The most common types of structural
insulated panels (SIPs) are:
- Expanded polystyrene insulated panels:
The vast majority of SIPs are being manufactured using expanded polystyrene
(EPS) foam board insulation, a closed-cell type of insulation. This type of
insulation, when used in structural insulated panels, offers an R-value
(measurement of insulation) of R-4 to R-5 per inch of thickness. Total R-value
for these panels can be as high as 13.8.
- Polyurethane or polyisocyanurate
insulated panels: Polyurethane and polyisocyanurate SIPs have a nominal R-value
of around R-6 to R-7 per inch of thickness. This type of SIP panel is more
expensive than EPS panels, but it is more resistant to water and fire and has a
higher R-value. These types of panels, when used with metal surface skins, are
sometimes used instead of prefabricated tilt-up walls for construction, thanks
to their strength and ease of installation.
- Compressed straw-core insulated panels:
Compressed straw-core insulated panels are "greener" than other types
of SIPs because they are manufactured using renewable and recycled waste
agricultural straw. These types of panels, although more environmentally
friendly, do not produce the high R-values of other types of SIPs.