Energy Efficiency and Building Science News

CA Builders Detail Their Approach to Net-Zero Homes

Wed, 2018-12-05 17:12
Building Science

Building green homes in Napa requires a combination of abiding by national standards, learning about the local natural environment and being aware of how light and heat change over the course of a day in Napa Valley.

A typical green home rewards its owner by using less energy and water, providing a monthly saving on utilities, and maintaining cleaner indoor air than a conventional home. There are many aspects of green building to consider, from heating to materials to protecting local bird populations.

Mike Zimmer, chief building official of Napa County, said mandatory and voluntary measures affect green residential home construction.

“The California Green Building Standards Code (which took effect Aug. 1, 2009) is the nation’s first statewide green building code,” said Zimmer.

Zimmer said even individuals doing a remodel or a small room addition can review “green elements” of home construction with a contractor.

In California, builders should be aware of the “southwest exposure,” the direction in which sunlight comes into a house.

“It helps if you orient the house so the windows and openings face the southeast. That way, you can take in more sunlight during the day. Not having to turn the lights on early in the morning and late at night saves you energy,” said Zimmer.

Zimmer said people who are low-income or on a budget can get assistance to make a home green by looking to the appropriate agency.

“If you’re retired and on a fixed income, different agencies in the state will repair or replace certain items for free. For example, the California Conservation Corps (CCC) will replace refrigerators, upgrade lighting, and change water fixtures for you. The California Department of Housing will assist with weatherization,” said Zimmer.

Kenneth Russo, founder of Green Builder, a Vallejo-based contractor who builds green homes in Napa, advises several materials for green homes.

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“When you build where there is a risk of fires, you should use fire-resistant glass. (You should also have) metal shutters on the exterior of windows so you may close (them) and prevent hot (embers) from entering the home. I recommend metal stud construction for homes as well. It’s economical, fire-resistant, and recyclable. It doesn’t get termites or wood rot,” said Russo.

Russo also recommends a roof made of refractive material, which holds heat in during the winter and keeps heat out during the summer.

“It avoids the stack effect which allows infiltration of hot air into enclosed spaces. That way you do not waste heat or cooled air anywhere in the house. (Another thing you can do) is install vapor barriers underneath the home,” said Russo.

Bob Massaro, CEO of Healthy Buildings in Napa, said the best strategy is starting with a “really good building envelope.”

“Summer months in the Napa Valley can get quite warm. We design and build each home’s ‘building envelope,’ walls, floors and roofs, to be very energy efficient. (This way) the residents are always comfortable and…the requirement for using air conditioning is minimized. We also put solar power on our homes to make sure each home produces as much energy as it consumes. In the building industry, that is called ‘zero-net energy,’” said Massaro.

Massaro advises not using wood on the outside of a home.

“It’s combustible and not allowed in many areas because of fire danger. Wood also does not weather well. We use composite materials, metal siding, and ‘Smart Siding.’ These are durable, low maintenance products that are quite fire resistant,” said Massaro.

Jarrod Denton, architect with Signum Architecture, LLP in St. Helena, said if you build a well-designed and constructed home in Napa Valley, you will not need air conditioning.

“Make sure you get high-performance windows and doors. They perform eight-times better than conventional windows and doors. A well-insulated, airtight home is almost like having a Gore-Tex jacket in a rainstorm. Moisture can escape out. Nothing is allowed in unless you choose to open up the window or doors for a pleasant breeze,” said Denton.


RESNET Director Outlines Building Efficiency Goals

Wed, 2018-12-05 17:03
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Ryan Myers, program director for RESNET, recently outlined his top priorities for 2019 in an interview with Edward Keegan.  According to the resulting article, Myers most important responsibility is to increase the number of HERS-rated homes in the U.S. above the current level of 200,000.

Here are a few key initiatives Myers outlined to achieve that goal:

“…get HERS index scores into real estate listings by educating appraisers to recognize the value of HERS-rated homes.

…move toward performance-based codes, noting that the prescriptive path has developed to a point where it’s difficult to get efficiency gains across the board.

…developing a whole-house water efficiency rating with RESNET, which will be an ANSI standard when it’s finished.”

Ultimately, Meres states ratings systems like HERS are a useful tool for builders and designers.

“The projected HERS rating is based on plans and specs,” Meres explains. “We can provide different solutions than the builder may have thought of—by switching out windows or using a different kind of insulation to achieve the same R-value.”

Tips for Designing with Insulated Metal Panels

Wed, 2018-12-05 16:48
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) are an exterior cladding system that can be used on virtually any type of facility and are commonly found on industrial-type structures such as storage buildings or warehouses.

IMPs offer design and construction teams numerous benefits, such as quick installation, advanced thermal performance and a tight, continuous air/weather barrier. This continuous insulation, which meets the 2015 Washington State Energy Code requirements, also helps minimize heating and cooling costs. 

Editor’s Note: For in-depth information and best practices for designing and installing continuous insulation, check out:

To ensure the building envelope performs properly in structures that incorporate IMPs, designers need to pay close attention to how the IMP system interfaces with adjacent envelope and structural systems to achieve optimal performance. When working with building owners and designers, Nexus bec Inc. focuses on avoiding thermal bridging, selecting the right sealants and correctly sealing penetrations through the IMP system. When these details are specifically addressed, owners can get the most out of this efficient and cost-effective system.

Avoid thermal bridging

Thermal bridging occurs when a material that is more conductive than the materials around it spans continuously from the exterior of a wall assembly to the interior of a wall assembly, effectively creating a bridge through the thermal barrier of the wall that allows for the accelerated flow of heat. This frequently occurs at wall studs and is commonly visible on cold days where framing appears to be “shadowed” on the exterior face of walls.

Any structure is susceptible to thermal bridging, but it is a specific concern with metal-framed structures. The biggest concern is thermal bridging will allow for condensation to occur within a wall assembly or on structural members, frequently resulting in deterioration and organic growth within insulation and on gypsum sheathing.

A completed wall with IMPs is right of the Tyvek wrap. The Tyvek area will have CMU veneer installed, with IMPs over the exposed framing. 

This sealant joint separated likely due to movement of the flashing. 

From an energy-efficiency standpoint, thermal bridging has a significant negative impact on the effectiveness of the building’s insulation. For example, metal-framed walls with only batt insulation can see a reduced effectiveness of the insulation of up to 63 percent due to thermal bridging.

Advances in IMP construction and detailing, particularly in sealing at panel joints, have helped remedy this issue. This exterior cladding system itself is designed to avoid thermal bridging; however, it is still possible to find IMP systems that do not properly address this concern due to insufficient joint detailing, improper roof-to-wall transitions, and transitions from IMPs to other adjacent materials.

Generally, IMP packages are designed as a complete system, but often project-specific details for transitions are left to the general contractor to determine in the field if not properly captured during design. Design-build projects are most susceptible to “gaps” in the details. For this reason, it is important to pay close attention to joint detailing and how well the IMP details allow for integration with adjacent materials when selecting a system.

