Energy Efficiency and Building Science News

NAHB Testifies Against Energy Efficiency Measure in House Bill

Mon, 2020-02-17 16:12
Press ReleasesEnergy Efficiency

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) on Feb. 12 urged the House to oppose to H.R. 3962, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2019, warning that the legislation would exacerbate the nation’s housing affordability woes.

Testifying on behalf of NAHB before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Arn McIntyre, a green builder from Grand Rapids, Mich., said that several provisions in H.R. 3962 would needlessly raise home construction costs while doing little to boost energy efficiency in the housing sector.

“This legislation would harm housing affordability as a result of its mandates for overly costly and aggressive energy efficiency requirements to be included in model building energy codes,” said McIntyre. “NAHB is also concerned that the bill will expand the federal government’s authority over state and local governments’ prerogatives to adopt cost-effective and location-appropriate building codes.”

With the nation in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, McIntyre added that H.R. 3962 would worsen the problem by:

  • Focusing on initiatives that will increase costs for new housing and buildings while ignoring the existing older structures, which constitute more than 80 percent of the U.S. building stock and are responsible for an even greater portion of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption;
  • Failing to establish reasonable criteria for technology readiness or meet the economic payback period expected by the consumer (less than 10 years) for any minimum code requirement or proposal supported or initiated by the Department of Energy (DOE);
  • Empowering the DOE to advocate for overly prescriptive, not fully vetted, and costly energy targets for new residential buildings; and
  • Authorizing the DOE to impinge on the states’ abilities to customize model codes to meet their specific jurisdictional goals to improve building performance.

“NAHB wants to work as a partner with all levels of government to encourage energy efficiency,” said McIntyre. “However, we must all work together to ensure housing affordability is not jeopardized in the process. Therefore, NAHB urges Congress to focus on solutions that are market driven, such as above code voluntary programs and other incentives, and to focus on increasing the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock.”


Homebuilders Cry Foul After 2021 IECC Online Voting

Mon, 2020-02-17 16:08
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Codes

For most of 2019, the International Code Council’s 2021 building codes cycle was moving along as expected. But a last-minute wave of newly-registered voters appears to have derailed the online vote in what appears to be a concerted effort to impact the code development process.

NAHB was heavily involved at all stages in the current code development cycle, which includes changes to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the all-important International Residential Code (IRC) for the 2021 edition of the I-Codes. NAHB members and staff had a significant presence at both the ICC Committee Action Hearings in Albuquerque last May and the Public Comment Hearings in Las Vegas in October.

Through the deliberative and transparent hearing process established by the ICC, NAHB — along with a host of other advocates and stakeholders along all ideological lines — publicly influenced many proposals with testimony backed by data and relevant research.

When the vote results came in from the ICC’s Online Governmental Consensus Vote, held Nov. 19 through Dec. 6, 2019, it was as expected, with a success rate of around 84% on non-energy code proposals that NAHB either supported or opposed, in line with results from previous years. But when the preliminary results on the IECC were reported, there were some surprising discrepancies.

Many aggressive energy efficiency proposals that had been defeated at both the committee hearings and the public comment hearings had been approved by the online vote (preliminary results). When proposals are defeated at hearings, they must get a two-thirds majority to overturn past results. It’s a bar so high, no previous proposal had ever met the threshold. But in this code cycle, 20 IECC “zombie” proposals cleared the hurdle and came back to life. And some will negatively impact housing affordability for home builders and buyers.

The more egregious changes include:

  • Gas water heaters, stoves and dryers need to be “electric ready,” with appropriate receptacles installed nearby if a home owner decides to switch to all-electric appliances
  • An electric vehicle charging receptacle (40A 220V) needs to be installed in all single-family homes with a parking space
  • Wall insulation was increased to R-20+5 in climate zones 4 and 5
  • Ceiling insulation was increased to R-60 in climate zones 4 through 8
  • Ceiling insulation was increased to R-49 in climate zones 2 and 3

A preliminary NAHB analysis of the changes pegs the cost impact to be a low-end estimate of $2,400-$7,200 in climate zone 1, to a high-end estimate of $5,000-$14,000 in climate zones 4 and 5, for each new single-family home of average size.

With such inconsistent results, NAHB suspected that something was amiss with the voting. After reviewing the approved governmental voters, it was discovered that hundreds of new government employees from towns all over the country were validated to vote — and they voted in droves.

There was a concerted effort on the part of efficiency and environmental groups to engage like-minded governmental members who work in environmental, sustainability and resilience departments. These new voters appear to have worked off the same voting guide and simply voted their party line.

