Home City Beat A SIPS Building: Structural Insulated Panels

A SIPS Building: Structural Insulated Panels


By Martha Vera


Most people do not think of El Paso as a hub for innovation, but they should think again! El Paso ingenious innovation. Mayan SIPS is a great example that can help you meet NET ZERO standards. What is NET ZERO? It is the state of zero carbon dioxide emissions otherwise known as greenhouse gases.


Meet Mayan SIPS Manufacturing and Sales’ CEO, Oscar Alvarado, Passive House Certified Builder, and his team of experts, Joe Loya, with Mayan Solar and Julio Lopez with Infinite Solar. These men have teamed up to bring an array of incredible products to El Paso that help the homeowner, who is building a home or adding an addition, save :me and money in a big way and making their investment green!

What is a SIP?

A SIP is a Structural Insulated Panels. Mr. Alvarado explains, “When you build with the SIP panels, you’re already being more labor efficient. You can build a house, or the envelope, about 55% faster than with regular stick frame. Secondly building with SIP panels makes your home or building 15 times more airtight in the envelope which is a lot better in achieving net zero and making the structure more energy efficient. This means less carbon emissions. We are modeling a property to be airtight. This way we control the conditioned air inside.”

Mr. Alvarado manufactures the SIPS panels right here in El Paso. Not only do they make wall panels, but they also make roof panels. These panels are made of a highly compressed polystyrene core sandwiched between two plywood/wood sheets. The wall panels are about 4 1/2 inches thick with R-value of a nominal 19, and the roof panels are 6 1/2 inches thick with R-value of a nominal 30. The highly compressed polystyrene core guarantees a solid, lightweight, insulation that is impermeable to moisture, mold, and sound. It also guarantees a more constant ambient temperature that doesn’t cost the homeowner any more in air conditioning or heating. These panels are so strong that you cannot break them or damage them.


The SIP panels also come with grooves for electrical and plumbing. An architect or builder can give them the specs for windows and doors and these openings are cut to fit the future windows and doors. The panels come in 4’ x 8’, 4’ x 12’, 4’ x 16’ and up to 4’ x 20 feet long. The panel has a 2’ x 4’ inside where you can slide them in and put them together like a puzzle. The adhesive is placed at the joints adding another layer of airtightness.

SIPS are perfect for passive solar homes where the sun is part of the heating and cooling of a home or building. Passive solar is dependent on where the home faces and where the heat sinks are placed to heat the home which is usually a southern facing window.


Mayan SIPS has been in business for five months, but the buzz is certainly getting around. “We have people calling us from Washington, Maine, Oregon, Michigan, Nevada, Florida, and Colorado. We can ship anywhere in the United States. What we would like to see is more builders in El Paso use our SIP panels.”


Mr. Alvarado purchased the company which had been in business as Star Energy. SIPS homes are dotted around El Paso. Are they energy efficient? The answer is a definite YES!


You do need to purchase Product #2 which is the air exchanger called Aerobarrier. It seals the home from the inside out. Mr. Julio Lopez showed that it is a quite scientific process to assess air tightness of a structure. He said, “a negative pressure test is done to see how much leakage is in the house. Once this value is known, a positive air pressure test is done by pressurizing the house. The computer calculates the needed water-based glue needed to seal the house. The computer is so sensitive, it can detect leaks around the house that need to be sealed by the glue. Air exchange is now taken down to a nominal number. All holes are sealed, and voila, they have air leak, bug, and rodent proofed your home. Now that it is sealed, instead of a 5-ton air-conditioning unit on your home, you can use a 2–3-ton unit, saving money and making your home more cost efficient.” Can any home use the aerobarrier? The answer is YES! This will make a huge difference in your pocketbook.


Do you have to change out your air filters often? Did you know that your ducts allow dust to come into your home? They also have a sealant for that! Your duct work and any holes will be sealed, as well, using their 3rd product, Aeroseal. Sealing your duct work results in better air quality, and a cleaner, more efficient home. The computer will tell you where your leaks are and what needs to be sealed. This will reduce the kilowatts used, reducing carbon emissions. Interior ambience is thus retained. aeroseal and aerobarrier are safe for people and pets, it is water soluble and paint-able. They have also building homes. A 12’ x 32’ studio can be built for $51,000 complete with kitchenette.


Their 4th Product is a spray-able, breathable stucco-like product called cork barrier. It goes straight onto your exterior wall giving you an R-value of 9 with a ten-year warranty for exterior walls.


The Roof product is a white roll liquid with a 20-year warranty with high reflection, increasing the productivity of panels by 14%.

They will work with builders of custom homes but will work to construct your home through the construction side of their business. They do subcontract electricians and plumbers. It might be a little more expensive to build with SIPS, but in the long run, what you will save in energy will save you a great amount of money. A normal house will last a hundred years.


They can also build clinics and small hospitals with SIP panels and iron. They have built a Ruidoso net zero home. How about incentives? The government gives a 40% discount incentive to homeowners that build net zero homes. This incentive puts money back into the homeowner’s pockets. For an added bonus, you can have your home built in 8 weeks to 6 months, depending on the size, rather than a year.

El Paso is moving to 2” x 6”s to add more insulation to the construction. Mayan SIPS is already at R-value of 30.

If you are considering building a home or an addition to your home, save time and money by using Mayan SIPS.

Call them at (915) 255-1201 or visit their website at www.mayansips.com.


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