The price of lumber has skyrocketed since April due to pandemic-induced shortages from slowed or stopped lumber mill production.  Home-bound residents have also added to the lumber shortage with their do-it-yourself projects.  Fortunately, there are alternatives to conventional lumber that are both cost-effective and energy efficient—insulated concrete forms (ICFs) and structural insulated panels (SIPs).

ICFs are expanded polystyrene (commonly called Styrofoam) blocks typically 48” long and 16” tall which interlock together similar to Legos.  The interior of the blocks is hollow to allow for placement of reinforcing steel and concrete.  This produces very strong and energy-efficient a structural concrete wall with an R-Value of around 23.  For comparison, a typical 2×6 wall with batt insulation has an R-Value of around 15.  ICFs can only be used for walls but there are similar products designed for use as floors and roofs.

SIPs consist of Oriented Strand Board (OSB, made from fast growing harvest trees) skins pressure laminated to an EPS core.  Although SIP construction does require some lumber, the amount required is a small fraction of that required for a conventionally-framed structure.  SIPs have the advantage of little thermal bridging, easy construction, faster build times, and little waste on the job site. And, SIPs can be used for walls, roofs, and floors.  With a true R-Value ranging from 23 to 48, SIPs are one of the most energy efficient building products on the market today.

Wright Engineers is experienced in the structural design of both ICF and SIP structures.



By some estimates, nearly 4.6 million new apartment units will be needed by 2030.  Ovation Development and Humphreys & Partners Architects have teamed up to meet that demand with another high-quality housing development.  Construction of the Grand Canyon Apartments is well underway at Grand Canyon and Tropicana in Las Vegas.  The project is right next door to the recently completed 185-unit senior housing apartments, also by Humphreys and Ovation.  When complete, the project will feature 286 residential units.  Wright Engineers is pleased to provide the structural engineering for both developments.



Wright Engineers teamed up with Stucki Brothers Landscape Maintenance to participate in the 22nd Annual 98.5 KLUC Chet Buchannan Show Toy Drive assisting Las Vegas Families in need this Holiday Season.  Donations are managed through HELP of Southern Nevada, who’s mission is to help people help themselves by connecting them to services, training and referrals they need to be successful and self-sufficient.  Ben Rogers, principal structural engineer in Wright’s Las Vegas office, led the efforts of our Las Vegas team.  In addition to raising money for gifts, Ben and other volunteers spent a Saturday assembling over 400 bikes and scooters purchased with the donations.



…to you and yours this holiday season.