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MgO USA has Become the Simplus Building System

From Tim Sweeney, Architect, NCARB, LEED AP

A magnesium Oxide (MgO) based Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) that sets the standard in value and Reliability

As We Began:


In 2008, MgO USA began providing what was then a brand new innovation for the Reno area, Magnesium Oxide (MgO) faced Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).  For the first time ever, Reno had access to the building system that offered unparalleled advantages over conventional construction:

SIPs' advantages include:

  • Up to 55% Faster Construction Time
  • Up to 41% Labor Cost Savings
  • Simple and Easy Assembly
  • Accurate, factory-fabricated design
  • Increased Durability
  • Superior Insulative Properties
  • Airtight Construction
  • Noncombustible Properties
  • Stronger, Safer, and much less Wasteful.

Today, our MgO SIPs, combined with Passive House™ design, have become our Simplus Building System™.

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MgO USA SIPs differ from traditional SIPs in several ways.  Firstly, they do not have OSB (oriented strand board) face sheets; they instead have Magnesium Oxide (MgO) face sheets.  The MgO face sheets are more durable, unaffected by fire, water, water vapor, or insects, do not need an additional layer of gypsum board prior to finishing the interior, and they have no toxicity to worry about.

Even better, the MgO USA SIPs that Tim Sweeney supplies from MGO Systems (Canada) have face sheets that are made with a specially formulated MgO composition, have a variety of insulation cores available, and are bonded together with superior adhesives, making a much more reliable and environmental-friendly building component for use in nearly any project.  These panels can be used for basements and foundation walls, interior and exterior walls, floors, roofs, and decks, and can be finished in any manner desired.  Interior finishes can be as simple as tape and texturing the interior faces, and the exterior finishes can be as elaborate as stone veneers and other sidings.  Often a synthetic stucco coating directly applied to the panels, such as available from GigaCrete®, Dryvit®, Sto®, and others, directly applied to the exterior of the wall panels, will result in both a most economical and attractive finish.

Find out how our MgO SIPS are part of our Simplus Building System™ and Passive House™ design.

Responsible Design and Construction

MgO SIPs can often be the Faster, Less Expensive, and Higher Quality solution to a client's needs, and the determining factors regarding the selection of MgO SIPs are often, price, availability, and the experience of the Design and Construction Professionals.

With the advantages of MgO SIPs being known and the techniques being understood, then a responsible Design Professional will often choose to use MgO SIPs when they are available at a competitive price and when they are suitable for the design under consideration.  

Similarly, builders who are aware of and understand how to take advantage of MgO SIPs are also often choosing MgO SIPs as their preferred method of building.

Those who do not choose to design or build using MgO SIPs often either are not aware of them or their superiority, don't understand how to work with them, are afraid to learn how to do something differently, don't have a project that lends itself to the use of SIPs, or are in an area where MgO SIPs are not readily available to them.  The answer to this situation is simple.  They need just undertake the very short learning curve efforts and then look for opportunities to better serve their clients with More Responsible Design and Construction methods whenever the product and the projects are compatible.

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Better SIPs

MgO SIPs offer higher quality SIPs than do the ordinary OSB-faced SIPs since the MgO SIPs are faced with magnesium oxide (MgO) sheets that are similar to cement boards.  As a result, MgO SIPs' face sheets have none of the problems that wood-based face sheets exhibit.  Water will not cause rot, mold, or disintegration of the face sheets, insects have no interest in the MgO materials, as they are neither a food nor a nesting source, and fire does not affect the MgO sheets at all as the material is non-combustible and is commonly used as liner bricks in kilns and refractories.  MgO sheets are also less brittle, more flexible, and easier to work with than the cement sheets.  From a sustainability view point, the MgO materials require less fuel to manufacturer and can be recycled.


MgO SIPs are available from MgO USA throughout the entire United States, and MgO USA has strong relationships with other allied organizations that can provide MgO SIPs in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the Asia-Pacific Regions.  MgO SIPs may also be made available in other areas from time to time on a project-by-project or other agreement basis.


SIPs have been shown to be an incredibly versatile, fast, and economical way of building.  The proof of such can easily be found in the landmark study performed by R.S. Means, as commissioned by BASF.

We have made the Time & Motion Study available to you as a free download:

The study shows that ordinary SIPs (in this case, OSB-faced) can be erected up to 55% faster and with 41% less cost (depending on crane usage) than traditional 2x6 stick framing and sheathing for the shell of a home.  The cost savings of SIPs can actually be even greater compared to other heavier methods, such as concrete block, brick, poured-in-place concrete, and insulating concrete form (ICF) construction.


Interested? Let's get in touch!

Interested in MgO SIPs or the Simplus Building System™ or Passive House design, contact Tim Sweeney, Architect.