|SIP Briefs September/October 2003
Team, Big Sky Add Hundegger PBA Technology
Think of the difference between making copies with carbon paper and making them with a high-tech, high-speed copier. For two leading manufacturers of R-Control Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), that is similar to the change they are experiencing.
Team Industries (Grand Rapids, MI) and Big Sky Insulations (Belgrade, MT) have acquired Hundegger PBA machines for each facility. A first-of-its-kind for the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) industry in the United States, the machines receive dimensional data directly from a computer and then create high-quality SIPs that are precise and low-cost.
Team Industries and Big Sky Insulations are founding members of the R-Control Building Systems, a group of 13 companies who manufacture SIPs for the construction industry. Using EPS, an insulation foam, the SIPs provide strength, stability and consistency that stick frame wood panels cannot.
The German-manufactured Hundegger PBA is the first machine in the United States that converts drawings into computer-readable files and sends them directly to the machine, which consequently cuts the SIP panel according to the exact measurements. Doorways, windows and electrical outlets are automatically cut. This latest version includes additional safety features and a second rail to allow more accurate cutting.
âWeâve eliminated the potential for human error and opened the way for sharing information,â? says Tim Feagan, Team Industries president.
The two companies will be splitting the jobs based on the geography of the customers. Both companies primarily service the commercial construction industry, as well as their growing residential market. The new machine will cut SIPs for customers such as franchise chains, apartment buildings and other free- standing facilities.
âCustomers with several locations, like franchises, will save time and money,â? says Brad Huempfner, Big Sky Insulations president. âWe can share the data for new construction across the country and the speed of the machine contributes to time saved.â?
Both Team IBS are AFM Corporation primary manufacturing and marketing licensed facilities, which produce the R-Control Building System. The location of IBS, the combination of operation resources, machinery and marketing focus allows Team and IBS to coordinate efforts on the eastern half of the U.S. with its product branding, says Feagan.
Another Suitor Pursues Insul-Kor
Now another company is seeking to acquire Insul-Kor, says Morrie Young, president and owner. âAfter the last go round, I know not to count on anything till I have the signed paperwork,â? says Young. Young is one of the original SIP pioneers, staring his business more than 18 years ago. âBut now Iâd like to retire. Iâm old enough,â? says Young.
SIPs Used In Zero-Energy Homes
Research at the U.S. Governmentâs Oak Ridge National Laboratory or ORNL has shown that in terms of real performance a SIP wall rated at R-15, with a 3-1/2 inch EPS core, actually out-performs a fiberglass insulated wall six inches thick and rated on paper at R-19. âThe comparison shows that a SIP wall system is thermally very well designed,â? states Jeff Christian, Director of the Buildings Technology Center at ORNL. âThe superior design of SIPs demonstrated under identical laboratory conditions at the ORNL shows that SIPs can be 95% more airtight than wood-frame construction.â? Real time comparison of energy performance shows that the SIP zero energy house uses 1/10 the heating energy than a similar sized wood-framed house across the street.
These new Habitat homes, as part of the Department of Energyâs (DOE) Building America and Zero Energy Building programs, are the first structures ever to combine a number of new energy-efficient design concepts and are the first attempts to attain zero energy on affordable houses in the United States. In fact, the homes could be used by the DOE as a concept model for constructing a similar Zero Energy Building Habitat House in each state of the country. Much like the work on the âFreedom Car â? (hydrogen fueled) under the transportation sector, building zero energy buildings (ZEB) is the âgrand challengeâ? for the buildings sector.
The cost of heating the first zero energy Habitat home, built in the fall of 2002, was 50 cents a day during a colder than normal winter in East Tennessee. Forty sensors were installed in the home to monitor the thermal performance. The near real time data gathered from these sensors can be found athttp://www.logger.fsec.ucf.edu/cgi-bin/wg40.exe?user=baihppsp.
The second and third homes are being designed and assembled in July 2003 by volunteers through a partnership between the Department of Energy Building America Program, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Habitat for Humanity, SIPA and a number of other building industry sponsors to include Andersen Windows, NOVA Chemicals, Rohm and Haas, Ashland Specialty Chemical, Design Basics, FischerSIPs, Inc., Insulspan, Inc., Weyerhaeuser, Falcon Foam, Archbold Container Corp., the Metal Roofing Alliance and IBACOS, a Building America team.
The first Habitat home was built using Pacemaker Plastics four-inch walls with 1lb. density expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam cores. Insulspan, Inc., using 6-inch walls with 1lb. density EPS foam, will manufacture the second house. FischerSIPs, Inc. will manufacture the third home with 2lb. density EPS foam provided by Falcon Foam. The resin to make the foam for both houses will be donated by NOVA Chemicals, and Weyerhaeuser will be providing all of the OSB.
ORNL will install instruments and monitor each home and provide a report of the energy performance. Research results incorporated by ORNL scientists in the Zero Energy homes include a 2kW solar PV system on the roof. TVA is offering the homeowners through the Lenoir City Utilities Board $0.15/kWh for all the AC solar power generated. The buy back offer is 2.4 times the retail rate for electricity. As a result, new homeowners may soon experience the unusual pleasure of getting a check in the mail for power generated by the system.
Data gathered from these houses w