Thermocore's 8-foot x 24-foot insulated panels, custom-engineered to your specifications, incorporate tongue-and-groove joinery for fast, simple assembly. Just fasten them together and you've got a draft-free building envelope that shrinks energy costs, improves air quality, and provides quieter rooms.
While some SIPs manufacturers use expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation with an R-value of 3.5 to 4.0 per inch, Thermocore's structural insulated panels feature polyurethane foam, with an R-value of 6.0 to 7.0 per inch. The polyurethane sits between a skin of two oriented strand boards (OSB), which come from sustainable, fast-growing trees.
Thermocore's structurally insulated panel system offers features you just can't get from conventional stick built homes. Most importantly, unlike stick framing, Thermocore SIPS deliver what you pay for. According to Oak Ridge National Laboratories, conventional fiberglass insulation loses 30% of its stated R-value once you take it out of the bag and place it in the wall. Even when builders try to increase the R-Value by using 2x6 R-19 construction instead of 2x4 R-13, the losses are the same. In fact, most builders do not realize that in order to get the full R-19, the batts must be 6-1/2″ thick. As we all know, a 2x6 is only 5-1/2″ thick, forcing you to compress the fiberglass and diminishing its thermal effectiveness. Structural insulated panels are the only insulating product that perform at stated R-Value in the field.
In addition, dirt, compression, and moisture can further diminish R-Values of most insulation products, but not Thermocore's SIPS. Thermocore structurally insulated panels are impervious to moisture, will not compress, and will never form mold or allow dirt in their cavity. Now that's performance in the field!
More features that Thermocore SIPS offer over stick built
Thermocore panels may look like other structural insulated panels, but looks don't tell the entire story. Most panel systems use Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), a product that's been in use for over 50 years. EPS has an R-Value of 3.5 to 4.0 per inch.
Thermocore structural panels use Polyurethane, which was invented to improve upon the shortfalls of EPS. Polyurethane has an R-Value of 7.0 to 7.5 per inch, making it the world's highest-rated insulation per inch, which explains why it's the choice of manufacturers of everything from freezers to water coolers to refrigerated semi-trailers.
Better Fire Resistance
EPS can be damaged by temperatures over 180 degrees, so it offers little fire resistance. Class I rated polyurethane—the kind Thermocore uses—can withstand temperatures of 750 degrees without damage. At those temperatures, it chars but does not burn, so it minimizes the spread of fire. In fact, the material normally self-extinguishes.
Better Moisture & Chemical Resistance
Building materials are rated for permeability, or how much moisture can seep through them. Typical EPS is much more permeable than polyurethane, which is why many EPS manufacturers include interior and exterior vapor barriers when calculating R-Values (be sure to read the fine print when comparing). In addition, most over-the-counter chemicals won't damage polyurethane, but common petroleum-based chemical products such as insect sprays and many construction adhesives will degrade EPS.
Greater Density For Greater Strength
At a minimum density of 2.2 pounds, Thermocore panels are more than twice as dense as EPS, which provides greater strength.
Less Environmental Impact
Typically, EPS panels are created in standard sizes and cut at the jobsite to fit your home's requirements. The scraps usually cannot be recycled. In comparison, Thermocore panels are designed and constructed to your specific plans, so waste is minimal. The polyurethane we use acts as its own adhesive, for a strong, consistent bond across the entire panel. EPS manufacturers have to use separate glues, with the quality of the bond dependent on how evenly the glue is spread and how long it dries.
More Value For Every Dollar
There's a good reason EPS panels appear to be cheaper: they cost less to make. EPS manufacturers buy materials in finished form and use very little equipment and labor to produce panels. Of course, that's offset by significantly more equipment and labor at the jobsite. Thermocore starts with raw materials and custom manufactures each panel to your plans. But although it costs us more to make panels, that cost is offset by the lower labor and energy costs, so while EPS may appear to be cheaper, Thermocore SIPS construction is a much better value.
Thermocore's unique panel features will save you money when it comes to the cost of finishing your new home. No longer will you be subject to up-charges from your electrician and window company for working with panels. Thermocore panels offer you the highest R value per inch, the lowest install costs of any panel, and no up-charges from your subs. In addition, Thermocore has introduced the industry's first Insulation Verification System (IVS). This unique system allows Thermocore to see inside each panel after it is manufactured, verifying its energy efficiency before it leaves the plant. You will know with 100% confidence that your panels will perform to their fullest. We will put a stamp on it to prove it!
No other panel company offers this level of quality control. As a matter of fact, most other panel systems rely on trades to cut into your panels to make them functional. These trades have often never worked with panels and are not trained by the manufacturer. From design to install, your panels will be in the hands of Thermocore professionals, assuring the best panel wrap for your timber frame.
Whether your new home is a full timber frame or a hybrid, Thermocore's structural insulated panel system is the perfect enclosure system for you. Thermocore's 4″ thick R-24 panel is custom manufactured to fit on your frame. Each panel comes complete with all of Thermocore's standard features including:
Here are two infrared scans taken at night of two individual houses. Environmental conditions were identical for both with an outside temperature of 24 degrees Fahrenheit. Both photos were taken in the evening. The photo at right is of a two-story home conventionally built with wood and fiberglass insulation. The photo at left is a single-story home built with Thermocore's 4″ R-24 wall system. The scale to the right of the scans represents temperature, with the red representing warmth and the blue representing cold. As you can clearly see, there is a stark difference between the two photos.
