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Among a number of specialty products increasingly being used in home construction are structural insulated panels–SIPs. Used in wall construction, SIPs are fabricated from heavy, exterior-grade plywood laminated together with a foamy substance called extruded polystyrene.From outside, houses using SIPs look no different than their traditional “stick construction” counterparts. But this new technology provides:

  • Better thermal insulation than most fiberglass batting.
  • An airtight seal with fewer seams than house wrap.
  • A structure twice as sturdy as conventional 2-by-4 lumber frame construction.
  • Resistance to fire and insects.
  • Better insulation from noise pollution than traditional construction.

In addition, SIPs are made of recycled wood, so they are environmentally friendly. If you’re wondering whether they really provide better insulation, consider that SIPs are the main building material at the South Pole, according to the Structural Insulated Panel Association. The industry claims 60,000 structures are built using SIPs annually. Perhaps this new technology will find a place in a home addition you may be planning.