NAHB will be very actively pushing back on these zombie proposals. First, staff is appealing at least two of the results that they believe are related to proposals that are out of scope for the energy code. Also, NAHB will be challenging the voting credentials of a number of new members.

NAHB also intends to work with ICC to tighten up voting eligibility and modify the process to limit or eliminate proposals from getting approved that lose the first two hearings.

For now, read the results and know that NAHB is doing all it can to stand up for reasonable building codes that help build safe housing that is affordable.

For more information on the vote or the codes development process, contact Craig Drumheller.


Leading Builders Ask ICC to Review Group B IECC Results

Mon, 2020-02-17 16:01
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Science

The code development process for the 2021 International Codes is in its final stages. The code hearings are complete, and last month the International Code Council released the preliminary results from the Group B Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV).

Click to enlarge.

The Validation Committee is in the process of validating the results. This committee is appointed by the Code Council Board of Directors and is comprised of experienced participants in the code development process. They have already confirmed that the information technology infrastructure worked correctly and was secure and free from malicious errors.

Code Council staff are working with the Validation Committee to examine issues raised in two letters – one from Thomas Zaremba, Partner at Roetzel & Andress, and the other from Leading Builders of America. These letters ask for further clarification about the voting results with respect to energy efficiency code changes and the voter validation process.

We are conducting an audit and review as is a normal part of our code development process to assure accuracy. Our consensus-based process is designed to be transparent, open and balanced, and we are handling these requests quickly and thoroughly.

This cycle had more participants than any previous cycle. Our members considered 388 code changes at the Public Comment Hearings (PCH) and OGCV. Over 240,000 votes were cast at the combined PCH and OGCV.

We will continue to provide regular updates as these requests are resolved. 

Visit our website to learn more about the code development process. Council Policy 28 for more information about the process. Click here for information concerning the Validation Committee.


Today’s Webinar: Evaluating the Impact of the 2021 IECC

Mon, 2020-02-17 15:50
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Codes

Title: The 2021 IECC: How Local and State Officials Just Took a Giant Leap Toward Net Zero Buildings in America

When: Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 2:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Who: Bill Fay, Energy Efficient Codes Coalition (EECC)

Late last year, local and state officials voted in droves to boost building efficiency in the 2021 update to America’s Model Energy Code – the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) – by 12-17%.  Their collective two-year get-out-the-vote campaign was dedicated to writing a new IECC that will help them meet their energy and climate policy goals. 

Among those leading the effort were governmental officials from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, the National Association of State Energy Officials, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. This webinar is your chance to hear how the new 2021 IECC tackles the nation’s largest source of energy consumption and carbon – our buildings –slashing energy bills, stabilizing grids, and meeting Paris Accord targets!

EECC’s Bill Fay will lead a discussion with some of those Governmental Member Voting Representatives on the challenges ahead for the 2021 IECC:  defining, promoting, defending and, ultimately adopting it across the nation.

Fill out this form to register.


Insulation Industry National Policy Conference May 19-20

Fri, 2020-02-14 15:48
Press Releases

Registration is now open for the 2020 Insulation Industry National Policy Conference. This year’s event will take place May 19-20, 2020 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

The conference is an opportunity to network with members from the insulation industry, meet with legislators to discuss our industry’s policy priorities, and learn from experts on a variety of topics. More information on topics and speakers will be shared throughout the spring.

Click here to register for the conference.


State Building Code Updates for FL, MD, and WA

Fri, 2020-02-14 15:46
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Codes

Below are brief summaries of legislative actions being taken that would impact building codes:

Legislation has been introduced in the Florida House and Senate that would require manufacturers to provide code officials with product test reports upon request. HB 511 and SB 732 are intended to hold manufacturers accountable for testing residential insulation products in accordance with ASTM standards.

A Maryland bill (HB 153) introduced this week extends the time from 18 months to 36 months within which the Maryland Department of Labor is required to adopt each subsequent version of the Maryland Building Performance Standard, their statewide building code. This change may significantly alter the timeline for adoption of newer versions of the IECC and/or provisions therein favorable to the foam insulation industry.

HB 2667 would require the Washington State Building Code Council to delay implementation of the 2018 state residential energy code and would prohibit the Code Council from increasing energy efficiency requirements in the code.


Improving the Envelope with the New C3 Engineered Wall System

Fri, 2020-02-14 15:36
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Science

Insulating layers keep the rain out without compromising air circulation. Below is a new product on the market for residential construction.