In the stick-built home, one can clearly see the 2x4 studs 16″ on center as represented by the colored lines and the fiberglass insulation as represented by the pink. This photo shows the tremendous amount of heat transfer/loss (and money loss) to the outside of the walls. This transfer can be seen in both the studs and the fiberglass, with the studs representing greater heat loss.
The photo at left shows the Thermocore wall without studs and fiberglass and without noticeable heat loss. The outside wall temperature on the Thermocore wall is close to that of the outside air temperature. There is no readable thermal loss in the Thermocore wall.
These two photos clearly show the true performance of Thermocore vs. conventionally built homes. Thermocore Panel Systems is the single most energy efficient way to build your home. By the way, the owner of the Thermocore home is not only warmer but he has more money in his pocket every month too!
Understanding Air Infiltration Rates
Blower door tests are performed on homes to determine the air infiltration rate or air leakage/exchange rate. Just as important as R-Value is the amount of air that leaks in or out of your home. You can build an R-100 wall, but if there are cracks or tiny holes that allow air to flow through, then you have severely compromised the energy-efficiency of the wall. Blower door test are typically done by certified companies utilizing specialized equipment. The test consists of sealing of the house and attaching a blower to suck out the air. Measurements are taken to determine how tight the house is. The tighter the house, the more energy-efficient it is and the less money you will spend on utilities.
Below are the Blower Door Test results for an 1,800 square foot house built by Thermocore in Russell Springs, KY. The test was performed by South Rural Electric Company in March of 2004. Following are the test results and a comparison to a typical stick frame house.
2x Wall Thermocore Wall Result
Air Changes Per Hour 5 .95 81% better
Airflow at 50 Pascals 1500 350 77% better
Natural Air Infiltration Rate .35 m .06 83% better
Thermocore's 4″ wall and 6-1/2″ roof panels preformed on average 80% better than a typically built home. Lower blower door numbers mean less money spent on heating and cooling and more money in your pocket every month. Does this mean that you could suffocate in a Thermocore house?? Of course not. Homes that are built with Thermocore walls and roof panels also install a fresh air source as part of their HVAC package. This system allows you to control the air changes in your home, providing for a healthy, energy efficient environment. Healthy, environmentally and energy-efficient homes are what building with Thermocore is all about.
*with outside air sealed off*
Understanding the Real Costs of Building a Home
Interior of finished home
What does it really cost to build a house? Most people think of that cost in terms of the lot price, the cost of the materials, and the builder's fee.
But the cost of building a house doesn't end when you take occupancy. In some ways, it just begins. One obvious example is the cost of your mortgage. Typically, a mortgage will total two to three times the initial cost of your house by the time you pay it off.
As the cost of lighting, heating and cooling a home continues to rise, it makes sense to look at energy costs over the long terms. Take two identical 2,200 square foot homes—one stick-built, the other built using Thermocore Structural Insulated Panel Systems (SIPS) construction. Although the Thermocore SIPS home has a slightly higher initial cost—what amounts to a $10 increase in the monthly payment—its energy costs are between $80 to $120 per month less than those of its stick-built counterpart. Which house is really the better value?
Thermocore Homes and Tax Credits
Homeowners are eligible for Federal Tax Credits for building energy efficient homes that achieve 50% energy savings over the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code including 2004 supplements. According to the program, at least 1/5 of the energy savings must come from the building envelope's improved level of insulation and air sealing. Building with Thermocore panels is the ideal option to meet the standard for tax credits. Additionally, homes built with Thermocore walls and roof panels do not require a blower door test to meet the improvement standard. Another reason Thermocore is the smart choice for your new home.
For more information on energy tax credits please visit the following web sites:
Your new home should be a dream in every way. It should allow you to enjoy the kind of life you want. That involves more than finishes and furnishes; it includes safety for your family and peace of mind that the home will serve your needs for many years to come. Homes built with Thermocore SIPS construction have superior fire resistance. Their materials are far more mold-resistant than traditional materials, so you'll have fewer worries about health. They offer much greater sound insulation, so the unwanted noises of the outside world will stay outside. And, because they are so energy-efficient, you'll be comfortable all year long. What kind of price would you put on those factors?
Whether you consider yourself to be an environmentalist or not, you know that environmental issues carry a high cost for today's society. Thermocore SIPS construction is more environmentally friendly, using non-toxic insulation foam and wood from renewable new-growth forests. Our unique production method minimizes waste, both at the factory and on the jobsite, too. And again, better energy efficiency means you'll conserve energy.
Better Return On Investment
If you think of your home as the largest single investment of your life, using Thermocore SIPS construction is an effective, proven way to ensure that you'll receive a higher return on that investment.
Thermocore panels, helping the environment stay green, one panel at a time
Thermocore provides structural insulated panels (SIPs) to customers throughout Canada and the United States.