Selecting sealants

Sealants and self-adhered membranes are a critical component in any IMP system and the role it plays as part of the whole building air barrier. The exterior metal face on the IMP will naturally expand and contract with changes in exterior temperature throughout the seasons or even over the course of a day. This thermal expansion may cause panels to bow and shift, putting tremendous strain on sealant joints, both adhesively and cohesively.

It is crucial the design team specify sealants or self-adhered membranes that provide durability, flexibility and exceptional elongation properties over the life of the IMP system.

When specifying a sealant, design teams must consider the regional and specific micro-climate around the building, taking into account solar exposure of the panels, wind exposure and potential sources of humidity that may impact both the installation and long-term performance of the sealant.

Considerations beyond climatic conditions potentially affecting the sealant and air-barrier performance are structural movement anticipated (i.e. high wind exposure) and the intended use of the building where excessive temperature and humidity may be present on the interior.

These types of conditions may further concentrate performance issues on the sealant joints, which are the most dynamic part of the IMP system. It is important to consult with the IMP manufacturer to make sure the sealant specified has proper adhesion qualities for the intended use, followed with an adhesion test to ASTM standards.

Seal from air and water

Every building will have some sort of punched opening, such as windows and doors. It is essential these openings, along with the transitions from slab/foundation to walls, walls-to-roof assemblies and other penetrations (louvers, vents, electrical junction boxes, security cameras, etc.) are properly detailed to ensure a proper seal for air and water.

The redundancy and layering of built wall systems do not exist in the barrier-type system of an IMP, particularly leaving penetrations exposed to climatic conditions. Since many IMP manufacturers often provide full installation details for their systems, it is easy to overlook these critical, project-specific details. For this reason, the design team needs to work collaboratively with the contractor and perform specific site visits during construction to verify the integrity and quality of installation and detailing in the field.

Achieving energy efficiency

Insulated metal panels are an effective and efficient way to clad a building that not only meets state and local energy code requirements, but also provides building owners with a facility that is air- and water-tight. However, these systems are not perfect and require special attention to the unique design issues outlined above.

With so many factors to consider, Nexus works closely with designers, construction teams and building owners to ensure the components of an IMP system are properly selected, detailed and installed.


Addressing Moisture in Unvented Attics with Spray Foam

Wed, 2018-12-05 16:31
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Editor’s Note: For in-depth information and best practices for designing and installing foam insulation, check out:

To some, unvented attic construction using spray foam insulation is a fairly new approach in home building. With it, the orientation and type of insulation applied to the top of the building enclosure has changed from the traditional way, and so temperature and moisture conditions experienced by various assembly elements will be impacted. As a result, some in the building industry have experienced concern with this construction approach.

Moisture Concerns

Roof Leaks

The issue of water leakage from the exterior is sometimes raised as a concern. From a design perspective, attic venting is not provided to address roof leaks. The basic design assumption regarding all roofing systems is that the roof system deflects water away from moisture-sensitive materials. If it does not do this, it has failed.

Spray foam insulation performance can offer different ways to address problematic situations:

Open-cell foams will tend to leak closer to the point of water entry making leaks easier to identify and locate. Note that not all open-cell spray foam insulations have the exact same physical properties as some are able to absorb a significant amount of water which could aggravate moisture conditions in an attic.

Closed-celled foams will perform better in terms of deflecting water away from interior element,s but in some cases leaks may go undetected longer. Many have been tested as a water resistive barrier.

Vapor Diffusion

The superior air sealing performance of spray foam insulation, both open- and closed-cell, results in moisture movement by vapor diffusion increasing in importance. Building code vapor retarder requirements for unvented attic construction have been in place since the 2009 IRC and have resulted in thousands of successful assemblies that contain spray foam. Closed-celled foams can meet vapor retarder class II requirements at minimal thicknesses, thereby proving a popular choice in Climate Zones 5 through 8 where such requirements apply. In Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, and 4 the use of open-cell spray foam, with their vapor permeable nature, will allow the drying of roof sheathing and framing as diffusion allows moisture to pass through the spray foam out of sheathing and structural elements.

Lately, discussions related to open-cell spray foam in unvented attics, vapor drives and humidity levels have appeared. It appears that many opinions presented are based on limited building science field research, generalize a complicated building science situation, and doesn’t fully explain the continued successful, long-term performance of spray foam insulated unvented attics in hot climates. There is a significant emphasis on computer simulations in these discussions. The movement of air and moisture in real buildings is a complex and dynamic group of reactions that are difficult, if not impossible, to fully and properly model in a computer analysis.

Some roof assemblies use very vapor impermeable materials such as “peel and stick” membranes to cover the entire roof sheathing exterior. Care should be taken with these assemblies in Cold Climate Zones in that the manufacturers of these materials assume that roof deck may require ventilation to assist drying. If spray foam is used in these climates zones vapor retarder requirements apply, drying to the interior is limited, and a vented space may still be needed directly under the roof deck. In Warm Climate Zones, vapor permeable open cell spray foam would facilitate drying of the assembly to the interior, making a vent space under the roof deck unnecessary.

Air Leakage

For unvented attics, having the spray foam layer applied continuously from the roof/wall intersection to the roof peak, at the specified thickness, encapsulating the entire interior surface area of the attic will hinder airborne moisture entry while providing an energy efficient environment. Coverage gaps could lead to moist outdoor air entry, and since a venting system is not place, higher humidity levels could result. Spray foam installers that have successfully gone through manufacturer or trade-association delivered application training are more likely to deliver the installation needed.  

Temperature Concerns

Among the significant issues that get raised pertaining to unvented attics is concern over asphalt shingle temperature/durability in hot climates. Generally, it has been found by researchers that the net impact of eliminating venting is to raise shingle temperatures only by five to eight degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, it was found that shingle temperature was affected more severely by factors such as geographic location, roof slope and orientation, and shingle color. The effect on roof sheathing temperatures in unvented attic was similarly shown to be of negligible concern.

But, the lack of understanding of these issues has prompted some manufacturers to reduce or eliminate their warranty on shingles applied to unvented roof assemblies. Were warranties based on scientific evidence, it would be logical that they should also be altered based on geographic location—one should expect to get a different warranty in Las Vegas versus Minneapolis. In any event, a growing number of manufacturers are offering competitive warranties for roofing over unvented attic assemblies recognizing a significant marketing opportunity for their products.

In cold climate locations with significant snowfalls, ice dam formation on roofs is a real concern. The problem is that warm house air can melt the snow on an uninsulated roof when attic venting is blocked. Insulating and providing airtightness with spray foam at the underside of the roof as part of an unvented attic assembly will elevate such concerns.

Spray foam insulation in an unvented attic assembly has been one of the most researched and widely implemented innovations of recent years. Over time, feedback from builders and building owners has been and continues to be overwhelmingly positive, especially in the areas of moisture performance, energy efficiency, and building durability.  


