Insulspan, PFB Team Up
In a move toward larger economies of scale that could have far-ranging implications for the structural insulated panel (SIP) industry, Insulspan (Blissfield, MI), one of the leading suppliers of SIPs in the United States, has agreed to team up with the Canadian-based PFB Corporation (Alberta).
PFB, through its subsidiary Plasti-Fab Ltd., manufactures expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation products, including SIPs for the building materials industry. PFB has also entered into a letter of intent to acquire another Canadian-based SIP supplier, EnerGreen (British Columbia, Canada), strategically located to serve Western North American markets. This transaction will position PFB Corporation as the leading supplier of SIPs in North America, marketing and selling SIPs under the Insulspanª brand.

“This is a very significant development in the SIPs industry,” says Frank Baker, Insulspan president. “Through this transaction, we will be able to provide our customers with consistent quality products and a high level of customer service across North America. The business combination provides manufacturing economies of scale, better distribution channels for all our products and, for our customers, easy access to building products that provide high quality, energy efficient structures, faster construction times and reduced labor costs. In addition, we will have a strong financial position to support our growth.”

Insulspan’s divisions include MidWest Panel Systems and Great Lakes Insulspan. Additionally, Insulspan sells SIPs through 22 builder-dealers.

PFB Corporation is a vertically integrated manufacturer of a variety of building systems. PFB’s EPS product solutions, marketed under the Plasti-Fab master brand, are used in a wide range of applications. Plasti-Fab has become the primary supplier of EPS foam core material used in manufacturing of Insulspan SIPs.Ê Additionally, Plasti-Fab will offer its Advantage ICF (Insulating Concrete Form) product throughout the existing Insulspan and EnerGreen distribution channels as a compatible building foundation system.

Enercept Earning Accolades
How do you earn positive word of mouth among buyers? Help customers realize their dream home with a superior building system and solid customer service. That’s the lesson from recent home buyers Steve and Peggy Stout, who built an Enercept SIP home in Pierre, SD.

“A friend of ours recently built with Enercept and convinced us to tour the facility and look into what the system was all about,” Peggy says. “After seeing the insulation already built into the panels and the sound barrier qualities, Steve and I decided to build our home with Enercept.”

The solid customer service came in the form of great design and timely completion on budget. “We were very pleased working with the Enercept drafter, who not only made us feel very comfortable but also did a beautiful job in working with us in putting our home together,” Peggy says.

It’s not just the construction that many find pleasing–it’s the performance of the home over the long term, says Doug Bierschbach, Enercept president (Watertown, SD). “Our customers save 40% to 60% on their heating and cooling costs each month. The system is also two-and-a-half times stronger than classic stick frame building, and once constructed creates a much cleaner and quieter home.”

Not surprisingly, the system offers builders advantages. Enercept specializes in wall, basement and roof panels. It also offers foundations and floor systems that go together quickly and easily on the job site to cut labor costs. Material waste at the job site is nearly nonexistent. The company manufactures their panels with wiring chases already built into the system and with the window, door and skylight openings precut, to cut labor costs still more.

“Reduced framing time is very budget and customer friendly as well,” Bierschbach says. “Builders appreciate the fact that the panels allow them to more quickly enclose structures, thus adding more predictability to the outside shell framing or foundation process.”

More ORNL Test Results
Positive test results in the medical field are usually a cause for alarm. Thankfully, in the testing of SIP homes, it’s cause for celebration.

Total annual heating and cooling costs for four SIP research homes has been averaging 45 cents each per day, according to the latest results from the research houses being monitored by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The total heating cost for one year was $92. The total cooling cost was $74.

Jeff Christian, Director of the Buildings Technology Center at ORNL, reports that SIPs have tested six to eight times more airtight than conventional construction.

Research home sponsors include Pacemaker Building Systems, Insulspan, FischerSIPs, Winter Panel Corporation, Andersen Windows, Metal Roofing Alliance, Rohm & Haas Company, Ashland Specialty Chemical, Design Basics, Weyerhaeuser, Falcon Foam, Archbold Container Corp. and NOVA Chemicals.

SIPA members recently elected a new Board of Directors at its annual meeting held in Boston.
Damian Pataluna of FischerSIPs was re-elected to a position on the Board and was also elected to serve as SIPA’s President for another term. Frank Baker of Insulspan is the new First Vice President; Terry Dieken of Extreme Panel Technologies is the new Second Vice President; and Frank Wopperer of Thermal Foams is the new Secretary/Treasurer. Dave Gauthier of Winter Panel Corporation, rounds out the Executive Committee as the Immediate Past President.

SIPA’s current directors include Tim Feagan from R-Control/Team Industries; Donald Ferrier of Ferrier Builders; Paul Foresman of Design Basics; Frank Kiesecker of R-Control/Advance Foam Products; Jim Leroy of PanelPros; Michael Readwin of Greensmart Homes; Ron Reindl of PFS Corporation; Emil Taraba of Thermapan Industries; and Tom Williamson, APA-The Engineered Wood Association.

The newly elected members of the Board are: Jack Armstrong of the BASF Corporation; John Gilmore, Ph.D. of Rohm & Haas; Ken Hawkins of Premier Building Systems; Tom Stewart of Ashland Chemical; and John VavRosky of the Potlatch Corporation.