ZS2 Learning Centre

We are always learning and innovating here at ZS2 so we wanted to create a space for you to learn more as well! Dive into a variety of topics to learn more about SIP building, sustainability and the science behind our products.

Climate & Sustainability

Building Process

The Science

Quality guarantee

Technical Data

Still Have More Questions?

Climate & Sustainability

TechBoard contains a tremendous amount of magnesium oxysulfate (MgSO4) and water (H2O) as its cement binding material.  These two components make up more than two thirds of the binder in the board and are sourced from naturally occurring water reservoirs, meaning they have almost no embodied carbon footprint. This, along with a curing process that absorbs C02, makes TechBoard a low carbon sustainable building material who compared to traditional cement.

Extremely well. With a high strength outer shell which is highly resistant to projectiles owing to its high strength proprietary cement formulation TechPanels are built to stand up to extreme wind. For geographies susceptible to hurricanes, tornados and strong storm events TechPanels make an excellent upgrade over conventional building materials. Specific strapping and bracing would generally be recommended to join TechPanels to the foundation/floor and the roof, whether a TechPanel roof or conventional. Additionally, TechPanels do not loose structurally capabilities when submersed in water. TechBoard is impervious to mould ensuring any flood event will not result in significant remediation costs post event.

Yes! TechPanels are an excellent building material for seismic zones with their superior strength and the physical attributes of the rigid foam insulation. TechPanels meet the requirements various seismic hazard zones but different jurisdictions may have different requirements. Experienced civil engineers review all ZS2 projects and would consider the requirements for any project in a seismic zone in combination with the local building code requirements.

TechPanels are one of the most environmentally friendly construction solutions available. To start with, TechBoard has a very low embodied carbon footprint in addition to all of the high-performance attributes. TechPanels in turn are manufactured in a high-tech factory where material waste is minimized and delivered directly to site. On-site labour requirements are significantly reduced resulting in further efficiencies. Once completed a TechPanel building has continuous rigid insulation and is extremely airtight which results in lower energy requirements to heat, air-condition and operate. TechPanel buildings are built to last and are extremely resilient resulting in a longer useful life. All of these factors make TechPanels one of the most sustainable building solutions on the planet.

It does not. Unlike insulation batts that will sag over time or spray foam that cracks and crumbles as it ages. Our TechPanels maintain their structural integrity and R-value for the lifetime of the building. The EPS foam that we sandwich between two pieces of TechBoard creates a highly insulated building envelope that will ensure energy efficiency and savings.

TechBrick won’t fade over time after being constantly exposed to sunlight. TechBrick is made from quartz and polymer resin – a material that isn’t affected or damaged by sunlight.

TechBrick won’t be damaged during hail storms or other extreme weather events. Since TechBricks are made from quartz and polymer resin it is extremely flexible and durable. TechBrick is able to handle harsh storms without cracking, chipping or falling off.

Building Process

Structural insulated panels, or SIPs, are high performance panels used in walls, roofs and floors for residential, commercial, industrial and agriculture buildings. The panels are manufactured by sandwiching a rigid core insulating material between two high strength facings. SIPs can be custom designed for any project and provide an extremely strong, energy-efficient, cost-effective, sustainable building system.

ZS2 TechPanels integrate proprietary TechBoard™ which is a magnesium-based cement board into the assembly. TechBoard is a proprietary, high-performance, zero-chloride board with significant benefits vs. conventional construction materials such as oriented strand board (OSB). Unlike traditional SIPs, TechPanels are highly fire resistant, mold proof, bacteria/pest resistant and stronger.

TechPanel construction is significantly faster than traditional construction. A 2006 detailed study by RSMeans (Reed Construction Data) concluded that SIP construction is 55% faster than standard 2×4 or 2×6 stick frame construction. TechPanels are manufactured in a state of the art factory setting to custom specifications and arrive on-site ready for install eliminating the need for multiple steps such as framing, insulating, sheathing and significantly reducing labour requirements. Further, electrical chases are typically provided in the core of the panels so there is no need to drill through framing for wiring.

