A new way to build

A local home building company is employing cutting-edge technology to reduce building time and improve sustainability.

Developer Gary Arsenault points out the advantages of insulated panel construction

Developer Gary Arsenault points out the advantages of insulated panel construction

Green Emerald Construction, a local home building company is employing cutting-edge technology to reduce building time on one of their latest projects, as well as making it more ecologically sound.

The 3,700 square-foot, high-end house being constructed at the north end of 20th street NE will have exterior walls built of structural insulated panels (SIPS).

SIPS come pre-assembled, with the insulation and holes for wiring built in. The panels are custom-built based on blueprints for each individual project. The SIPS for the project in Salmon Arm were manufactured by West-Eco Panels in Kamloops. SIPS also act as a building code compliant air barrier, making the plastic vapour barrier surrounding the insulation of an ordinary house unnecessary.

The modular nature of the SIPS has the potential to make construction much faster. Gary Arsenault of Green Emerald Construction, estimated that once his crew was more accustomed to working with SIPS they would be able to frame an entire floor of a house in one or two days.

According to a study published by the chemical company BASF in 2008, SIPS provide environmental and cost benefits by reducing heating and cooling loads. Over the lifetime of the house, the reduced heating and cooling costs outweigh the higher initial costs when compared to traditional fibreglass insulation, the study says.

Arsenault said that buildings constructed using SIPS are becoming more common in larger centres, but the one his crew is building will be one of only two in Salmon Arm when it is complete.

Along with the SIPS, Green Emerald Construction’s house utilizes Helix Micro-Rebar, tiny zinc-coated steel rods, which are mixed right into the concrete for the house’s foundation. The house’s foundation is also improved by the use of a waterproofing chemical treatment called Enhance ICD, which promises a reduction in water permeability and increases the durability of the house’s foundation.