Beacon Roofing Posts 50% Net Sales Increase

Wed, 2018-12-05 16:07

Despite the challenges posed by weather in the fourth quarter, Beacon Roofing Supply's net sales rose 50% year-over-year, according to a news release. Fourth quarter net sales rose to a record $1.9 billion according to the company.

Most of the boost in sales came from the acquisition of Allied Building Products, a deal that was closed in January. Excluding the impact of acquisition related costs and the non-recurring tax reform, Beacon's net income grew 27.8% year-over-year to $84.1 million in the fourth quarter.

Sales in the residential roofing product market grew 17.8% in the quarter, while complementary product sales grew 170.6% over the prior year. Excluding acquisitions, though, Beacon's sales decreased 5.6% in the quarter. The company attributed the decrease to weather-related events.

Beacon said fourth quarter results were positively impacted by price gains across all product lines and improved gross margin performance. Fourth quarter gross margins expanded by 40 basis points compared to the year-earlier period to 25.4%. Gross profit increased 52.3% year over year to $491.3 million.

The quarter results were negatively impacted by existing market sales declines, higher operating costs, and an increase in interest expense and preferred dividend payments that were both primarily related to the acquisition of Allied, according to the company. While the Allied acquisition helped boosted Beacon's sales numbers, it also impacted the firm's costs. Selling, general, and administrative fees went up 60.3% to $328.7 million. Selling, general, and administrative fees as a percentage of revenues climbed up from 15.8% to 17.0% in the July-to-September 2018 quarter. Depreciation jumped 110.3% to 18.7 million and amortization swelled nearly 68%.

Hendron, Va.-based Beacon, the 3rd largest company in the ProSales 100, recorded a fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA—income before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization—of $178.3 million, a 34.4% year-over-year increase.

"Despite significant weather impact top-line challenges, we are encouraged by our fourth quarter and fiscal 2018 progress," Beacon president and CEO Paul Isabella said in the news release. "Synergies from the Allied acquisition are exceeding expectations. We will build upon these successes in 2019 by leveraging our 2,000 person salesforce and vast network of over 500 branches to drive top-line growth, supported by the ongoing expansion of our robust digital platform."

Below the operating line, interest expense rose 174% to $37.1 million. The company's balance sheet lists goodwill as making up $2.5 billion of its $6.5 billion in assets. On the liabilities side, long-term debt totals $2.5 billion.

DuPont Launches New Tyvek DrainVent Rainscreen

Wed, 2018-12-05 16:05
Building Science

DuPont Safety & Construction, a business unit of DowDuPont Specialty Products Division, today announced the release of the DuPont™ Tyvek® DrainVent™ Rainscreen to provide advanced protection against moisture damage in exterior wall systems. The product is the business’ first roll good offering that creates a 6mm (0.25”) space for water drainage and air movement for drying behind cladding.

The Tyvek® DrainVent™ can be installed behind stucco, stone veneer, brick, wood, fiber cement and metal panel systems. And helps to prolong the life of exterior cladding by creating a gap that helps prevent rot, cracking and peeling problems. The product replaces the intervening layer required with stucco and stone, while the attached heavy-duty filter fabric prevents mortar and stucco infiltration.

A benefit to contractors looking for time efficient products, Tyvek® DrainVent™ is easy to cut and install, lays flat and rolls tight against corners, helping protect against poor installation and detailing errors. The heavy-duty filter fabric keeps mortar out, helps create a flat surface to allow the cladding to lay flat and has a high perm rating so it is very breathable. Thanks to its unique three-dimensional honeycomb-textured design and durability, it also provides uniform nonstructural support for the various claddings.

“We are bringing new solutions to help our customers build high-performance walls and provide peace of mind for homebuyers desiring the most popular claddings and designs. DuPont™ Tyvek® DrainVent™ helps walls dry by simply letting water drain, and air to circulate behind the cladding, to help prevent long-term damage to the structure,” said Alan Hubbell, Residential Market Manager, Performance Building Solutions, DuPont Safety & Construction. “The new offering is an important addition to our DuPont™ Tyvek® weatherization portfolio and customers can rest assured it will offer the performance, reliability and durability expected from a leader like DuPont.”

Tyvek® DrainVent™ includes a 10-year limited product warranty, and a 10-year limited product and labor warranty if installed properly with DuPont™ Tyvek® wrap and flashing products. For customers to ensure they are eligible for the warranty, it’s recommended that 

Tyvek® water-resistive barriers, like HomeWrap®, be used underneath Tyvek® DrainVent™ rainscreen. DuPont™ Tyvek® Tape and DuPont Flashing Products are suggested as well to ensure optimal building envelope performance. Using Tyvek® full system of products in this way will enable customers to take advantage of the available warranties. In addition to the warranty, the Tyvek® Specialist Network is available across the United States for additional information and customer support.

Tyvek® DrainVent™ also features a Class “A” fire rating per ASTM E84, the standard test method for surface burning characteristics of building materials.


JohnsManville Completes Expansion of TPO Production Line

Wed, 2018-12-05 16:03

Johns Manville (JM), a Berkshire Hathaway company and leading building products manufacturer, announced today the completion of a TPO expansion project in Scottsboro, Ala., to manufacture 12-foot-wide TPO roofing sheets. The announcement comes as the company celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its renowned TPO roofing product and production in Scottsboro, beginning in 2008.

“We are proud of the performance with our TPO product line,” said Joe Smith, president of Roofing Systems at Johns Manville. “Our Scottsboro manufacturing facility plays a vital role in ensuring product availability for our North American customers. This second production line increases capacity and our ability to develop products to meet the needs of commercial roofing contractors and distributors.”

TPO is the fastest growing commercial roofing membrane in the U.S. Now, JM can offer 12-foot sheets and 6-foot sheets. The new production gives contractors working on commercial roofing projects more choices to meet their project needs.

“Our goal is always to offer best-in-class products to our customers and to meet their growing business needs,” said Jennifer Ford-Smith, director of sales for JM Roofing Systems. “The 12-foot-wide TPO is a product that many customers have wanted to buy from JM. We are delighted to add the wider sheet to our broad portfolio of roofing products.”

The expansion project to add a second production line will create more than 25 new jobs in Scottsboro. JM expects more jobs will be added in the coming years.

“This plant has been a dynamic part of the Scottsboro community since 2008,” said Jeff Maxson, group plant manager-single ply for JM Roofing Systems. “A larger workforce means we have more opportunity to participate in state and local community activities. We have long enjoyed supporting local food banks, the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life and other important organizations in the community.”

JM’s 12-foot-wide TPO product will be available in all thicknesses – 45, 60 and 80 mils. The new, wider product became available in early July and is at distribution facilities across the country including Scottsboro, Ala.; Rockdale, Ill.; Hazelton, Penn.; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Tracy, Calif.

Kingspan Wins ‘Top Trusted Brand’ of Insulation Award

Wed, 2018-12-05 15:56

The latest Top Trusted Brands survey by Architecture & Design has once again named Kingspan Insulation as the Top Trusted Brand in Insulation. Kingspan extends their winning streak by topping this category for the fifth consecutive survey.