TechPanels are installed rapidly on site. TechPanels arrive flat packed directly to job site where they are unloaded and stood up, attaching to a base plate which is installed prior to assembly. This ‘tilt-up’ method of construction is rapid and panels are labelled for easy and precise installation in pre-determined order. Cut-outs for windows and doors are pre-fabricated and integrated in the factory saving additional job-site time. TechPanels are attached to the baseplate and each other using staples or screws and each panel joint is then sealed with elastomeric caulking. Roof panels are lifted into place and connect rapidly and easily using standard connection details. On average a 2,000 square foot building takes less

than two days to assemble.

Traditional SIP construction is recognized by the International Code Council body of building codes, which are used by most jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada. For residential buildings, SIP wall systems are included in Section R614 of the 2009 International Residential Code. With the incorporation of TechBoard, ZS2 TechPanels generally exceed all performance attributes of traditional SIPs with the added fire protection and resiliency against water and wind. ZS2 has conducted extensive third party testing on TechBoards and TechPanels partnering with Intertek, QAI Laboratories, Simon Fraser University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. All ZS2 projects are reviewed, signed off and stamped by an accredited civil engineer for the projects respective jurisdiction.

TechPanels can be installed both below and above ground. They can sit on strip footings, conventional foundation slabs, screw piles, or any type of horizontal element. A ‘basetrack’ is attached to the foundation or floor using conventional bolts/screws. Adhesive foam is applied, the TechPanels are ‘slid’ on top and screwed or stapled. TechPanels come prefabricated with ‘tongue and groove’ vertical splines. As TechPanels are tilted into place the vertical connection is also screwed or stapled. Together, this rapid method of installation and construction provides an extremely strong structural base. If additional stories are required a header plate is provided from which joists, I-beams or other horizontal structural elements can be joined. Integration with conventional building materials and

methods is quick, easy and designed for superior strength and performance.

TechBoard and TechPanels can be finished to most any client specifications. For the exterior a water/vapour barrier is usually required (as with conventional materials). For the interior, TechBoard is rigid but can be painted and finished following the manufacturer recommended prepping which includes priming the surface of the TechBoard, and taping and mudding the joints.  With a traditional skim coat, you can easily achieve a level 4 finish.

TechBoard makes an excellent substrate to handle tiles, wallpaper or other interior finishes such as TechBrick.  TechBoard is also certified as a backer board and can handle up to 250lbs per screw without having the find a stud!

TechPanels™ are installed rapidly on site. TechPanels™ arrive flat packed directly to the job site where they are unloaded and stood up, attaching to a base plate which is installed prior to assembly. This ‘tilt-up’ method of construction is rapid and panels are labelled for easy and precise installation in predetermined order. Cut-outs for windows and doors are pre-fabricated and integrated in the factory saving additional job-site time. TechPanels™ are attached to the baseplate and each other using staples or screws and each panel joint is then sealed with elastomeric caulking. Roof panels are lifted into place and connect rapidly and easily using standard connection details. On average a 2,000 square foot building takes less than two days to assemble.

The Science

TechBoard is our proprietary magnesium based cement board. Our R&D team, led by Dr. Doug Brown (Ph.D. Chemistry), has developed a proprietary cement formulation which are highly fire resistant, mold proof, bacteria/pest resistant, high strength with a significantly reduced carbon footprint vs. other traditional “Portland” cement products. TechBoard can be used as a stand-alone high-performance sheathing for interiors and exteriors, can be finished with a variety of coatings and materials, is easy to work with and is integrated as the facing in high-performance TechPanels.

In its alkaline earth metal form magnesium (Mg) oxidizes rapidly when exposed to the air. This means it can spark and burn easily at relatively low temperatures. But TechBoard uses  uses magnesium oxide (MgO), which has already oxidized and is completely stable and not flammable.  In fact, the stabilized version is so heat resistant that it is most commonly used in materials that are exposed to extreme temperatures like kilns, furnaces, fireplaces and even molds for molten metals!