C3 Engineered Wall System
MgO Systems

Combining fireboard with structurally insulated panels, this barrier solution provides thermal and acoustic insulation. In addition to being resilient to fires, the prefabricated system reduces installation time and construction waste.

Are Net-Zero Passive Houses the Industry’s End Game?

Fri, 2020-02-14 15:31
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Science

The energy savings from net zero passive houses can reduce heating costs by 75% to 90%, and these new dwellings have a much longer life span, writes Passive Design Solutions’ Natalie Leonard. She says ensuring that all new structures achieve significant and permanent energy reductions will require financial incentives to facilitate the replacement of existing homes.

The building sector accounts for 50% of all energy used in North America but has not achieved significant improvements in energy efficiency and carbon emissions like that of the transportation and durable goods sectors.

One part of the building sector deserving attention is detached single-family housing. In 2018 the U.S. had about 83 million detached houses and Canada had about 7.67 million. From January to September 2019 there were 653,300 single‐unit housing completions in the United States, and 45,086 single-family house completions in Canada.

Retrofitting existing houses is expensive and may, at best, only result in energy savings of 30% compared to other dwellings in the same location that have not been retrofitted. On the other hand, the energy savings of new construction can reduce heating costs by 75% to 90%. Moreover, new buildings have a much longer life span over which to amortize and enjoy the additional energy and cost savings.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Simply renovating existing houses to improve their energy efficiency, although important, does not give optimal results. Nor is it the most cost-effective approach in every instance. The gold standard for optimizing the energy efficiency of an existing house is its replacement. At first, this may seem excessive. However, there is a rationale for this approach, and it has to do with the rather slow rate at which older, less energy efficient housing is replaced with new, more energy efficient housing.

Given the large inventory of new and existing detached houses, it is clear that any public policy intending to make meaningful reductions to national building energy use must address this housing sector. A net zero passive house replacement can provide significant energy savings, with a design that is durable and low maintenance.

Net Zero Passive Houses

Net zero is defined in a number of ways. A useful definition says that a net zero building is one with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

Passive house is a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

Net zero houses are not necessarily passive designs, and passive houses are not necessarily net zero. But augmenting passive house design with modest on-site, grid-tied electrical power generation provides a simple path to net zero that can be implemented for a modest premium: 5% to 15% over code-built alternatives. And they achieve a 75%-90% reduction in heating costs, with annual heating bills as low as $150.00.

Canada’s National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) 2017 says the “most cost-effective time to incorporate energy efficiency measures into a building is during the initial design and construction phase. It is much more expensive to retrofit later. This is particularly true for the building envelope”, which is the single most important element of an energy efficient dwelling.

The Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University has argued that between 2005 and 2050, 3.2 million dwellings must be demolished and replaced for the U.K. to reach its national energy reduction targets for housing.

The Oxford research recognizes that some dwellings require prohibitively expensive repairs before energy reduction measures can be implemented, and even then, the results are unimpressive.

In the same vein, Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) contractors in Maryland found significant pre-existing health and safety deficiencies in houses identified for efficiency improvements. The improvements could not proceed until repairs were completed.

Many Attractive Benefits

A net zero passive house is not a “new-age” compromise. Instead, it is a versatile housing solution that provides a number of attractive benefits:

  • Significant reduction in heating costs over code-built houses;
  • Reduced carbon footprint;
  • Superior indoor comfort—the bright, draft-free and consistently warm spaces are what owners most love about their passive house;
  • Exceptionally quiet spaces that are isolated from outside noise, even during storms;
  • Less complex operational and maintenance requirements due to simpler mechanical systems;
  • Comfortable, conditioned fresh air in the living spaces through the use of high-quality ventilation equipment;
  • Increased safety and security during storms: even when power is out for weeks, a passive house will maintain temperatures above 50F (10C).
Financial Incentives Needed for Adoption

Providing financial incentives for the adoption of net zero passive house technologies will hasten acceptance by the marketplace and its adoption into the building code, and in our uncertain climate future, this is good public policy.

A net zero passive house is slightly more expensive to build, but excels in the total cost of ownership, a fact not always well understood. Hence, without some inducement, the higher up-front cost of net zero passive houses can present a disincentive to their adoption. Financial incentives can help to overcome this reluctance.

Research in North America shows that financial incentives are particularly effective in overcoming the public’s reluctance to switch to energy-efficient technologies such as the net zero passive house; Research in Europe showed similar findings—“financial incentives and energy performance standards play an important role in promoting energy efficiency improvements.”

