SIPs Construction Survives Massive Winds

When a “microburst” (massive, sudden winds during a thunderstorm) hit Evanston, Illinois, trees crashed down, sidewalks buckled, and part of a hospital roof flew off. But the Thermocore home almost finished with installation of R-40, 6 1/2” structural insulated wall panels and R-50, 8 1/4” structural insulated roof panels suffered zero damage. As crews worked to clear the city’s streets, the builder lost no time completing this home. I think that’s a testament to the strength of Thermocore SIPs, great SIPs installation, and effective planning by the structural engineer. After the fire that destroyed this homeowner’s previous residence, they sure were happy that this home stood strong!

For photos of this SIPs home right after the storm, check out Thermocore’s Recent Projects.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Or maybe it’s unseasonably warm today. If there’s anything you can count on, it’s unpredictable weather. You can also count on super insulated Thermocore SIPs to maintain your ideal indoor temperature no matter how much ice, cold, or surprising weather Old Man Winter throws at you. With the holidays behind us, the next couple months typically bring some of the coldest weather. When it comes to fighting back against chilly temperatures and high utility bills, Thermocore’s structural insulated wall panel system provides a powerful weapon. If you’re entering into the building process, start with the environmentally friendly building envelope that brings savings as well as the fastest way to frame and insulate. The process is simple. Just email your plans for a free, no obligation quote on Thermocore SIPs. You’ve got nothing to lose and lots of warmth and savings to gain.

SIPs and the Island “Buildstyle”

Thermocore Panel Systems recently completed a fifth SIPs home on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Though not our highest concentration of SIPs homes, for an island it’s tops! As crews completed installation of Thermocore insulated wall and roof panels in less than a week, I was struck by the difference between building on mainland vs. an island. Consider that all the materials for this home had to be moved to the island by ferry. That makes efficiency extremely important. With Thermocore insulated roof and wall panels, the builder ferried the framing and insulation in one product—precut so there’s no waste. How much less waste might be generated if you knew you’d have to ferry it away? Maybe the laid-back island lifestyle isn’t the only thing worthy of dreams. Couldn’t the efficient island “buildstyle” benefit the environment and all homeowners’ wallets?

Why 30 Is Better than 70

Every homeowner has a list of priorities for a new home. If you’re reading this, energy efficiency probably made your list. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index gives you a way to quantify how much energy—and money—you’ll save.

A new graphic from the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the nonprofit organization that created the HERS Index, shows the range of possibilities. A home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code receives a HERS rating of 100. According to RESNET, homes that score 70 on the HERS Index are 30 percent more energy-efficient than that reference home. Sounds pretty good, right? But why stop there? The lower the HERS score, the more energy and money saved—and homes built with Thermocore structural insulated panels score in the low 30s on the HERS Index!

Sixteen percent of greenhouse gases generated in the U.S. come from residential homes. When you build with Thermocore SIPs, your energy-efficient home helps save the world and fill your wallet.

A Cut Above

What makes Thermocore structural insulated wall and roof panels “a cut above”?  Figuratively, we could give you many reasons. But quite literally, it’s the CNC cutting process used in the manufacturing of our SIPs. CNC stands for “Computer Numeric Controlled,” and it’s simply the most accurate way to cut materials. Thermocore began utilizing CNC cutting 14 years ago. Prior to that we hand-measured and hand-cut panels, as many SIPs manufacturers still do. But our CNC machine is always accurate to 1/32nd of an inch across an entire 24-foot insulated panel. We even double-check accuracy by reviewing CNC files. For each project, we customize the CNC settings to meet the specifications of your building plans. That precision makes Thermocore SIPs installation faster, easier, and less expensive, with no extra time or labor trying to get the pieces to fit right at the jobsite.

Our CNC machine doesn’t just cut the outline of structural insulated panels. Thermocore also incorporates electrical boxes and conduits standard with every insulated panel system, and our CNC machine precisely cuts the location of each electrical box and draws with a marking pen all the conduit runs. Your electrician will have an easier job and the envelope of your home will remain true to your exact requirements.

Not all structural insulated panel companies utilize CNC cutting, so it pays to ask. For better home construction, hand-cut your stakes; CNC cut your SIPs.

That’s a Bright Idea

At Thermocore Panel Systems, we’re switching our plant lighting to LED state-of-the-art lighting that will use 75-80% less electricity than the metal halide fixtures we’re replacing. Our new LED fixtures also produce better light that won’t fade over time as metal halide does. Those factors made it an easy choice for us. Often when you look at the bigger picture—including return on investment and environmental impact—the choice to switch to modern, energy-efficient products (be it SIPs or lighting) becomes clearer…or, in our case, brighter.