More than 600 brands were in the running for the awards. The survey collected over 6,000 responses, which ranked their favourite brands in the architecture and design space across 30 categories. Kingspan Insulation has held the title of Top Trusted Brand in the Insulation category since the awards were established in 2012.

Kingspan’s success comes from the fact that the brand provides the widest range of Code-Mark certified insulation products and offers full support through their expert technical and customer services.

Customer responses to the survey explain exactly why it has remained on top of the list for so long.

“Top service, quality products, and excellent technical support. Kingspan are leaders in the industry around the world.”

“I have referred numerous family, friends and businesses onto Kingspan insulation products. Their quality, commitment, honest can-do attitude far outweigh any other product or competitor in the market today. They are of the highest safety standards and will proudly back this with hardcopy records of strict quality control testing and stats. I have dealt with the SA team on a few occasions and I find them highly innovative, trusting and extremely proactive with their service to the wider business community. Kingspan is definitely my top trusted brand for not only 2018 but past and future also.”

“Every time insulation comes into any discussion Kingspan comes immediately to everyone’s mind.”

“Good advice and an honest approach. We have worked in Singapore and Australia and they have an understanding of the requirements for both countries.”

In response, Kingspan Insulation’s Marketing Manager, Neil Cox said that it came down to the company’s commitment to its customers.

“We are always looking at ways in which we can enhance the brand experience to our customers, and the architects and designers who are specifying our products. We offer a full range of technical support and services and that definitely puts us a step ahead in terms of the trust our customers have in our people, our products and our brand.”

Tax Bill Could Make Commercial Roof Retrofits More Attractive

Wed, 2018-12-05 15:52

There is a new tax reform bill which features enhanced deductions under Section 179 that lower the cost of commercial property improvements, including the roof. This could be a game changer when working with commercial establishments looking to get a new roof or do repairs or even for your own buildings.

This recently modified Section 179 expands the definition of eligible property and increases the amount of associated costs that may be expensed as of January 1, 2018. Certain updates to nonresidential property, including roofs, may now be fully expensed in the year of purchase, rather than depreciating the cost over 39 years.


You repair a small section on one corner of the roof of a rental house. You deduct the cost of the repair as a rental expense. However, if you completely replace the roof, the new roof is an improvement because it is a restoration of the building. You depreciate the cost of the new roof.

Some other changes include the maximum amount that may be immediately deducted from $500,000 to $1 million and increases the phase-out threshold from $2 million to $2.5 million. These new limits may be effective for qualifying property beginning after December 31, 2017 and will be adjusted for inflation following 2018.

We encourage you to talk with your tax professional to see how this may help you and your related sales towards Commercial roofing and insulation!

2020 Polyurethane Conference to be Held in Chicago

Wed, 2018-11-28 16:35
Building Science

Organizers of UTECH North America, the independent polyurethanes conference and trade show, today announced that the next edition of the event will take place May 19-21, 2020, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in Chicago.

“Our attendees and exhibitors spoke, and we listened,” said Debbie Hershfield, Trade Show and Events Director, Crain Global Polymer Group. “The show’s new location will make travel easier than ever for polyurethanes professionals and suppliers traveling from across North America. We’ve already had a lot of positive feedback on the new location and are confident this will be one of our best events to date in North America.”

UTECH North America draws from a broad range of polyurethane professionals representing numerous industries innovating with polyurethane. This includes automotive, aerospace, building and construction, electrical, furniture and bedding, footwear and textiles, mining and offshore, pipes and pipelines, refrigeration and insulation as well as specialist surgical and medical.

Held in conjunction with the conference, the independent UTECH North America trade show connects suppliers and buyers from across the polyurethane industry for two days of networking, learning and identifying new business opportunities. As the only show that is 100 percent polyurethanes, attendees can expect to meet with leading suppliers, including REPI, Chromaflo, Frimo and Max Process Equipment.

To stay up-to-date with the latest information and details for UTECH North America 2020, please visit the event website at: http://www.utech-north-america.comImages and video from UTECH North America 2018 are also available on the event website.


IgCC 2018 Designed to Align with LEED

Wed, 2018-11-28 16:28
Building CodesBuilding Science

The 2018 version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is designed to align seamlessly with LEED.

The code is developed by a coalition of partners, including the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), The American Institute of Architects (AIA), and ASHRAE.

Resilience, EV charging, and required renewables

What’s different about the 2018 code?

First, it looks a bit different because there are two numbering systems. That’s because the code has been completely harmonized with ASHRAE 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. “This version has basically combined the two documents into one,” explained Wes Sullens, director of codes technical development at USGBC. “The standard will exist on its own in markets” internationally, he said, but for all practical purposes, in the U.S. and Canada, the IgCC and ASHRAE 189.1 are one and the same.

USGBC envisions a time when widespread green codes are the foundation of voluntary LEED certification.

As for substantive changes, there are a few of those as well, many designed to align the code more closely with LEED.

“Resilience is now added to the scope as a discrete desire or goal for the code,” said Sullens, who pointed to things like building controls, site design for passive energy strategies, and certain aspects of commissioning “that hopefully allow for better use of buildings in case of interruption.” He added, “There’s not a chapter on resilience” that anyone could point to, but “we spent a lot of time on the committee talking about what does that mean to be a resilient space.”

Other new requirements include:

  • either electric-vehicle charging or preferred parking for green vehicles
  • pre-plumbing for dual-flush bathroom fixtures
  • a new definition of alternative sources of water, with recycled water no longer recognized (“You have to find that water through storage or other means,” Sullens said)
  • real-time displays of energy use for building managers
  • post-occupancy planning for an indoor air quality survey
  • a small amount of onsite renewable energy (although there is an alternative path that does not require this)

Barriers to adoption

“The ultimate goal is to get adoptions,” pointed out Dave Walls, executive director of sustainability programs at the International Code Council, speaking at a reception at Greenbuild 2018 in Chicago. Although many jurisdictions have adopted some version of the IgCC, he said, “a lot of jurisdictions were struggling with how to adopt it and how to comply with it.”

One issue that hinders adoption is the sense that codes should focus on life-safety issues, but Walls disagreed with the notion that the IgCC doesn’t address life safety. By helping buildings avoid contributing greenhouse gas emissions, the code directly affects health and safety, he argued, pointing to heat waves, drought, fires, and floods as examples of life-safety issues that stem from climate change. “Green codes work hand-in-hand with the safety codes,” he said.

Another issue that hinders adoption is confusion about how the code relates to LEED certification, which some jurisdictions require already. That’s why USGBC has released a chart showing how closely the new IgCC aligns with LEED, with all the LEED prerequisites and 20 points’ worth of credits being easily achievable with the code, making LEED certification easier after that.

LEED will also use alternative compliance paths to align with the code, much like what’s happened with CalGreen, the green construction code in California, according to Sullens.

We can get there from here

Sullens emphasized USGBC’s mission of green buildings for all and said that’s why the organization participates in green code development. “LEED really needs the codes to pick up the core strategies in order for us to keep innovating at the top,” he said. “Otherwise, we’re going to lose the market.”