It seems likely that increasing the energy efficiency of new and existing North American detached homes will require public intervention. A good first step is changing building codes to emphasize net zero passive house level energy efficiency. Such code changes will ensure that all new structures achieve significant and permanent energy reductions. These code changes should be accompanied by financial incentives to facilitate the transition.


Video: ‘Breathable’ Façade Makes Buildings More Energy Efficient?

Fri, 2020-02-14 15:19
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Science

Click to enlarge.

Barcelona’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) has undertaken a project examining the benefits of hydroceramic façades as a means of cooling down buildings in hot countries. Known as “breathing” buildings, the technology uses an insoluble polymer called “hydrogel,” fabric as a water channel, and ceramics.

The hydrogel, it is claimed, can expand its volume up to 400 times when absorbing water. This, in turn, enables the panels to absorb humidity and allows it to evaporate—hence the likeness to breathing.

The IAAC claims the technology could help buildings slash their energy bills by a third.

Watch a video from IAAC’s Digital Matter Studio below.


Huber Settles ZIP Patent Dispute with RoyOMartin

Fri, 2020-02-14 15:10
Press Releases

Building products manufacturer Huber Engineered Woods achieved a negotiated settlement with RoyOMartin and Corrigan OSB in its patent infringement lawsuit against the companies. HEW’s lawsuit, filed in December 2018 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Huber Engineered Woods LLC v. Martco, L.L.C. and Corrigan OSB, L.L.C., Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-530), alleged the RoyOMartin Eclipse Weather Resistant Barrier product infringed on at least seven of HEW’s ZIP System sheathing and tape patents.

Adobe Stock

As part of the settlement, RoyOMartin has agreed to suspend sales of its Eclipse Weather Resistant Barrier products. The lawsuit will be dismissed as a result of the settlement, according to a news release from HEW.

“Our company has a long-standing history of providing innovative products, premium solutions and quality support to our customers and will continue to invest in upholding those standards,” HEW President Brian Carlson said in a news release.

The ZIP System sheathing and tape, introduced in 2006, is a structural panel with a built-in exterior weather-resistive barrier (WRB) that provides moisture protection and air sealing. The all-in-one system is designed to offer the same structural bracing as traditional sheathing combined with a WRB, saving buildings time and money on the job site.

“We are pleased to resolve the issue with RoyOMartin, and we will continue to defend and protect our brands and intellectual property portfolio as evidenced by our previously announced patent infringement lawsuit against Louisiana-Pacific Corporation,” added Carlson.

HEW filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against LP Building Solutions in February, claiming LP’s WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier products infringed on at least eight of HEW’s ZIP System sheathing and tape patents. HEW filed the LP lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware (Huber Engineered Woods LLC v. Louisiana-Pacific Corporation).


2021 I-Codes Adopt Major Energy Efficiency & Building Science Advancements

Tue, 2020-01-14 16:14
Energy EfficiencyBuilding ScienceBuilding Codes

Over the past two years, the International Code Council’s (ICC) family of I-Codes have been undergoing development for the 2021 editions of the International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC), and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), among others.  Documentation and results of 2018 Group A and 2019 Group B code development processes are found at here

With the recent conclusion of the final stage of the ICC code development process for the 2021 I-Codes (pending confirmation of on-line voting results for Group B), it is now time to begin assessing what happened in the realm of energy efficiency and building science advancements.  A tiny sample of advancements are noted below with more details to come in future articles.

  1. Significant improvements in the thermal performance (R-values and U-factors) of building envelopes for commercial and residential buildings governed by the IECC.
  2. Overhaul and update of water vapor control provisions for the IBC and IRC, including better organization, recognition of smart vapor retarders, and expanded guidance for appropriate use of continuous insulation to control water vapor. Explore the links below to read more about vapor barrier science and installation guidance.
  3. Expanded options for wood frame wall R-value compliance including cavity insulation only, cavity plus continuous insulation (hybrid assembly), and continuous insulation only (i.e., “perfect wall”) options. Again, explore the links below to read more about “perfect” and “hybrid” walls.
  4. Improved and clarified requirements for water-resistive barrier and drainage space to mitigate moisture problems experienced by wood-frame walls clad with conventional Portland cement stucco. For example, read this article on how exterior walls need to breathe.
  5. A new climate zone map for the U.S.
  6. Improved Energy Rating Index (ERI) scores for homes – also known as HERS scores.
  7. Improved air leakage criteria and testing requirements for commercial and residential buildings. For more information on air-barriers and air-leakage control, refer to the Air Barrier Topical Library on
  8. Additional energy efficiency packages and “points” options for commercial and residential construction.
  9. Revised “above-grade wall” definition to include floor edges to ensure continuity of building envelope thermal performance at assembly intersections (i.e., mitigate thermal bridges).
  10. Clarification of “energy code math” for proper addition of insulation components for R-value compliance. For example, addressing why an R-25 wall is not equal to an R-20+5ci.
  11. Provision for use of renewable energy use and design and construction of net zero energy buildings (also with provisions to prevent misuse of renewable energy as a means to trade-off energy efficiency or conservation).

