SIPs, Chinooks and Artillery: How’s the noise reduction?

“Because this house is located near a very active military base, was noise a consideration when choosing SIPs for the walls and roof? Or was the choice based solely on energy savings?”

This is a question from Deb Sagan of the EnergyValue Housing Award. (EVHA is part of the National Association of Home Builders Research Center. Winning an EVHA is a pretty big deal … and we’re, once again, finalists for this year’s competition. Yipee!!! *Ahem*)

The response from the owners was:

“Hey Deb –

We knew we were building literally across the street from a Ft Lewis training area. We knew there would be noise but had no idea how much. That was an “unknown known.”

We also didn’t know that we were right under a helicopter training flight path. That was a bit of a surprise there.

We read about SIP noise reduction from our pre-builder-choosing research but that didn’t factor so much in our initial decision. Primarily we chose to build with SIPs for its energy efficient properties.  The fact that it the SIPs are built locally and that the manufacturer (Premier SIPs) recycles 95-ish% of its material waste was a factor as well.

However now that we are living in the house, we will not deny that it is a real bonus to have the sound of the helicopters muted. Chinooks and Blackhawks regularly fly no less than 100 yards from our rooftop. The chest-thumping sound of rotors breaking the sound barrier is reduced to a totally liveable level. (In case this sounds like a horrible situation, let me assure you, it’s actually pretty cool. Plus the soldier sitting in the open door usually waves to our kid.)

It’s when there is range fire training that we really appreciate the noise reduction qualities of SIPs. The 155 mm Howitzers are particularly loud and frequently fired in the dead of night. Despite the WHUMP!!! WHUMP!!! our house does not rattle or shake. So it’s all good.


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