Caring For Our Planet: Part 1 - Sustainable Building, Sustainable Living

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). Photo Credit:

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). Photo Credit:

This post is Part 1 of a multi-part series about creating a more sustainable future. Topics covered in the series are:

  • Sustainable and eco-friendly building options
  • Toxicity in your home and how to reduce it as you build and beyond

  • Recycling and reducing waste, both in the building industry and in our personal lives

  • Energy efficiency in your home

  • Living off the grid and more in alignment with our natural environment


Why Park Homes Utilises Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) to Construct Your Home

When looking to create a home that is warmer, drier and healthier for you, whilst being friendlier to the environment at the same time, we looked for resources that are not typically used in housing. One such resource was SIPs, which are commonly used for cool stores and freezer rooms, for their qualities of super insulation and structural strength.  These panels have been around a long time, but their improvements over the years have made them more eco-friendly and sustainable than one might think. They are also becoming more common in residential building all over the world, including here in New Zealand.  

What are SIPs? 

There are many forms of SIPs, the best way to describe it is to think of a sandwich, made of two outer skins (the bread) and an Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam core (the filling). Some skins are constructed out of wood, composite particle board, magnesium oxide board, or straight up colour steel. Our preferred SIP system is steel, as it is strong, lightweight and has minimal needs when it comes to decoration once installed, keeping the cost down. 

Another thing we like about these SIPs is that they form an incredibly strong structure, yet remain lightweight. This is an essential element of a Park Home, as the shell of the home needs to be of a suitable strength, durability and weight to match our innovative, earthquake-resistant base - the Park Homes Signature Floating Foundation.

SIPs are also 100% recyclable so job site waste is kept to a minimum in comparison to traditional building projects that use timber framing. They last forever, and keep your home warmer and drier, without disintegration and loss of insulation integrity over time, unlike more commonly used insulation bats or foams.

Industry professionals in NZ and around the globe stand by SIPs and their use in the residential field, in order to create a future where homes are warmer, more energy efficient and more environmentally friendly. One company had this to say about the environmental impact of these panels:

One of the best ways to think about the impact of SIPs on the environment is to consider their energy efficiency. Because [SIP] panels are so efficient, the demand for fossil fuel consumption (such as gas, oil and coal) and the releasing of greenhouse gas emissions (like carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere are greatly reduced during the years you heat and cool your home, resulting in a cleaner environment.
— SIP Home Systems . com

What About Your Personal Health?

Respiratory disease, allergies and other diseases that are shown to be linked to indoor air quality have paved the way for products that are less toxic and that indeed lower the lifetime toxic burden you're exposed to in your home.

SIPs are airtight, giving you control over your internal environment, and the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) core used in these panels is manufactured using a revolutionary, low environmental impact process. EPS is inert, in that is has no gasses or dust that come off it during manufacturing, and it contains no CFCs (Chloro Fluoro Carbons), no HCFCs (Hydro Chloro Fluoro Carbons) and no formaldehyde. 

Other Benefits

  • Reduced heating and cooling costs over lifetime of home
  • Higher R-value than standard housing
  • High recyclability, low environmental impact of materials and of the Park Homes on the land itself, due to our specially designed bases)
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Heightened energy efficiency in the home due to the airtight thermal envelope (Passive House effect)

Watch this space for more about why and how Park Homes is paving the way in creating sustainable housing that is friendly to your wallet, your health and our planet.