These expected changes for the 2021 editions of the IBC, IRC, and IECC codes are only the tip of the iceberg.  We look forward to highlighting various proposals and their details in future EEBS News articles.

For additional information, please review the following articles, as well as the previous videos in this series:

Perfect Wall Articles

Video Series

For more information on air-barriers and air-leakage control, refer to the Air Barrier Topical Library on

Could Building Envelope Jobsite ‘Mock-Ups’ Save Billions?

Mon, 2020-01-06 11:03
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Science

Billions of dollars are spent on building envelope failures annually — a largely preventable problem if building mock-ups — “crash test dummies for building enclosures”— are specified.

That’s the word from Brian Stroik, manager of the building envelope solutions team at Tremco Incorporated.

Stroik, who presented a seminar on the importance of building envelope mock-ups recently at the Buildings Show in Toronto, said tested mock-ups are critical because every building is unique. Even a chain restaurant or retail outlet with practically identical designs in the same city will face variations that impact the envelope.

The building’s site orientation, the trades involved, and the weather play significant roles in envelope performance.

One of the benefits of tested mock-ups is when time is tight, they can help speed up construction sequencing and they educate installers on proper assembly procedures, Stroik added.

“I’m not saying a mock-up will guarantee you a leak-free building but I’m saying it will help you get closer (to that goal).”

Brian Stroik, manager of the building envelope solutions team at Tremco Incorporated says building mock-ups can help project’s avoid costly mistakes in the future.

While 93 per cent of tested mock-ups fail the first time, according to 2009 National Testing Lab results, building science experts say the real percentage of failures is even higher. That is a good thing, however, said Stroik because a mock-up “is supposed to be a learning experience.”

He told the seminar audience that architects specify products from several manufacturers that comprise an envelope design but “there’s no guarantee that they will all work (together) unless they are tested (together).”

He said there can be many different wall configurations on a single project (more than 100 in some cases) so “tested performance mock-ups” should be in the architectural specifications.

Explanations for the tests and why they are necessary in specs serve as a form of checks and balances, he said, recalling a project where an architect included specs for air duct testing in a building enclosure mock-up just because he thought they qualified as an air test. “He didn’t know what he was talking about.”

While mock-ups take time to build, test, deconstruct, reconstruct and retest, over the span of a project they can save money and time, Stroik said.

He also said they don’t have to be expensive or complex. “A little mock-up” for a window with a silicone transition versus sealant from window to wall is cheap to do and helps installers understand construction sequencing.

He said the time has never been more important to do tested mock-ups because the shortage of skilled labour in Canada and the U.S. gives project owners little guarantee that the selected installers will apply the envelope correctly.

While testing specified mock-ups is typically conducted by general contractors or construction managers, Stroik said, but the costs for materials and installation are transferred down to the trades. “If it is not in the spec…not in the (architectural) details that is when it gets really expensive because guys see it as a change order.”


Here's the Latest in Building Envelope Innovation

Mon, 2020-01-06 10:44
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Science

The products selected for Building Design+Construction’s annual 101 Top Products report are determined by you, our readers. From security doors to metal ceilings, fabric ducts to rainscreen wall systems, linear drains to bacteria-killing LED lighting, these are the products that appeared in the pages of the magazine over the past 12 months that readers wanted to learn more about. The products were selected based on the number of reader service inquiries. BD+C editors selected a few of our favorites as well (marked “Editors' Picks”). Below are the Building Envelope products selected.


Miraia fiber cement panels are available with this reflective, high-gloss finish. Three color options: Glacier, Onyx (pictured), and Snow. Offers the luster of metal at a competitive price point, according to the maker. The panels are factory sealed on six sides and cover 8.88 sf per panel. Dimensions: 17-7/8 inches high, 71-9/16 inches long, and 5/8-inch thick. Concealed clips and fasteners provide a clean, uninterrupted appearance.


