The founders of Centric Ltd. are some of the pioneers and innovators in the design and use of structural insulated panel (SIP) systems dating as far back as the 1970’s. It began with the development of the first generation of SIP system using conventional wood-based products. The picture to the right is of a residence built in the late 1970’s by Centric’s founders in Seattle, Washington. The house’s design and functionalities remain fresh today even after 30+ years in the cold, wet Seattle climate The picture was taken in 2010. Centric’s founders continued to develop and perfect both, its SIP system, and a special structural board material that can withstand the rigors of constructing building structures in regions of high temporature, high humidity, perpetual dampness, and wood-destroying insect-infested enviornments.
Although structural insulated panels, or SIP, gained attention in the 1970’s, the idea of using sandwich panels for building construction dates back to the 1930’s. In 1937, a small SIP type house was constructed in Wisconsin and was even dedicated by the then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In a testament to the durability of SIP structures, the house has endured the severe Wisconsin climate and was used by the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a day care center up until 1998. It was replaced by a larger building to house their pharmaceutical school.
Due to its inherent design, SIP panel systems can structurally outperform standard wood-frame construction. In terms of energy conservation, SIP panels generally have higher insulating properties than other types of building construction. Another feature of SIP systems is that building structures can be erected in the fraction of the time than conventional wood-frame, concrete, or cement block construction could.
There are, however, some drawbacks to SIP construction, namely cost and creep in structural materials over time (deformation due to long-term exposure to stress and heat-cold cycles), which is inherent in all structural building materials, except steel and other structural metals.