He said that the coalition working together on development “sends a powerful message,” adding, “It’s all part of a spectrum that we’re all promoting.”


Sustainable Community Rating Incorporated into LEED

Wed, 2018-11-28 16:16
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that the STAR Community Rating System, which offers certification for sustainable communities, will be fully integrated into USGBC’s LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs. This integration will help advance healthy, green and economically strong cities and communities – and reflects USGBC’s partnership with STAR Communities, the non-profit that runs the STAR rating system.

USGBC’s LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs provide third-party verification of the current performance of built-out cities and communities.

“Integrating the STAR Community Rating System into LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities, will bring us closer to our goal of advancing sustainable cities and communities around the world,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO, USGBC. “We are helping cities develop responsible, sustainable and specific plans for energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors that contribute to raising the standard of living for all people around the world.”

The 75 cities and communities that have achieved STAR certification and the 20 additional cities and communities that are seeking STAR certification will now transfer into the family of LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities. Hilari Varnadore, the director of the STAR Communities program, has also joined USGBC as the director of the LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs.

“STAR has been a longtime collaborator with USGBC,” said Hilari Varnadore, director, USGBC. “In fact, the STAR Community Rating System was inspired by LEED, and developed with LEED in mind. Through this integration, these exceptional STAR communities will reach an even higher level of leadership where they will be able to benchmark their current performance, home in on targeted metrics to achieve continuous improvement, and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, human health and economic prosperity. They also send the signal to city planners and policy makers that radical transparency and accountability are necessary to ensure a new generation of places where people, nature and businesses can all thrive.”

The City of Columbia, S.C., was recently certified under STAR. “As mayor of the City of Columbia, South Carolina I could not be more pleased that our city’s performance – and continued commitment to improve that performance – qualifies us to join the illustrious ranks of LEED cities around the world,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin, also Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Our STAR certification – earned last December – has provided a great foundation for future work with the U.S. Green Building Council, and we look forward to openly tracking and communicating our continued social, economic and environmental performance so that the people of Columbia can be assured of our measurable progress.”

The development of equitable, safe, healthy, sustainable cities and communities at USGBC dates back to the development of LEED for Neighborhood Development more than a decade ago. As new technologies are developed and new strategies devised, there is a growing consciousness of the collective role sustainability plays in human health and wellness.

“At USGBC, we have a vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation,” added Ramanujam. “In order to realize a sustainable future for all, the next generation of green building must focus on the development of smart and resilient cities and communities. Our cities must champion equitable, safe and healthy development policies; advanced technologies that improve the performance of their communities and cities; and incorporate concepts like wellness and human experience into city planning, development and management.”

Cities and communities face many challenges in this day and age—citizens are demanding more transparency and information about the places where they live, work, learn and play. LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities address these concerns on a global scale.

LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs are helping to accelerate the leadership now being shown by city and community leaders. LEED helps cities and communities benchmark current performance, track performance metrics, communicate continuous improvement, educate residents, visitors and business owners to demonstrate commitment to sustainability, human health and economic prosperity. As a result, local governments are becoming laboratories of innovation and leadership, and have an enormous opportunity to initiate a dynamic dialogue with citizens—and earn their trust in the process.


NYC Group Focuses on Building Envelope to Lower Bills

Wed, 2018-11-28 16:04
Building Science

In recent years, average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood has skyrocketed to more than $3,000 a month, excluding utilities. That’s why New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC) came together to develop Knickerbocker Commons.

RBSCC also wanted to cut tenant utility costs radically without compromising comfort. So, they called upon Chris Benedict, R.A., to design an ultra-low energy building. Henry Gifford, who works for Chris Benedict, designed the mechanical systems for the building. The team combined several technologies, such as continuous exterior insulation, energy recovery ventilators, sealed combustion boilers, and individual room thermostat controls, including Danfoss thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). According to Gifford, the result is 90 percent lower energy consumption than comparable buildings — and heating costs below $50 per apartment per year.

“The 803 Knickerbocker Avenue building was completed in 2014,” says Gifford. “We used proven building-science concepts that could be applied to any high-performance building. No energy-efficiency rebates defrayed the cost of the low-energy technology we used. In fact, we delivered an extreme level of efficiency and comfort without adding to the construction cost.”


Known for his life-long passion for building science, Henry Gifford attended the first class in the U.S. on ultra-low-energy building principles known as “Passive House.” According to Gifford, who recently published the book Buildings Don’t Lie: Better Buildings by Understanding Basic Building Science, “If you understand the underlying science, you’ll have the tools to improve buildings from the start.”

The Passive House principles use a continuous air barrier and exterior insulation. These construction techniques eliminate thermal bridging, creating an interior space that can maintain a comfortable temperature. Natural light and human activities keep the space generally warm; mechanical systems handle domestic hot water production and extreme hot and cold conditions.

When energy prices in Europe more than quintupled in the early 2000s, the “Passivhaus” idea took off — with more than 25,000 buildings on the continent meeting the voluntary, ultra-low energy building standard by 2010.

In the U.S., energy cost hikes were not that extreme, but rising. In 2011, Gifford and Benedict were presented with two projects ideal for the unique design approach, one of which was Knickerbocker Commons.

“It’s not merely about meeting a standard, but simply implementing the smartest possible building-science principles,” says Gifford. “That means integrating all building systems — insulation, water, lighting, and heating, cooling, and ventilating — into a cost-effective, holistic solution. That’s why a device like the Danfoss thermostatic radiator valve plays a big role in creating a comfortable, energy-efficient building.”


One of Gifford’s design principles is that each room should have its own thermostat.

Gifford explains: “If a simple building with only two rooms is located where the sun shines from one direction and the wind blows from another direction, the heating and cooling loads will vary between rooms. Putting a single thermostat in one room will keep that room warm, but leave the other too hot or cold. Plus, internal loads will vary depending on cooking, showering, computers, and lighting. The temperature imbalance becomes very noticeable if the building is well insulated. People will run space heaters in winter to heat up the cold room, and/or open windows in a hot room. That’s a huge waste of energy, and it makes the air dry and unhealthy.”

To avoid balance problems, Gifford provided each room at 803 Knickerbocker with a radiator controlled by its own individual thermostat.

Gifford observes that “individual room temperature control makes the whole apartment comfortable without wasting energy by overheating or overcooling. This allows the system to be downsized, which

saves enough money to more than pay for the additional thermostats.”

To regulate the flow of hot water through the radiators, Gifford employed Danfoss RA2000 TRVs with a tamper-resistant non-electric operator. The RA2000 TRV is designed for hot water or low-pressure steam. In this case, Gifford applied the valves on wall-mounted baseboard radiators to avoid coordination hassles between flooring installers and plumbers.

The TRV regulates hot water flow by using an integrated thermostat and valve assembly. A white knob containing a sealed capsule filled with a heat-sensitive vapor charge functions as the thermostat. If the room is too warm, the rise of temperature increases the vapor pressure in the bellows, closing the valve;

if cold, the pressure decreases, opening the valve. In typical operation, the valve is not either fully opened or closed. Rather, it modulates between open, closed, or partly open based on a proportional difference between actual and desired temperatures.

