The more lengthy, more precise name for this exciting innovation is “structural cement insulated panel” or “SCIP.” If you are interested in green building, this is a concept that looks to have a bright future.
Structural cement insulated panels, note
interior struts for extraordinary unit strength.
(Photo: Studio RMA)
We learned about SCIP technology from Herman Blanke, a Los Angeles based expert on green technology who attended the AlwaysOn “GoingGreen” event. For an example of this technology in use today, Blanke recommended Studio RMA, based in Dusseldorf, Germany.
On Studio RMA’s website, their “What is a SCIP Building” page provides a pretty good description of how it works, and the synergies are obvious. Basically a SCIP wall has a thin exterior of cement, interlaced with a strong mesh of steel. In between these cement exteriors is a thick foam center. And throughout the foam, connecting the cement sides to each other internally, is a series of strong steel diagonals that tie the exterior concrete skins on each side together, yielding an extremely strong panel.
Structural cement insulated panels are so strong they can be used as roofing material or walls without any additional structural support. They constitute a modular building panel that performs the function of exterior stucco, plywood siding, 2×4 wood (or steel) studs, and insulation, in one integrated panels. They are so strong the framing requirements of a building can be partly fulfilled simply by using these panels. They have incredible insulation values, they last virtually forever, and they cost less.
Another variation on the SCIP technology can be found on the SIPCRETE website. Located in Turvey Beds, England, SIPCRETE has taken SCIP technology a step further, where they manufacture and deliver not only panels, but modules. In this application, a builder might order, for example, 100 identical room modules, and would simply stack and connect them to an infrastructure frame in order to build a hotel.
Alternatively, SIPCRETE provides technology and materials to builders who wish to prefab a “thermocore” of foam, rebar, diagonals and forms, afterwhich cement is poured in over the core in order to complete a building exterior. Again, the cost in time and materials competes well with traditional building technologies, especially considering what is built is extremely durable and has very good insulating qualities.
The green building revolution marches on.