Project: Lifestyle Communities, Nashville, Tenn. Problem: The design called for eight-inch EPS shapes around the windows, which meant back-wrapping these termination points in the field would have been near impossible. 

Solution: Dryvit Acrocore Starter Boards were integral to the project at these termination points. The boards are uniformly machine-coated to produce a product that is three times harder and stronger than hand-applied starter boards. Installing pre-coated starter boards was three times faster than manual back wrapping.


Project: Los Angeles International Airport concourse. Problem: The project needed an insulation solution to help meet the California Green Building Standards Code Mandatory and Tier 1 requirements. 

Solution: The team used more than 215,000 sf of Atlas EnergyShield CGF Pro for wall insulation and 500,000 sf of ACFoam-II for roof insulation due to their low VOC emissions and performance. The EnergyShield GCF Pro 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. The ACFoam roof panels needed to be custom made (2x8 feet) in order to meet the architect’s design needs. On the team: Gensler, gkkworks, Turner Construction, PCL Construction.


This rigid vacuum insulation panel features a microporous core, which is evacuated, encased, and sealed in a gas–tight envelope. The result is an ultra–thin (20mm to 50mm) insulation product with up to five times better thermal efficiency than commonly available insulation. R-values from R-29 to R-60. Applications: roof assemblies, balconies, and terraces.


The VacuSeal Vent Secured Roofing System uses special vents that harness the wind to lock roof membranes in place. Negative pressure venting pulls air and moisture out from under the membrane to maintain insulation dryness and R-value. VacuSeal reduces installation time and minimizes the need for traditional fastening methods, which reduces the amount of glue, ballast, or fasteners a project requires. The vents are made from UV-resistant PVC, contain no moving parts, and require no penetrations.


Project: Cade Museum for Creativity + Invention, Gainesville, Fla. Problem: The museum needed a creative and eye-catching design. 

Solution: 11,400 sf of 22-gauge PAC-CLAD corrugated straight panels and 6,000 sf of PAC-CLAD corrugated curved panels, all in a Galvalume Plus finish, were installed throughout the museum’s exploded-circle plan. The design creates a sense of movement, which is reinforced by the running lines of the structure’s corrugated metal wall and roof panels. On the team: GWWO Architects, Thornton Tomasetti (SE).


This dry joint, pressure-equalized aluminum panel rainscreen system starts at just $11.95/sf for panels, one of the lowest prices on the market, according to its maker. Twenty-one panel dimensions (ranging from 18x48 inches to 120x24 inches), combined with vertical and horizontal stacked and staggered panel layout options, maximize design flexibility. Formed corners and trim pieces are available, as are custom colors. Material is .080-inch aluminum with fluoropolymer finish.


To help combat deterioration from UV exposure during the construction process, Dörken Systems developed Delta-Stratus SA, the industry’s only vapor-permeable air- and water-resistive barrier with a fourth layer of added UV protection. The barrier features two outer layers of high-strength polypropylene fabric, a vapor-permeable, watertight polymeric middle layer, and an inner layer made of an acrylic UV-resistant coating. Delta-Stratus SA was tested using real-world conditions to ensure it retains optimum water-penetration resistance, air tightness, and building integrity. It is fully adhered, from back to edge, allowing for simple, straightforward application without fasteners.


EDITORS' PICK: This building wrap features a layer of multi-directional polypropylene fibers that diverts bulk water from exterior wall cavities. It sheds more bulk water than traditional wraps, protecting structures from moisture, mold, and rot. It can be installed in any direction without affecting performance. Offers six months of UV resistance. Has a Class A fire rating and drainage efficiency of 94.8% (per ASTM E2273). Five-foot-wide rolls come in 100-foot lengths.


Modified wood products manufacturer Kebony introduced a clip system that makes it easy for contractors to create a rainscreen cladding using the company’s wood siding. The system supplants predrilling of cladding, reduces installation and labor costs, and eliminates potential moisture penetration from face fasteners. It can be applied over most exterior and interior envelope design types, including directly over mineral fiber exterior insulation.


EDITORS' PICK: Metl-Span’s ThermalSafe insulated metal panel is now available with a Striated exterior profile. The metal panel features the company’s LockGuard interlocking side joint to achieve a one-, two-, or three-hour fire resistance rating for walls and 11/2 hours for ceilings. ThermalSafe’s core is made from non-combustible structural and non-toxic mineral wool boards processed to maximize compressive strength. The core insulating properties are 3.61 R per inch. Panels are 42 inches wide and available in thicknesses of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 inches.