With the TRV, controlling space temperature is easy; the apartment resident turns the knob to the desired temperature. The dial is scaled in five increments about 5°F apart, ranging from 57°F to 79°F. Gifford set the upper temperature limit to 73°F, but residents can lower the temperature setting, if desired.

“Psychological studies show that when people have control over room temperature, they tend to be more satisfied with their environment,” he notes. “That’s particularly valuable in mild weather when controlling temperature is difficult and a lot of energy is wasted due to overheating.”


Utilizing room thermostat control into the integrated building design has produced extraordinary energy savings. Despite its 34,581 square feet, the property’s peak heating load is only 127,000 BTU/hour.

“This is an incredibly low heat load for a building of this size,” says Gifford. “But, just because the load for space heating goes down doesn’t mean the domestic hot water load is reduced. We put two small, sealed-combustion gas boilers in a mechanical room on the roof. The boiler capacity is primarily used to make domestic hot water and, secondarily, heat the building — which is opposite from the responsibility of most boilers in other buildings. We have four storage tanks for the domestic hot water, and we use the smallest, most efficient pumps possible to circulate water in the hydronic loop.”

A 1/8-horsepower pump supplies a two-pipe hot water system, which runs whenever the outdoor temperature is lower than 55°F, serving the entire building. The Danfoss valves on each radiator control flow through each radiator.

The bottom line for the Passive House design: The space heating cost per apartment averages about $44 per year in a building constructed for the same cost per square foot as any other NYC affordable housing facility.

The ultra-low energy performance, comfort, and aesthetics of 803 Knickerbocker have been widely recognized. It was the first midsized apartment building in the U.S. to be certified to the Passive House standard, and was recognized in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s One City Built To Last program as an innovative approach to reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

The building is further proof that an integrated, holistic approach to design is practical. It also has helped spur changes in NYC building code and zoning regulations to enable construction of more ultra-low energy buildings.

However, most important to Gifford is the legacy of comfortable tenants and property owners. Gifford notes, “Danfoss TRVs have been successfully used for decades, especially in Europe, where it seems almost every room has its own radiator control. Since 803 Knickerbocker opened in 2014, there have been zero tenant complaints about heating. When you can make both tenants and property owners happy in Brooklyn, it shows using thermostatic radiator valves for every room really works.”


Video: Local News Covers Spray Foam Installers

Wed, 2018-11-28 15:50
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

In this video, a local crew shows how they install high-grade spray foam insulation to help keep a house warm during the winter. This video is the seventh in a series by a New Mexico news station looking at how homes are built.



Knauf Insulation Completes Mineral Wool Facility Upgrades

Wed, 2018-11-28 15:46
BusinessEnergy Efficiency

Editor’s Note: The article below details Knauf Insulation’s investment in mineral wool production capacity; finishing upgrades in Wales while also building new production facilities in France and Malaysia.

Knauf Insulation has completed a £7 million upgrade of its manufacturing plant in Cwmbran, South Wales, which will increase its capacity by 6%.

The improvements include a complete rebuild of the furnace at the heart of the plant. The work has been completed as part of a £200 million investment programme to significantly increase the company’s manufacturing capacity and capability, which includes the construction of new plants in France and Malaysia.

“We’ve seen increased demand over the last 18 months as architects, contractors, developers and regulators have recognised the benefits of high-performance, non-combustible mineral wool insulation,” said John Sinfield, managing director at Knauf Insulation. “All indications suggest this trend will continue, which is one of the reasons we’ve invested in this comprehensive upgrade of our Cwmbran facility.”

The programme of work at the plant was scheduled to take six weeks, but was completed three days early. It included a complete rebuild of the furnace, and plant-wide refurbishments and modifications taking advantage of the latest technology developments to maintain high product standards. The programme also includes energy efficiency improvements with new compressors, drives and motors installed, which will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by just under 7,000 tonnes per year.

During the works, the plant’s 207 employees volunteered their time with local charities under Knauf Insulation’s ‘Community Matters’ programme. In total, 576 hours were given over to supporting four local causes, including two hospices, a resource centre for people with learning disabilities, and an animal rescue facility.

Knauf Insulation’s Cwmbran plant manufactures Glass Mineral Wool for use in a wide variety of applications. Products made at the site include the Supafil range of blowing wools for cavity insulation, and the Earthwool range of high-performance rolls, and slabs for use in traditional and off-site construction.

Knauf Insulation’s new Rock Mineral Wool plant in France is expected to come online in 2019, with the new Glass Mineral Wool plant in Malaysia following in 2020.


Foam Systems Opens New Spray Foam Facility in CT

Wed, 2018-11-28 14:02
Energy Efficiency

Foam Systems, LLC , a leader in the spray foam industry and manufacturer popular brands such as Thermoseal Spray Foam Insulation, Igloo Foam Insulation, and others, announced today that it has opened its facility and has begun manufacturing spray foam insulation in Norwalk, CT.

Foam Systems objective is to open multiple manufacturing facilities across the USA and provide private label services to other spray foam brands and to anyone who would like a private label spray foam insulation system. Foam Systems claims to have the knowledge, experience, and ability to manufacture any systems its customers require.

“With the ever-changing environment in the spray foam industry given all the mergers and acquisitions, the only way to survive in the future is to open manufacturing locations across the USA. We are fully committed to this effort and have multiple manufacturing facilities across the USA under consideration,” says Richard Ettinger, General Manager of Foam Systems, LLC. “We are extremely excited about the opportunities across the country this will open up.”

Foam Systems has the experience to develop any foam system its clients desire and can help in the development of these systems.

“Foam Systems will change the competitive landscape across the USA,” Ettinger said.

China’s Wanhua Plans $1.25B MDI Plant in LA

Wed, 2018-11-28 13:53
Building Science

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, alongside officials from Yantai, China-based Wanhua Chemical Group Company Ltd., announced November 16 the company will build a $1.25 billion chemical manufacturing complex in Convent, La., on the east bank of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish. The site covers 250 acres near the intersection of Louisiana Highways 3125 and 3214 and also offers access for deep-draft vessels and rail service.

At the new facility, Wanhua will produce methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), commonly used for polyurethane automotive parts, foams and elastomers, along with other consumer segments like appliances, electronics, spray foam insulation, furniture, textiles and footwear. According to Louisiana’s office of Economic Development (LED), the project will create 170 new direct jobs with an average salary in excess of $80,000, along with 1,060 new indirect jobs, for a total of 1,230 new jobs.

“Our LED team, joining other state agencies and regional and local partners, has worked diligently with Wanhua to attract this next-generation MDI project,” Edwards said. “Louisiana offers world-class manufacturing sites, the most productive manufacturing workforce in the U.S., and LED FastStart, the nation’s top state workforce training program. Our infrastructure assets enable us to compete for the leading economic development projects in the world. We welcome Wanhua to Louisiana and look forward to the company’s contribution to our workforce and economy.”

