array for renewable energy.
In the Commercial/Industrial/Institutional category, Premier SIPs took home the award for the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center in Coleharbor, North Dakota. The 11,000 sq. ft. LEED Gold building was constructed by the U.S. Department of the Interior to serve visitors to the 14,000 acre federally-administered wildlife refuge. Architecture firm Widseth Smith Nolting specified 6-inch SIP walls and a 12-inch SIP roof to help meet the Department of the Interior’s requirement for LEED certification. Renewable energy is provided by onsite photovoltaics and wind generation.
Premier SIPs also received Honorable Mention awards for the Los Banos Community Center and the Amavi Winery.
Builder Ted Clifton of CVH, Inc. won the Renovation category award for his deep energy-efficient retrofit of the Johnson Residence in Oak Harbor, Washington. Clifton applied Retrofit Insulated Panels over the existing walls to add insulation and improve airtightness. The remodel also included a 600 sq. ft. addition built with SIPs. By adding new windows, floor and attic insulation, as well as adding a ductless mini-split heat pump, Clifton was able to reduce the energy used for heating and cooling by 83 percent. What was once a typical 1970’s rambler is now 26 percent more efficient than a home built to today’s building codes.