“Framesulate”

“Framesulate”- that is what you get when you use Thermocore Panel Systems to frame and insulate your exterior walls and roof all in one quick step. Simply put, Thermocore Structural Insulated panels frame and insulate in one step rather than the two step process of conventional building methods. One quick step vs. two. Why is one step better than the old two step method? A couple of reasons. First and perhaps most obvious is time is money in the building process. Literally. The majority of construction projects are financed through a construction loan. You are paying interest on this loan during your building process and the faster you can get a certificate of occupancy, the faster your construction loan becomes a traditional mortgage. Thermocore panels not only is the fastest method to frame exterior walls and roofs but it also turns your framer into your insulator eliminating your insulation sub and all of the time associated with scheduling and completing the work. The fact is traditional framing/insulating methods are the slowest and “oldest” method to use in new construction. Old and slow equals a modern built house? Old and slow equals wasted time and wasted money. Move your next construction project to the fast lane by choosing Thermocore Panel Systems. Save the time and put the money in your pocket.

Renewed Tax Credit

Congress has passed 45L tax credit which allows for $2,000.00 tax credit for building with Thermocore Panels.  This is an extension of the Energy Efficient Home credit.  Here is the gist of it…..

45L Tax Credit

Recent tax legislation extended the Energy Efficient Home Credit which offers a 45L Tax Credit of $2,000 per dwelling unit to developers of energy efficient apartment buildings and homes.

Eligible 45L Tax Credit Apartment Buildings & Condos:
A dwelling unit should provide a level of heating and cooling energy consumption that is significantly less than certain national energy standards, dependent on when the unit is sold or leased. Based on current construction trends, many developments already exceed these standards. Given that current energy codes have evolved tremendously over the past five years, many developers are already building to specifications that would meet the criteria for this credit. All apartment buildings and residential condominium developments completed within the last 4 years are worth assessing for potential 45L tax credits. Eligible construction also includes substantial reconstruction and rehabilitation. Developers can still claim the 45L tax credit retroactively if they did not claim them on previous tax returns.

Who can benefit?

Apartment, Condominium, and Single-Family Residence Developers.
The Energy Efficient Home Credit offers a tax credit of $2,000 per dwelling unit to developers of energy efficient buildings completed after August 8, 2005. The following types of projects should be considered:

 Affordable housing (LIHTC)  Rehabilitation
 Apartment buildings  Residential condominiums
 Assisted living housing  Student housing
 Production home developments  Substantial reconstruction

Sample Benefits:

50 qualified units = $100,000 in 45L tax credits
100 qualified units = $200,000 in 45L tax credits
1000 qualified units = $2,000,000 in 45L tax credits

Continuous SIPs Improvement

Continuous improvement requires many steps, always moving forward. Over the 16 years that Thermocore Panel Systems has manufactured structural insulated panels, we covered a lot of ground with our steps. Before I tell you about our latest development, let me share a recap of what’s made Thermocore the SIPs innovation leader.

Years ago, we were the first company to introduce pre-cut/pre-bucked structural insulated panels that speed construction. Thermocore also was the first to integrate electrical boxes and conduit in SIPs based on your custom building plan, making the electrician’s job faster and easier. In 2010, Thermocore patented four-inch R-24 insulated wall panels, the highest R-value to work seamlessly with standard 4 9/16-inch window jambs. Thermocore then pushed the insulation envelope further in introducing 8 1/4-inch R-50 insulated roof panels that maximize energy efficiency without adding bulk to roof structures.

But there’s always more ground to cover with SIPs improvements. Thermocore recently incorporated second-generation polyurethane foam from BASF that’s even more environmentally friendly. This innovative insulating foam allows for flatter, more stable wall and roof panels that make construction easier, quicker, and sturdier. Sure, the new foam is a little more expensive in our custom manufacturing process—but you won’t see any price increases. It’s our investment in customer satisfaction, the environment, and continuous SIPs improvement.

We’ll continue working hard to be good stewards of the environment while bringing the best innovations to the building community.

How SIPs and Energy-Efficient Financing Upgrade Your Home

Turns out SIPs not only save money in energy costs, they also help you afford a nicer home! According to an article about financing energy-efficient homes on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM) can help you qualify for a more expensive home.

How does it work? To verify energy savings, EEM lenders consider the HERS rating from a home energy audit. The smaller the number on your HERS report the better—and homes built with Thermocore structural insulated panels consistently score lower on the HERS index. For instance, Bart Rynish of Barton Designs achieved a HERS rating of 35 with Thermocore SIPs, saving the homeowner hundreds of dollars per year on heating bills.

Lenders figure the less you spend on utility bills, the more you can afford for mortgage payments when you build, remodel, or refinance. Not only will you enjoy the comfortable temperatures, quiet, and sturdiness of your Thermocore SIPs home, you’ll relax in upgraded livings spaces thanks to energy-efficient financing.