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A brief history of SIPs

Despite only taking off within the last few decades, structural insulated panels (SIPs) date back all the way to the 1930s.

Research and construction originated in America. Most of the work was done by the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), a¬†federally funded Wisconsin-based research centre involved in the conservation of scarce timber resources and responsible for many of today’s wood-based technologies.

In 1937 they constructed the first building made up of ‘stressed-skin panels’. These consist of a durable and lightweight foam core sandwiched between two ‘skins’ made of wooden board. The building survived the harsh Wisconsin climate for over 60 years and continued to be used as a day centre by the University of Wisconsin until 1998, bearing testament to the durability of structural panels.

Fast forward to the development of structural insulated panels (SIPs) in 1947. Various materials were experimented with before eventually researchers settled on a polystyrene and paper core overlaid with plywood skins in 1967. And the rest, they say, is history.

Today, different materials are used to provide various environmental benefits. You can learn more about the environmental benefits of SIPs here.