LED Secretary Don Pierson traveled to Wanhua’s Yantai headquarters in early 2017 to meet company executives and complete plans for Wanhua to build a facility somewhere in Louisiana. Wanhua Chairman and CEO Zengtai Liao and Edwards announced those plans in April 2017. Wanhua opted for the tract of land in St. James Parish after additional engineering and development work. Wanhua will start construction next year, with construction substantially complete by the end of 2021. At peak activity, the project will about 1,000 construction jobs.

“Louisiana, and specifically St. James Parish, provides Wanhua with everything we were looking for,” said Weiqi Hua, CEO of Wanhua Chemical U.S. Operations LLC. “More than anything, successful operations are about people, and we know that Louisiana’s workforce is among the most productive in the world. Wanhua looks forward to being part of the Louisiana business community and the local community. Our desire to be a good industry neighbor will be evident in our focus on workforce development, local hiring, and our commitment to safe and environmentally responsible operations. Our employees will be fully engaged in the local community and we will communicate regularly and openly.”

Louisiana, with its extensive ports, pipelines, rail connectivity and highways, has a thriving chemical industry, which generates about $80 billion in annual sales and supports close to 270,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Louisiana has leveraged our strengths to capture billions in new investment,” Pierson said. “We continue to work hard every day to create a business climate and quality of life that are second to none.”

Besides offering the state’s workforce training program, Louisiana officials offered Wanhua a performance-based grant of $4.3 million to offset site infrastructure costs. The company will also benefit from Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Wanhua will join a crowded chemical corridor within the Port of South Louisiana, which covers both sides of the river between the ports of New Orleans and Greater Baton Rouge.

“The Port of South Louisiana welcomes Wanhua into our port, and we look forward to assisting them in any way we can,” Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin said. “We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship. I also want to thank St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel, Steve Nosacka with St. James Parish Economic Development, and Michael Hecht with GNO Inc. It was a team effort. The future of St. James Parish and the River Parishes is very bright.”

“This $1.25 billion investment will generate economic growth in our community in the form of high-paying job opportunities for local residents and procurement opportunities for local, small businesses,” said St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel. “I, along with the taxing authorities of St. James Parish, while following our land-use plan, want to see Wanhua become successful in St. James Parish, delivering new benefits to our residents. St. James Parish government works together with community, business, industry, and agriculture to provide resources and services to improve quality of life. We want our St. James Parish industries to continue to be a large part of our community, because St. James Parish is a great place to live, work, play and grow.”

“GNO Inc. is excited to have worked with our partners in St. James Parish, the Port of South Louisiana and LED to welcome Wanhua Chemical to our region,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “Louisiana is No. 1 in the nation for foreign direct investment because of global companies like Wanhua, and we look forward to supporting their success and growth in greater New Orleans.”’

Wanhua is a publicly-traded corporation listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The company established a business development office in the Philadelphia area in 2006 and a U.S. headquarters in Houston in 2014. The company established its manufacturing entity, Wanhua Chemical U.S. Operations LLC, in Louisiana in 2017.


Atlas Insulation Featured in Latest LAX Expansion

Wed, 2018-11-28 13:36
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

A New State-of-the-Art Concourse

The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), known as the nation’s third busiest airport, has been undergoing a major overhaul that requires adherence to strict city building codes. With the addition of the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) in 2013, came a list of projects to be piloted throughout the airport. One of the major projects on that list is the new Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) North, a five-level, 750,000 square-foot expansion that will be accessible via a spacious 1,200 ft. long tunnel corridor with moving walkways from the Tom Bradley terminal. With 12 new gates, aircraft parking aprons and taxiways, the new concourse addition will improve operations, enable faster connections, and ease passenger access, all while providing state-of-the-art facilities. Corgan is the lead architecture firm, in association with Gensler and gkkworks (now CannonDesign), on the design build project for the Midfield Satellite Concourse. Turner Construction Company and PCL Construction Services, Inc. are managing the project. Construction, which is a part of a 1.2-billion-dollar initiative, started in February of 2017 and is expected to wrap up in early 2020.

Stringent Code Requirements

With the onset of design, the architects were aware the project had to meet the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) Mandatory and Tier 1 requirements. CALGreen is a state code with mandatory sustainability related requirements, while Tier 1 is a set of voluntary sustainability measures that each jurisdiction has the option to enforce. With their noteworthy commitment to sustainability, Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) has chosen to require larger projects earn the Tier 1 certification.  Tier 1 triggers a higher level of sustainability strategies, among which is the measurement of Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) on thermal insulation.

CALGreen is the first-in-the-nation mandatory green building standards code. Developed in 2007, it targets the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) from buildings, while promoting environmentally responsible, cost-effective, healthier places to live and work. The building code also seeks to reduce water consumption and responds to the environmental directives of the many development agencies. The formation of the CALGreen Code has been a vital step toward more efficient and responsible building design throughout California.

In order for the new Midfield Satellite Concourse to meet the CALGreen Tier 1 requirement, the thermal insulation used in the project had to meet key requirements that measured volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions. The architects needed a thermal building insulation solution that would meet these strict requirements while offering superior performance and fitting within the build budget.

A Wave of Design Needs

Because the new concourse is designed to complement the ocean wave theme of the airport, the architects envisaged a stunning curvilinear roof. This unique design element additionally demanded specific roof and wall configuration requirements. To bring the vision into reality, the team needed insulation materials that could be custom fit to meet their curvature and design needs.


The design and construction team began searching for an insulation solution that would meet or exceed all code and environmental requirements. Atlas EnergyShield and ACFoam products were continually recommended by industry experts due to their low VOC emissions and optimal performance. To ensure the Atlas products would meet the CALGreen Tier 1 requirement, both the wall and roof insulation solutions went through extensive GREENGUARD Gold testing: Atlas ACFoam®-II for roof insulation and EnergyShield® CGF Pro for wall insulation. Atlas polyiso insulation creates a versatile, effective barrier for thermal, air, moisture and vapor control, which were critical in this application and highly important features to the MSC build and design teams.

GREENGUARD Gold testing requires that products meet some of the world’s most rigorous standards for low emissions of VOCs into indoor environments. This certification provides designers, architects and contractors an easy way to identify premium products that aid in the creation of healthier indoor environments and release fewer pollutants that can contribute to health issues, including asthma and other respiratory issues. These standards are preserved by UL Environment and incorporate health-based emissions criteria established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State of California and other reputable public health agencies.

“The City of Los Angeles, unlike any other jurisdiction that I have worked with, has a very aggressive approach to sustainability,” said Jennifer Wehling, Sustainability Specialist at Corgan. “When it became clear the Tier 1 thermal insulation prerequisite was seemingly unattainable, the project team worked with the City of LA, the Building Standards Committee, as well as a number of industry experts in the matter to find a solution. We were highly selective in the products we chose to bring this project to life. Having successfully worked with Atlas in the past, we were thankful for their willingness to go through the GREENGUARD Gold testing process.”

