For many years, housing for US Military personnel at forward operating bases has consisted of poor quality, shed-like buildings constructed of dimensional lumber and plywood. These buildings are commonly referred to as Barracks Huts or B-Huts. B-Huts have a number of shortcomings, including complicated construction operations, poor durability, and poor insulative properties. These characteristics lead to slow base camp commissioning, poor lifespan, and high fuel consumption rates. To address these shortcomings, the US Army is currently investigating a different housing system based on structural insulated panels (SIPs); it is referred to as the SIP-Hut. Initial findings suggest that the SIP-Hut offers improved performance with respect to construction, durability, and insulation. To ensure proper use of the SIP-Hut, the lifecycle costs and environmental implications should be understood and compared with those of the B-Hut. This study set out to make this comparison. The results of the study show that the use of SIP-Huts will result in lower operating greenhouse gas emissions (32% - 51% less across the scenarios considered), lower operating costs (as much as $14,505 less per year, per hut), and lower risk of casualties. Although the upfront costs and emissions associated with the SIP-Hut are greater than those of the B-Hut, they are paid back within a reasonable timeframe (1 month to 5 years, depending on the scenario considered). The SIP-Hut also shows potential for use in non-military applications, such as disaster relief operations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Barracks--Materials--Costs; Barracks--Materials--Environmental aspects; Wall panels; Life cycle costing

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Sustainable Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)


Brian Thorn

Advisor/Committee Member

Marcos Esterman

Advisor/Committee Member

Todd Dunn


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at UC400 .G43 2014

KGeboThesisSupplement.xlsx (200 kB)


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes