Redwood Terrace Supportive Housing

Insulspan® SIPs help create an energy efficient multifamily housing development

Redwood Terrace Supportive Housing offers its community a living environment with 24-hour onsite supervision for those in need. [i] The unique, award-winning development was the inspiration of healthcare organization, Centerstone, alongside the Richmond Housing Authority. The U.S. Department of Redwood Terrace Apartments SIP Construction Complete 2Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME program provided most of the funding for the 57,000-square-foot building. However, the funding came with strict guidelines related to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Because stringent federal requirements were top-of-mind, the development’s design team quickly thought of Insulspan.

Architect Sam Miller and the design team at Indianapolis-based, ARCHitecture [ii], took a whole-building design approach to sustainability. The approach had several energy efficient elements. To start with, was passive solar design. There was also a high performance building envelope. Finally, it had an efficient HVAC system. “One of the things we do from the beginning is think of the entire building as an integrated unit,” said Miller. “For example, if you get a really efficient envelope you can reduce the size of your air handlers.”

Miller specified the Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) system for the walls and roof of the 60-unit building, explaining, “We had some familiarity with Insulspan and thought it would be a really excellent choice to make an energy-efficient building.”

“We had some familiarity with Insulspan and thought it would be a really excellent choice to make an energy-efficient building.” – Sam Miller, ARCHtrio

The Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) system used in the building process of the Redwood Terrace Apartments was manufactured in nearby Michigan. Insulspan sales manager, Aaron Hinde, explains, “We [Insulspan] started developing and manufacturing SIPs back in the 1970s. As a result of many years of experience, we know how to provide SIP panels that exactly match a building’s specifications.”

Hinde says it doesn’t matter what wall or roof thickness a building’s design requires. Why? Because SIP walls and roof assemblies result in buildings with higher overall thermal resistance and lower air leakage. Therefore, energy usage is reduced and energy savings increase.

This high energy efficiency is because Insulspan SIPs have a continuous core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. They also have less framing than stick framed walls with cavity insulation. Consequently, SIPs reduce the effect of thermal bridging through studs. Air leakage rates for buildings using Insulspan SIPs are typically much lower than buildings built with stick framing. This too offers an additional source of energy saving potential. Curious about how much energy can be saved?

When used as part of a building system that incorporates Advantage ICFs, a structure can perform 50% to 70% better than the Model Energy Code. For the Redwood Terrace development, the projected savings to building owner, Centerstone, was $44,000 annually. [iii]

For the Redwood Terrace development, the projected savings to building owner, Centerstone, was $44,000 annually.

Redwood Terrace received the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce Community Improvement Award. This award was due to the project’s significant improvement on the quality of life in the community. “Combining smart design, Insulspan SIPs, and energy-efficient HVAC systems, led ARCHitecture to tremendous savings,” said Hinde.

To learn more about the Model Energy Code, visit the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s (EERE) website.

Learn more about commercial buildings and improved energy performance from the New Buildings Institute (NBI) website, here.

Finally, read about more multi-family/multi-use residential projects built with Insulspan SIPs here.

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[i] including the mentally ill, those recovering from addiction, and others

[ii] ARCHitecture is now ARCHtrio

[iii] USD amount in 2012; 2019 savings would be an estimated $48,238 USD via CPI Inflation Calculator

 


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