Building with Insulspan® SIPs: LEED® Platinum in Michigan

Multiple roof lines and unique placement on its wooded homesite makes the architecture of this Michigan home command attention.

However, this Deer Haven residence offers much more than its unique street presence. Designed by Mathison Architects of Grand Rapids, the home’s construction used Insulspan Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). The combination of these SIPs, tilt/turn triple-pane windows, thoughtful site orientation, and other energy saving strategies created a home expected to save 58% on its energy costs. [i]

The 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom Deer Haven home provides a perfect example of the energy efficient advantages of Insulspan SIPs. When combined with other green building features, SIPs can create a LEED® certified home.

Green Building with SIPsThe architecture embraces the owners’ close relationship to the outdoors as do the (sometimes unseen) inner workings. As an example, the residence includes a flat roof area over the kitchen to accommodate a live green rooftray system. The tray system’s installation allows for thermal mass [ii] and also controls water runoff.

When combined with other green building features, SIPs can create a LEED® certified home.

Mathison Architects notes a few items on its website as Deer Haven’s “Keys to Success” in its quest for LEED® Platinum certification. The firm includes, Wall Insulation: Structurally Insulated Panels, as one of those keys. This is important to Insulspan because Mathison Architects is a professional firm committed to the use of biophilic principles.

The core principles of a biophilic design integrate natural light and air into a building. This creates a healthier environment for a home’s occupants. It’s a philosophy of design that perfectly combines with Insulspan’s building products.

Mathison Architects applied for, and received, LEED® Platinum certification for the Deer Haven home. Coupling their design philosophy and the home’s numerous energy saving features with the R-25 SIP walls [iii] and R-38 SIP roof panels provided by Insulspan, made a tremendous impact in the certification process. Platinum level certification requires 80+ points; this home received a stunning 96.5, including 19/21 for Indoor Environmental Quality.

“High performance homes like this one in Deer Haven don’t have to sacrifice their style.” – Stephen Munn, Insulspan, General Manager

“High performance homes like this one in Deer Haven don’t have to sacrifice their style,” says Stephen Munn, Insulspan’s General Manager. “There are a lot of advantages to using a SIP system as part of the building method and energy efficiency is certainly the one people think of first. This home exemplifies energy efficiency while also taking full advantage of the design flexibility that SIPs offer.”

Finally, in addition to saving on energy costs without sacrificing style, building with SIPs increases the speed of the construction. The latter benefit can’t be emphasized enough according to Munn. Made from a layer of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation between two boards of oriented strand board (OSB), SIPs make the home’s framing and insulation a one step installation process, by only one subcontractor. Consequently, this shortens the time it takes to erect the building’s structural shell.

Read about another LEED® certified home, this one in Vancouver, British Columbia.


[i] based on HERS Score compared to [then]current Michigan code. Deer Haven Residence HERS Rater, Alex Goosen
[ii] the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy
[iii] Deer Haven’s 6 ½” SIP walls are made of two pieces of OSB filled with EPS and are R-25.

Want to learn how you can reduce energy costs and gain the structural
strength of the Insulspan SIP system for your residential or commercial project?

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