Hawaii is paradise, but building a home there takes an experienced hand and a strong working knowledge of its unique climate and geology. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the 4,000 sq. foot Hi’ilani EcoHouse gets a lot of warming sun in the day time, but ocean breezes cause the temperature to drop drastically at night. Achieving carbon-neutral status hinged on Mechielsen’s ability to trap and repurpose the cool air that occurs naturally after sunset. The unique nature of long-lasting SCIP panels made this possible.
Often made of recycled plastic or metal, SCIP foam contains 90 percent air, which accounts for its terrific insulating properties. SCIP panels have a similar strength to 8” solid concrete or concrete block structures, although they use 60% less cement.
“These panels have an insulating core of EPS foam with a structural wire-mesh space frame stitched through the foam,” explains a press release. “Once the panels are connected to form the shell of the house they are sprayed off with a concrete-plaster mix, similar to stucco, creating the structural strength and the finish of the exterior and interior walls. Its vast cantilevered overhangs are completely made with SCIP only with additional rebar.” Thus the house is virtually wood and metal-free.