For those of us who think "green," there are energy-efficient products for constructing walls and roofs that reduce valuable wood usage and provide overall reductions in heating and cooling costs. For a while now, builders have found that roofs of recycled steel or aluminum provide energy efficiency and durability. And engineered lumber with low formaldehyde content for framing and shingles from recycled sawdust and cement provide great options to building non-sustainable roofing.
Now companies are selling Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for use in walls, supports, and especially on roofing to help contain lumber costs in framing and build-in energy conservation properties. SIPs, by the way, can reduce the total amount of materials used in framing.
Have a SIP
According to the Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA), the materials used to create insulated panels-foam and strand board-require less energy to produce, and result in reduced waste in roofing materials so common at construction sites. The creation of SIPs uses a quarter less energy to produce than other products that offer a similar excellent R-value when in use.
SIP products are also said to provide greater air-tight insulation, improving indoor air quality in the process. But that also means, you have to provide excellent sources of ventilation by doors, windows, or fans.
The Federal Energy Savers website reports that, installed correctly, SIPs provide an overall energy savings between 12 and 14 percent. Over the course of your home's lifetime, SIPS can save much more energy than the amount of petroleum used to create the panel. Even better, SIPs don't delaminate.
Making New Green Roofing Materials
SIPs are typically made of polystyrene or polyisocyanurate, and polyurethane derivative cores, sandwiched between fiber cement or plywood. They can also have compressed insulating cores made of straw. The factory-made SIP panels come in a range of sizes, shipped from the factory, and some include complete installation kits from the manufacturer.
You can also add additional green to your roof by using recycled newsprint for your roof decking. SIPS, employed in framing, are said to be better able to withstand high winds or seismic events. Green roofs are included in home improvement projects that apply towards a federal tax credit of $1,500. You have to buy materials and complete the roofing project by the end of 2010.