The Green Hut at Parklands is the first time I have used SIP’s – structural insulated panels. So far, the experience (if you don’t include the frustration of not understanding how to deal with something new) has been a positive one. Building with SIP’s provides a highly insulated envelope with minimal thermal bridging. This departure from the industry standard of insulating walls between the timber framework members means we will achieve an insulation rating of R5.4 for our walls – the building code minimum standard used by most is R2.6. Some may ask why do we need to build better? The current way we build is fine because NZ has a temperate climate. It’s much more cost effective to put in an extra heat pump than change the building envelope. My answer – if we live in such a temperate climate why do we need such elaborate heating systems in the winter and cooling systems in the summer? Why don’t we design and build houses in the first place to use less heating and less power? I believe if we are building to our environment we shouldn’t need heat at all. By trading our heat pump and gas fire for a superior building envelope, using the sun to heat our house (passive solar) and minimising heat loss hopefully we can negate the need for a heating system at all. Below a photo of our SIP panels (Magroc) going up today.