• Thanks to ultra-efficient SIPs construction and a solar PV system, SmartHomze kit dwellings can generate as much energy as they use.
    Thanks to ultra-efficient SIPs construction and a solar PV system, SmartHomze kit dwellings can generate as much energy as they use.

A Vermont-based manufacturer of SIPs has incorporated its ultra-efficient building system into a new collection of panelized kit homes that will make net-zero energy living attainable at an extremely low price point.

SmartHomze from Vantem Panels encompass superior insulation and air sealing, high-efficiency mini-split HVAC systems, and low-cost photovoltaics to generate more energy than they use. For about $150 a square foot (excluding foundation, site work, and permitting fees) builders and homeowners receive everything needed to build the structures.

Originally intended for baby boomers seeking to downsize and for younger first-time home buyers, the kits make zero energy bills possible for all buyers, says Vantem Panels president Dave Gauthier. Five house designs range in size from 560 to 1,700 square feet and include materials for the exterior walls, roof, floors, and porch. Also included are siding and metal roofing as well as the photovoltaic panels, HVAC equipment, a heat recovery ventilation system, and R-5+ windows and doors. Owners are responsible for construction, interior partitions, appliances, and finishes. The structures are designed to be installed on piers, but they also can be built onto slabs or foundations, according to the company.

The Vantem SIPs used in the kit are made from urethane foam sandwiched between two structural sheets of OSB. They reduce construction time and labor by up to 50 percent and produce a nearly airtight envelope, says Vantem Panels sales manager Doug Anderson, noting that SIPs-constructed homes are so tight they are exempt from the Energy Star program’s blower door testing requirements.

“SIPs offer a builder a faster, easier, and tighter way to build and are an attractive option to stick-framing in light of the labor challenges in the housing industry today,” he says.

The company also offers SmartHomze Studios SIPs kits for backyard office outbuildings, guest cottages, pool houses, and more.