EDITORS' PICK: The Perm-A-Barrier VPS 30 air barrier from GCP Applied Technologies is a primerless, permeable, self-adhering air barrier membrane. It features advanced adhesive to enable primerless installation on concrete, CMU, or exterior gypsum, cutting installation time by up to 35% compared to traditional systems, according to the maker. Designed for wall assemblies that require vapor permeability. Just peel off the release liner and adhere the air barrier to the substrate.


Grenfell Reaction Could Hamper Energy Efficiency Innovations

Mon, 2020-01-06 10:09
Energy EfficiencyBuilding Science

The government’s ban on using combustible materials in external walls of high-rise residential towers could stymie the use of innovative products such as photovoltaic panels and green walls, according to a leading designer.

The ban was introduced a year ago in response to the Grenfell disaster in 2017 in which 72 people lost their lives.

But Rob Buck (pictured), façade design associate at Arup, told last month’s Building Live panel debate on façade safety that the current testing regime was limited in scope and failed to consider how a particular product was going to be used.

Buck said he feared the blocking of materials such as photovoltaics “because they use laminated glass within the spandrel panel, and green facades, since they are in effect combustible products”.

He wanted to see a risk-based approach “based on sound fire engineering knowledge.

“And if that means we need to develop more understanding and more testing, then that’s where we should go,” Buck added.

Buck warned the current analysis regime for façades was limited. “The BS 8414 test [which assesses the fire performance of an external cladding system] is tied specifically with rain-screen products and there’s a debate in the industry whether that is applicable.

“I think there is a test that we should be able to employ to allow us to further learn about façades working in fire,” he said.

Another speaker told the gathering in London that government restrictions would lead materials manufacturers to be more innovative.

Russell Curtis, founding director of architect RCKa, said some manufacturers of cross-laminated timber were already looking at non-combustible versions of their product.

“They have to. It’s an existential problem. If you’re a CLT manufacturer you can’t sell your product to anyone who’s building reasonably tall buildings.

“Out of this there will be innovation around façade solutions and materials that will be positive, but it will take time.”

Fears around the use of timber in residential buildings have flared up in recent months following fires at low-rise developments in Barking, east London, and Worcester Park, south-west London.


Global Equity Fund Buys BASF's Construction Chemical Unit

Mon, 2020-01-06 10:05

BASF and an affiliate of Lone Star, a global private equity firm, signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of BASF’s Construction Chemicals business. The purchase price on a cash and debt-free basis is €3.17 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, subject to the approval of the relevant competition authorities.

“Our aim was to find a new home for our Construction Chemicals business where it can leverage its full potential,” said Saori Dubourg, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and responsible for the Construction Chemicals business. “Under the umbrella of Lone Star, the Construction Chemicals team can focus on a growth path with an industry-specific approach.”

“BASF’s Construction Chemicals business fits very well with our portfolio, complementing our investments in the construction materials industry,” said Donald Quintin, President of Europe at Lone Star. “We highly value the industry-wide recognized knowledge and competence of BASF’s Construction Chemicals experts, backed by a strong track record in innovative products and a compelling R&D pipeline. We look forward to jointly pursuing a growth-oriented business approach.”

With more than 7,000 employees, BASF’s Construction Chemicals business operates production sites and sales offices in more than 60 countries and generated sales of about €2.5 billion in 2018.

The signing of the agreement has immediate effect on the reporting of BASF Group. Retroactively as of January 1, 2019, sales and earnings of the Construction Chemicals division are no longer included in sales, EBITDA and EBIT before special items of BASF Group. The prior-year figures will be restated accordingly (BASF Group sales 2018 restated: €60.2 billion; EBITDA 2018 restated: €8,970 million; EBIT before special items 2018 restated: €6,281 million). Until closing, earnings will be presented in the income after taxes of BASF Group as a separate item (“Income after taxes from discontinued operations”).


DOE Final Determination: 2018 IECC Increases Energy Efficiency

Mon, 2020-01-06 09:59
Press Releases

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a final determination of energy savings for the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), affirming that the updated code will increase energy efficiency in residential buildings. DOE analysis indicates that buildings meeting the 2018 IECC (as compared to the previous 2015 edition) would result in national energy savings of approximately:

  • 1.97% energy cost
  • 1.91% source energy
  • 1.68% site energy

DOE is required to issue its determination following the publication of an updated edition of the IECC. More information, including supplemental energy and cost savings analysis, is available via the DOE Building Energy Codes Program.


