Energy - Better buildings
Steel-faced structural insulated panels being developed with partners at Oak Ridge National Laboratory offer superior energy efficiency, durability and resistance to fire, wind and termites. While existing structural insulated panels, called SIPs, consist of a core of foam insulation sheathed in oriented strand board, the new-generation panels are sheathed in thin steel, have a core of closed-cell polyurethane foam and incorporate phase-change material inserts that provide thermal mass to reduce peak cooling and heating loads. Steel-faced panels also contain internal radiant barriers that reduce heat transfer and boast R-values ? insulating ability ? of up to R-20 compared to R-9 to R-13 for traditional framing. In addition, the new panels feature proprietary self-sealing seams that make the wall system virtually air- and moisture-tight and may withstand winds of up to 150 miles per hour. The panels are being developed through a partnership with SustainBuild of Houston. The research is supported in part by the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Buildings Technology Program.
November 14, 2005