The Murus Company Inc.
- Written by: Erica Berry
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
The Murus Company Inc. (Murus) was founded in 1987 by Steve Keller solely to research, develop and manufacture the highest performing structural insulated panels (SIPs) available. Since its inception, the Murus manufacturing facility in Mansfield, Penn., has exclusively produced SIPS. By continually focusing on its product and process improvements, the company is able to maintain the highest level of quality possible.
“We incorporate diligent quality control procedures and contract with an independent third-party quality assurance agency to audit and inspect our processes and insulated panel products,” says Jamie Jenkins, general manager of Murus.
Murus SIPS use construction methods that offer critical advantages over traditional stick-frame construction. The insulated panel system allows for shorter construction timeframes, quicker enclosure and significantly reduced labor costs. Additionally, due to the solid core insulated panel construction, Murus SIPs result in a high performance, tightly sealed building envelope, which are three to five times tighter than typical enclosure systems.
Upholding a legacy
SIPs have been used in construction since 1952. The product consists of a rigid foam insulation core bonded between two layers of rigid oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing skins. SIPs offer a number of benefits, including structural strength, unmatched energy efficiency and reduced construction and labor time. Murus, which has been manufacturing SIPS for over 25 years, started manufacturing with its flagship polyurethane core panels and now produces SIPS made with a variety of core materials and skins with R-values up to 72.
In order to stay relevant and meet industry demands, the company continues to expand and adopt new technologies, as well as state-of-the-art computer-controlled equipment. Using its high-tech tools, Murus is able to manufacture and cut specialty and custom products for clients that are beyond the capabilities of most other SIP manufacturers.
“Our products are third-party listed and code approved,” explains Jamie. “We can meet almost any specification, which is unique in the industry as many manufacturers only offer one core material.”
Murus SIPs are used on building projects throughout the United States and around the globe. The company works primarily in new construction with commercial contractors and residential builders; furthermore, Murus has the ability to meet custom requests and the capacity to take on large projects.
Green building supporter
The green building movement continues to gain momentum as more builders and owners embrace the value of environmentally conscious approaches; Murus is leading the pack. The company has always been concerned for the environment and the conservation of natural resources, and its products are a reflection of Murus’ commitment to sustainability.
Because Murus SIPs contribute significantly to a reduction in heating and cooling loads, it allows for decreased consumption of fossil fuels, which ensures continued comfort in homes and buildings without sacrificing the integrity of the environment. Murus products positively impact a structure’s carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thus helping to save limited fossil fuel resources.
“Because Murus SIPs are engineered and built to perform, they make for a more efficient, energy-saving home,” Jamie says. “They’re a reliable and effective product for green building projects.”
A number of environmental and green industry standard factors go into the creation of Murus SIPs, with special attention to sustainability, indoor air quality and reduced waste. For example, the OSB used in Murus SIPs is made from fast-growing, renewable softwood and hardwood species, such as pine, poplar and aspen. These species are harvested from managed self-regenerating forests or tree plantations. Additionally, Murus SIPs create an extremely airtight enclosure, which makes it easy to control and maintain a structure’s indoor air quality.
In September 2011, Murus earned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody certification from Scientific Certification Systems, one of the world’s leading FSC certifiers. FSC provides third-party certification confirming that materials sold as FSC-certified are harvested from well-managed forest operations. Murus can now offer the option to incorporate FSC-certified oriented strand board in its structural insulated panels. The new certification contributes valuable points for end-users striving for LEED certification for building projects.
As a proponent for environmentally friendly building practices, Murus has been a regular exhibitor at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (Greenbuild), the world’s largest conference for those dedicated to the green movement. “We’ve exhibited Murus products five times over the last six years,” says Jamie. “Greenbuild is where we connect with the decision makers in our industry.”
In 2014, Murus products were used to complete jobs in a variety of markets, from private homes to office buildings and a homeless shelter in Arizona. Murus products will be used on nearly 350 projects this year, with a projected increase each year to come. The company has 60 active projects on the books and many more scheduled, including a Boys and Girls Club in Nantucket and a school project in central New Jersey.
Among its recent endeavors, the company supplied 50,000 square feet of product for a school project just west of New Orleans; 34,000 square feet of product for the Delaware DOT headquarters; and has also completed numerous net zero energy residential projects in the Washington D.C. and Maryland areas.
Murus products have also been used in many tiny house projects, measuring about 200 square feet each. As a tribute to the company’s products, all of the Murus plant buildings are constructed using Murus SIPS, and both Jamie and Chris Bloom, Murus’ sales manager, own and live in homes built with Murus products.
A notable international project, Murus SIPs were utilized in a multi-building commercial development located in the Cayman Islands, which paid for the cost of the Murus SIP enclosure in energy savings within the first two years of occupation. The buildings, which functioned as a grocery market and a combination of single- and two-story outdoor strip mall, covered approximately 90,000 square feet.
“They reported energy savings that will exceed the total cost of the building in a few short years,” says Jamie. For this project, Murus supplied the developer with the structural steel and the SIP enclosure consisting of polyurethane core cement board skin wall panels and polyurethane-treated plywood skin roof panels.
Murus employs 35 people and is currently constructing a new 30,000-square-foot building of additional manufacturing space, also using SIPS. The company plans to continue its commitment to the green building movement and pave the way for more sustainable building practices. The Murus Company Inc. shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
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