New Report Identifies Opportunities for Energy Efficient Construction

Mon, 2020-01-06 09:53
Press Releases

Energy efficiency is a diverse and immensely powerful toolkit that has saved hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs while preventing sharp increases in greenhouse gas emissions, but progress is now at risk of stalling, a report finds. The first-of-its-kind report from the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy provides a consolidated analysis of the sweeping impacts of energy efficiency investments, policies, and innovation and the potential energy savings still ahead across a variety of sectors including residential and commercial buildings, industry, and transportation.

The Energy Efficiency Impact Report quantifies the scale of U.S. efficiency investments made over decades and their many impacts, ranging from energy savings, job growth, and reduced carbon emissions to public health and worker productivity savings. It notes these investments since 1980 have prevented a 60% increase in energy consumption and carbon emissions and are responsible for half of the carbon dioxide emissions reductions in the U.S. power sector since 2005. It also highlights the six most impactful policies – fuel economy standards, appliance and equipment energy efficiency standards, ENERGY STAR, utility sector efficiency programs, federal research and development, and building energy codes – which have saved an estimated 25 quadrillion BTUs of energy in 2017, equal to 23% of total U.S. energy use.

Despite these successes, the biggest opportunities remain ahead, and growth in smarter technologies and more responsive energy management could lead to new savings opportunities. Energy efficiency improvements using existing technologies alone could deliver more than 40% of the carbon reductions globally to meet Paris Agreement climate targets, and fully half of emissions reductions needed in the U.S. But the U.S. is not on this track to achieve these reductions, and even risks sliding backward, the report says.

While federal spending on energy efficiency has increased slightly from 2016 to 2018, estimated total domestic energy efficiency investment levels have fallen by 18%, the report warns. Energy intensity in the U.S. – the ratio of energy use to economic output – worsened slightly in 2018.

“There’s no question that greater energy and carbon reductions are technically and economically feasible through more ambitious action on energy efficiency, the question is will we treat this with the urgency it deserves,” said Clay Nesler, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. “This report shows that energy efficiency has been, and must continue to be, the leading solution to address the worsening climate emergency while simultaneously growing our economy and improving the health of our communities.”

 “Energy efficiency can slash US energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, getting us halfway to our climate goals,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “Given the urgency of the climate threat, we need robust investments in energy-efficient appliances, buildings, vehicles, and industrial plants.”

“Energy efficiency is the enabler for optimization and integration of clean energy technologies, and we need to scale it urgently to meet our energy and environmental objectives,” said Lisa Jacobson, president of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy. “Scaling energy efficiency is also critical to enhancing the resilience of energy systems. Recent disasters have strained energy infrastructure and buildings, costing billions. Upfront investments in energy efficiency not only decrease emissions but mitigate extreme weather impacts.”

The new report uses 54 indicators to quantify energy efficiency impacts, drawing primarily on data from federal and international sources. It examines efficiency progress in a wide variety of sectors including utilities, buildings, industry, and transportation, and explores the impacts of policy and other market tools used to incentivize energy efficiency.

The full report will be published at:


Proposal Would Extend Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit

Fri, 2019-12-13 14:26
Engineering & TestingBuilding Science

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee issued a draft version of the GREEN Act. The bill extends and modifies several tax in addition to creating completely new deductions as well. Of note, is the bills extension of the §45L new energy efficient home credit through 2024. The draft legislation states:

“Starting in 2020, the provision expands the maximum credit for eligible new energy efficient homes from $2,000 to $2,500 and makes eligible units with energy expenditures at least 15% below the expenditures of a comparable unit based on the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code standards. It also replaces the eligibility requirements for units eligible for the $1,000 credit to correspond with the Energy Star Labeled Homes program.”


Roofing Industry’s Advocacy Day: April 21-22, 2020

Fri, 2019-12-13 14:23
Building Science

Registration is now open for Roofing Day in D.C. 2020 held April 21-22 in our Nation’s Capital. Unite with roofing professionals from all industry segments throughout the U.S. to advocate for key industry issues, including increased investments in career and technical education programs for the construction sector as well as policies that support the deployment of energy-efficient building technologies and practices.

Registration is $95 for company representatives if you register by February 29, 2020. A room block has been secured at the Marriott Washington Wardman Park. Please make your hotel reservations right away as the room block will sell out. Click “Read More” for event details, hotel reservations, and registration information.

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