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Structural Insulated Panels Win Against Extreme Weather
Structural insulated panels withstand Mother Nature's power on a regular basis. Fire, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes demolish thousands of stick-frame homes every year. These same storms leave structural insulated panel homes with little-to-no structural damage.
SIPs stand up to tornadoes
Tornado damage in Sumner County, TN
Courtesy of Team Industries via energysmartky.com
“One example of how well SIPs have taken on tornadoes is related to a couple living in Tennessee. Mac and Kim Chelsey built their two story home out of SIPs because the material promised more durability, energy efficiency, and a quieter environment than found in stick built homes. They did not expect to be woken by the horrendous noise of a tornado barreling down on their new home. Imagine their relief when their SIP home withstood the 200 mph winds and the only damage to their house was two broken windows and a few loose roof shingles.”
SIPs take on earthquakes and hurricanes
Damage to Isle of Palms, SC after Hurricane Hugo
Courtesy of "The State" newspaper via NOAA
SIP building systems have achieved the highest designation, Class 6 Seismic Designation, for building materials in the State of California.
In January 1995, a severe earthquake (7.2 on the Richter scale) devastated Kobe, a Japanese city of over one million people located southwest of Tokyo. Elevated highways (designed to withstand earthquakes) toppled, railways were destroyed, and entire blocks of houses were leveled. More than 5,000 died and hundreds of thousands were left homeless.
Six homes, located just miles from the quake's epicenter, used SIP building systems and withstood the "Great Hanshine" earthquake.
The exceptional strength of structural insulated panels are designed to resist typical loads caused by seismic activity and high winds.
A striking story about hurricanes comes from Charleston, South Carolina. In 1989, hurricane Hugo hit the city with full force and caused over one billion dollars of damage to buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. The Mayor's Council on the Homeless project for low-income residents had recently finished three cottages built with SIP systems. These cottages withstood the hurricane with no structural damage, while adjacent homes suffered serious structural damage, including loss of roofs and walls. The council was quick to order 7 more cottages after this performance.