Jenesys Inc. has created a series of Flat Pack PreFab homes that are energy efficient, affordable and great looking. From their British Columbia studio they design first rate houses that are pre-fabricated by a local Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) factory. SIPs are pre-fabricated exterior wall and roof panels made up of a thick slab of foam insulation sandwiched between two layers of plywood or oriented strand board. The resulting SIP panel is very insulative and much stronger than "stick" or traditional stud construction.
Compared with Modular PreFab, Flat Pack PreFabs are much less finished. All interior finishes, stairs, plumbing and mechanicals need to be contracted for separately. What you get with the Jenesys system is a home design that has had many of the bugs worked out and the architectural design costs spread over many installations.
I particularly appreciate Jenesys showing some very nice smaller house designs that reduce the amount of raw materials used in construction and are more energy efficient.R-Values. Recent tests by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) showed a SIP structure had 90% less air leakage than an identical structure built with 2x6" walls using fiberglass insulation. And, according to Jeff Christian, ORNL director of the laboratory's Building Technologies Center, an INSULSPAN 4" SIP wall delivered a whole wall R-Value of 13.83, compared to R-9.68 for 2x4" framed walls with fiberglass insulation, and R-11 for a typically constructed 2x6" wall with fiberglass insulation.
Since air leakage accounts for 30 to 40% of the energy loss in the average home, air sealing measures and insulation should be considered in tandem as a single solution for keeping conditioned air in your home. With SIPs, you get dramatically less air leakage, better insulation and more comfort.
I have found that using SIPs allows you to save on mechanical equipment, because you need a smaller furnace and air conditioner/heat pump. You also save time. When coordinated properly, you can install the building foundation while the factory cuts the unique panels for your project. When the panels arrive they can be tilted up and made weather tight much faster than with â€œstickâ€ construction.
Thanks to Jenesys Assistant Manager Jenesysck Brummer for answering questions about their SIP design process + photos.
written by dan malott, April 13, 2007
written by Jamie Pero, April 14, 2007
written by Used Pole Trailers, March 24, 2010
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