Energy Efficiency and Building Science News

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

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.

STARTER BOARDS AT LIFESTYLE COMMUNITIES

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.

ROOF, WALL INSULATION AT LAX

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.

OPTIM-R

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.

VACUSEAL VENT SECURED ROOF SYSTEM

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.

PAC-CLAD AT CADE MUSEUM

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).

EN-V METAL PANEL SYSTEM

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.

DELTA-STRATUS SA

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.

TYPAR DRAINABLE WRAP

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.

PASSIVE RAINSCREEN SYSTEM

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.

THERMALSAFE STRIATED IMP

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.

PERM-A-BARRIER VPS 30

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
Business

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: http://energyefficiencyimpact.org/