I recently discovered GreenTech radio, which podcasts about green building technology. The latest one was sponsored by Studio-RMA, an architecture firm in California, on the topic of SCIP.
SCIP stands for Structural Concrete Insulated Panels. It consists of insulating foam panels reinforced with 12-ga steel mesh, and covered on both faces with shotcrete (sprayed-on concrete). Robotic welding of the mesh and foam results in a strong assembly, made even stronger by the concrete-on-mesh facing.
These panels can withstand 200 mph winds, and seismic forces up to 8 on the Richter scale, plus they boast a 4-hour fire rating. Panels are vermin- and termite-resistant, and insulation values start at R-40.
Why are they green? First of all, they are built with recycled and sustainable materials. Unlike SIP (Structural Insulated Panels, faced with wood) structures, SCIP buildings can last up to 100 years because concrete does not deteriorate as quickly as wood when exposed to weather. When a SCIP building is demolished, the panels can be crushed, and each component recycled separately.
SCIP panels are currently being used in residential construction, especially in areas of the southern USA damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Retaining wall testing is underway, and they may be used in dam construction in the future.
Stay tuned for more on new green building materials...