After eight weeks of testing, both the Atlas ACFoam-II and EnergyShield CGF Pro products passed the vigorous requirements for GREENGUARD Gold certification. The size and scale of the project was significant. More than 5,000 squares of ACFoam are required on the roof, which represents 500,000 square feet. ACFoam is among the most sustainable and widely used roofing material, and it can be found on high-profile buildings throughout the country. The standard size of an ACFoam panel is 4’x4’ or 4’x8’, but due to the curvature of the roof, Atlas needed to custom make 2’x8’ panels of ACFoam in order to meet the architect’s design needs.

More than 215,000 square feet of Atlas EnergyShield CGF Pro wall insulation will provide the highest R-value, durability and water resistive barrier attributes to ensure the best building performance. The wall insulation is vapor permeable and composed of a Class A fire-rated (NFPA 285 compliant), closed cell polyiso rigid foam core faced with a high performance coated glass facer on the front and back, which meets all project and code requirements and ensures a continuous insulation solution.

To complete this project, the design build team will utilize a combination of 715,000 square feet of Atlas building products, including Atlas ACFoam roofing insulation and EnergyShield wall insulation.

Impact & Results:  

In addition to attaining the CALGreen Tier 1 requirement, the build and design teams are aiming for the concourse to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It also provides a framework that project teams can apply to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. With both Atlas ACFoam and EnergyShield CGF Pro being GREENGUARD Gold certified, it will help the project to gain the prestigious LEED Silver certification.

The state of California has taken steps to lower the VOC emissions inside buildings, and by utilizing the Atlas polyiso roof and wall insulation solutions, a healthier indoor environment can be enjoyed by everyone visiting the new Midfield Satellite Concourse at the LAX airport. The new concourse will see major efficiencies, including significant environmental improvements and better thermal insulation management. Atlas products continue to be sought out in high-profile commercial and residential environments due to low VOC emissions and providing an effective yet versatile thermal barrier for air, moisture, and vapor control. All teams involved worked together to make sure products and testing satisfied stringent code requirements. For this project, Atlas was the only manufacturer willing to commit to the GREENGUARD Gold testing standard, obtaining certifications for insulation requirements that will not only help projects earn the stringent CALGreen Tier 1 certification, but also provide new options for projects seeking LEED v4 certification, setting a new standard for what architects and builders can achieve in future projects.


DuPont Develops New Dispenser for Great Stuff Spray Foam

Tue, 2018-11-27 16:51
Sponsored Headlines

Today, Performance Building Solutions, a business of DowDuPont Specialty Products Division, announces the new, patent-pending GREAT STUFF™ SMART DISPENSER™, an innovative solution to make air sealing easier, more precise and with less product waste. The SMART DISPENSER™ is changing the game, with a dispenser that is reusable for up to 30 days, provides no drip, less mess and greater control.

The new SMART DISPENSER™ will help end-users fill gaps and cracks efficiently and quickly, with precision application. Consumers can worry less about wasting a nearly full can of GREAT STUFF™ after one use. This new technology and design of the dispenser will give contractors and DIYers alike the flexibility to move from project to project seamlessly, with the option to come back to their air sealing job at a later time.

“We listened to our customers and went back to the drawing board to design a new, patent-pending GREAT STUFF™ dispenser that answers the two biggest complaints, messiness and the lack of reuse,” said Dan Schroer, R&D Program Leader, Performance Building Solutions. “From concept ideation, to 3D printed working prototypes, to ultimately the final design, we worked with our customers to develop this new best-in-class dispenser. We’re extremely proud of what has been accomplished. With this game-changing innovation, GREAT STUFF™ just got greater!”

Each GREAT STUFF™ Insulating Foam Sealant is specially formulated to seal gaps and cracks to help block air, moisture and pests. This new dispenser will be applied to all GREAT STUFF™ Insulating Foam Sealants, including: GREAT STUFF™ Big Gap Filler, GREAT STUFF™ Pestblock, GREAT STUFF™ Gaps & Cracks, GREAT STUFF™ Multipurpose Black, GREAT STUFF™ Fireblock, GREAT STUFF™ Window & Door and GREAT STUFF™ Pond & Stone.

“The GREAT STUFF™ SMART DISPENSER™ is representative of Performance Building Solutions’ continued commitment to bringing innovation to the market grounded in consumer feedback and addressing end-user needs,” said Amy Radka, Consumer Market Leader, Performance Building Solutions. “Utilizing market listening exercises and deep market intelligence, the team worked to develop a game-changing solution for dispensing one component can foam sealants. GREAT STUFF™ provides a simple, cost-effective solution to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and ultimately, a more comfortable home, and now dispenses easier than ever before.”

The average home has a half-mile of gaps and cracks where air and moisture can enter1 and air leaks account for 25-40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a typical home. According to the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), proper insulating and air sealing can help lower heating and cooling costs by up to 30 percent.2 By filling gaps and cracks with GREAT STUFF™ Insulating Foam Sealants, homeowners can see immediate savings while making the home more comfortable and environmentally friendly for the long term.


Net-Zero: USGBC Officially Launches "LEED Zero"

Wed, 2018-11-14 16:26
Building CodesBuilding Science

Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched LEED Zero, a new program that will address net zero operations and resources in buildings.

“Net zero is a powerful target that will move the entire industry forward,” said Melissa Baker, senior vice president of technical core at USGBC. “For years, LEED projects around the world have aspired to net zero milestones. We are recognizing the leadership of these projects—and formalizing our commitment to focusing on carbon and net zero across the entire LEED community. These new certification programs will encourage a holistic approach for buildings and places to contribute to a regenerative future and enhance the health and wellbeing for not only building occupants, but all of humanity.”

LEED Zero was informally released by USGBC in September at the Global Climate Action Summit. LEED Zero is open to all LEED projects certified under the BD+C, ID+C or O+M rating systems, or projects registered to pursue LEED O+M certification. LEED projects can achieve LEED Zero certification when they demonstrate any or one of the following: net zero carbon emissions, net zero energy use, net zero water use or net zero waste.

“For more than two decades, LEED has provided a framework for high performance buildings and spaces, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions through strategies impacting land, energy, transportation, water, waste and materials,” added Baker. “Building on that work, LEED Zero is a complement to LEED that verifies the achievement of net zero goals and signals market leadership in green building.”

LEED certification recognizes that a project has implemented a number of sustainability strategies, reflecting reduced contributions to climate change as well as beneficial impacts on water resources, biodiversity, human health and well-being, regenerative material resource cycles, social equity and quality of life.

LEED Zero builds on LEED by recognizing specific achievements in building operations and rewards projects that have used LEED as a framework to address important aspects of green buildings and taken their buildings to the next level by designing and operating toward net zero goals. LEED Zero encourages a holistic approach for buildings and places, which will contribute to a regenerative future. This is part of a vision to ensure that the next phase of USGBC’s efforts will be LEED Positive, where buildings are actually generating more energy than they use, and removing more carbon than they produce.