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History of SIPS

The concept of a structural insulated panel began in 1935 at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin. FPL engineers speculated that plywood and hardboard sheathing could take a portion of the structural load in wall applications. Their prototype structural insulated panels (SIPs) were constructed using framing members within the panel combined with structural sheathing and insulation.

The panels were used in test homes, monitored for over thirty years, then disassembled and reexamined. FPL engineers continued to experiment with new designs and materials.

Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright used structural insulated panels in some of his affordable Usonian houses built throughout the 1930's and 1940's. SIPs took a major leap in technology when one of Wright's students, Alden B. Dow, son of the founder of Dow Chemical Company, created the first foam core SIP in 1952.

By the 1960's rigid foam insulating products were readily available resulting in the production of SIPs as we know today. The Structural Insulated Panel Association was founded in 1990 to provide support and visibility for those manufacturing and building with this emerging technology. In the 1990's SIPs saw the development of advanced computer aided manufacturing (CAM) technology.

Using these systems, computerized architectural drawings (CAD drawings) can be converted to the necessary code to allow automated cutting machines to fabricate SIPs to the specific design of a building. CAD to CAM technology has streamlined the SIP manufacturing process, bringing further labor savings to builders.

Today SIPs offer a high tech solution for residential and low rise non-residential buildings. Advances in computer aided design and manufacturing allow SIPs to be produced with amazing accuracy to deliver flat, straight, and true walls.

The design capabilities, exceptional strength and energy saving insulation make SIPs a twenty-first century building material for high performance buildings. MgO boards were approved for construction use in the US around 2003. Due to its fire resistance and safety ratings, New York and New Jersey were early adopters of MgO board. Florida has adopted MgO for its Mould/Mildew resistance. It is hurricane and impact tested and approved in Miami-Dade County.

Located in Taipei, Taiwan, Magnesium oxide can be found on all 101 stories of Taipei 101, currently the second tallest building in the world. MgO sheeting was used on the inside and outside of all the walls, fireproofing beams and as the sub-floor sheathing.

MgO sheeting was the "official" specified construction material of the 2008 World Olympics buildings in Beijing, a project costing over $160 billion.