ZS2 Technologies utilizes a proprietary magnesium cement formulation to create TechBoard which in turn is used as the external skin in TechPanels. Magnesium is one of the most stable and highly resistant elements to heat hence why magnesium is used to make molds for other elements like liquid steel and other molten metals. When considering resistance to a fire event there are actually three key considerations: 1. Flame spread/flammability 2. Heat transfer and 3. Offgassing. Many fire resistant materials, including flame retardant chemicals, still produce noxious off gasses which can render a person unconscious and susceptible to injury or worse. Further, materials which conduct heat result in higher risk of fire acceleration and transfer to materials which may not be fire resistant. Finally, flame spread and flammability in many conventional construction materials is accelerated with the harmful chemicals and additives. TechBoard is highly flame resistant, produces no toxic off gasses and is prevents significant heat transfer. The reason is the chemistry…TechBoard contains nearly 50% chemically encapsulated H2O…nearly double the amount of drywall or gypsum which is traditionally used to build 1 hour and 2 hour fire walls.

Technical Data

R-values for TechPanels are dependent on the thickness and type of rigid insulating core. A typical 6 ½” TechPanel is rated at R-28 (effective R-30) and a 8 ½” TechPanel at R-38 (effective R-40). However, actual real-world performance of TechPanels is much better than conventional fibreglass insulation with traditional framing. According to SIPA (Structural Insulated Panel Association), “…R-value doesn’t tell the whole story. Laboratory tests that determine R-value have little resemblance to how insulation actually performs in a home. When real world factors such as air infiltration, extreme temperatures and thermal bridging are present, field-installed fiberglass insulation can lose more than half its R-value

Building with TechBoard has increased benefits to the overall longevity of buildings. TechBoard can be used to replace layers of drywall and OSB (plywood) with a fire, mold and water-resistant solution. Additionally, TechBoard has increased structural capacities compared to traditional drywall and OSB.

It’s no secret that drywall isn’t the strongest for mounting items. Traditional drywall has a screw pullout capacity of 26 pounds of force, while TechBoard has a pullout capacity of almost 10 times that at 232 pounds of force. When hanging items like cabinetry or shelving the placement is typically restricted to finding a stud to anchor screws into. TechBoard’s cement makeup means you don’t need to worry about finding a stud because two layers of fibreglass mesh provides superior strength anywhere along the board. Perfect for using in shops, kitchens, and bathrooms.

TechPanels are manufactured in the same way as traditional structurally insulated panels (SIPs). A rigid core of insulation, typically EPS (extruded polystyrene) is laminated to our proprietary TechBoard. TechPanels are manufactured in one of two manufacturing facilities under strict quality control processes and custom sized to our client’s specifications for their individual project. Wood, steel or composite splines and studs are incorporated as specified by the client in the factory. Electrical chases are pre-cut in the insulation to provide ease of electrical install on the jobsite. The manufacturing process is straightforward and completed by experienced technicians which provides our client with a high quality, high performance solution while reducing the amount of jobsite labour and uncertainty with conventional construction projects….saving our clients money.

Did you know TechPanels can be used roofs and ceilings? During the planning phase we work with engineers to determine if a SIP roof is achievable. We look at things like environmental factors such as heavy snow, wind, size of the roof, location of the build, etc. From there, our engineers will give us the green light and planning can begin. Having a TechPanel roofs create an even more energy efficient building envelope with fire, mould and water resistance. 

TechPanels are perfect for building expansions. Building your expansion with TechPanels creates a highly efficient building envelope that will save you money on your heating and cooling bill. Additionally, TechPanels can be easily integrated with other building methods, allowing for a seamless transition from the existing building to the expansion.

U-value is also known as thermal transmittance and is the rate of transfer of heat through a structure divided by the difference in temperature across that structure. Different materials and different construction methods have different U-values which can result in heat or cooling loss as energy is transferred between the exterior and interior or vice versa. TechPanels have significantly lower U-values than conventional framing and fibreglass insulation.

All TechPanels come with pre cut electrical chases. By default there are two horizontal and two vertical chases that line up perfectly with the electrical for switches and plugs. Since all TechPanels are custom made for every build we can customize the placement of the electrical channels during the planning process to create panels that exactly suit any design.

Just like traditional building methods all SIPs can be customized for optimal plumbings, venting and electrical placement. During the planning stage of your build, our designers work with you and your building plans to make sure all the chases are cut into the correct panels. Once the panels arrive on the build site all the chases and openings will be labeled so there will be no additional cutting needed when plumbing and electrical are installed.