Energy Efficiency and Building Science News

Tips for Making a Home More Energy Efficient

Wed, 2019-01-16 21:01
Building Science

Today is a great day to get started on a plan to reduce how much energy your home uses and make that energy cleaner. Making a plan will help you decide where to start. If a particular project sounds fun and easy, do it soon. If something feels too expensive or like maybe too much work right now, plan how it would be possible to tackle it by saving up, hiring someone to do the work, or working with friends.

The three biggest energy drains for most houses are heating, air conditioning, and hot water, according to William Healy, PhD, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

“The first thing to do,” he says, “is to build really airtight walls and really insulated walls. Once you do that, put in really efficient equipment, such as water heaters and lights.” Healy, an engineer who is an expert in energy efficient housing, manages the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility at NIST.

NIST’s test facility has shown that a house can generate as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis, in short, “net zero.” Healy says solar panels should typically come last; but solar panels put a home within reach of net zero, as well as superior comfort and vastly reduced utility bills.

Do an energy audit of your home

Begin by doing an energy audit, to find out where your home is losing energy. You can hire someone to do the job, but there’s a lot you can figure out yourself. Check out these tips from the US Department of Energy on how to do your own energy audit. We also have our own guide here. Consider investing in a thermal camera that attaches to a smartphone—the infrared camera can tell you where your home is losing the most heat. Snap photos from the outside of the building or walk around inside on a cold night. (The photos will be useful later when you are prioritizing work.) If you are into gadgets, this one is fun and will pay for itself.

Define your house’s “envelope”

One of the first things to think about is your home’s building envelope. That’s basically the line between indoors and outdoors.

Is your attic inside or outside the living space that you heat and cool? How about a basement or crawlspace? Your goal is to define the building envelope, seal it off from the outside world, so air is not leaking in and out of the space you live in, then insulate that sealed envelope. We’ll start at the top. But here are some likely places for major air drafts.

Seal the attic

One of the cheapest and easiest things to do is to seal off air leaks where you are losing heated and cooled air. It’s painstaking work but it makes a huge difference.

Air sealing, says Healy, is the best single thing you can do to increase the energy efficiency of your home. “The data is very clear. That’s the biggest bang for your buck… Because that’s generally where we are losing most of our energy.”

An attic is usually outside the building envelope and vented to the outside. Holes in the ceiling, made for light fixtures or bathroom fans or just the top of a wall, allow cold air from outside to flow into your home. Cold breezes from a light fixture, for example, can create uncomfortable drafts. It’s like leaving a window open.

Cold air even falls down inside walls, where it sits absorbing heat from your bedroom, even flowing out into a room through light switches, electrical outlets or where plumbing pipes come through the wall, in the bathroom or kitchen. If you put your face next to a light switch you might feel a tiny breeze. Brrr!

You can go around trying to seal every light switch and plumbing hole, and you probably should. But first, stop air flow at the source. Climb up into the attic and methodically seal every gap, from the very edges of the attic, over the exterior walls, to the holes drilled for electrical wiring or plumbing pipes. Or hire someone to do it. Here’s how it’s done.

If you can’t afford to hire help and don’t want to do an attic by yourself, consider collaborating with a small group of friends, forming a work party to air seal 3 or 4 attics over several weekends. Then celebrate together and plan what to do next.

Insulate your attic

Insulating your attic delivers the best return on investment of any remodeling project, reports the Rocky Mountain Institute, in terms of finances, joy, comfort, and health.

You can use fiberglass bats (and even lay them in yourself), but bats can leave gaps here and there. Alternatively, you can pay someone to blow in insulation that covers everything. It’s like having a down blanket over your house.

Once the attic is sealed and insulated, the home will be warmer, less drafty, and quieter. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your cozier home!

Find all the gaps

Seal any remaining gaps in your building envelope from the inside, around light switches, electrical outlets, light fixtures and plumbing pipes. This is pretty easy. Next tackle weatherstripping doors and windows, which scores of YouTube videos offer to explain. (If you want to go all nerdy on the best weatherstripping, check out Conservation Technology.)

Nobody will blame you if you put this off, but, eventually, seal the building envelope’s floors, plus the rim joists, which hold up the house. Depending on the house, this can be a big project, and contractors have myriad ways of approaching the problem, including spray foam, solid insulation boards plus beads of foam sealant, or masking off the whole underside of the house with thick plastic sheeting.

Prioritize if you can’t do everything

If you’ve gotten this far, you’ll realize there’s a lot to think about and a lot of pieces to consider. Every house is different and everyone has different finances and considerations. So, before you begin, think about why you want to make your home more energy efficient. Is it to save money and feel more comfortable? Or is it to get to net zero?

For example, a new gas furnace might be cheaper than electric ductless minisplits, depending on your house. In the long run, you’ll save more money and generate less greenhouse gas with the minisplits, but in the short term you save money with the gas furnace. Or maybe a contractor offers to insulate the underside of your house, but your thermal camera tells you are losing far more heat through your windows. If you can’t afford new windows, maybe you can put up thick curtains for not too much money. Curtains are great if that’s the right choice for you.

The main thing is to prioritize what will get you closest to an all-electric future in which you reduce your overall consumption of energy. Amazingly often, that saves you money in the long run and reduces your carbon footprint too.


Contractor’s Advice for Nova Scotia Insulation Retrofit

Wed, 2019-01-16 20:52
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Q: What are the best insulation strategies for a lakefront cottage that was never insulated? This place has a crawl space that allows access to the underside of the floor joists, and the walls are stud construction that can be accessed by removing some of the exterior wood siding. The roof is a low-slope metal installation but has no attic access as there is very little room available between the ceiling and the roof itself.

A: The first thing to understand is that you need to have a truly weatherproof exterior wall surface. If it’s easy to remove exterior wood siding to add insulation, then I’m thinking driving rains might also get in depending on how you seal things up afterwards. Are your exterior walls up to the job of keeping a sealed an insulated wall cavity dry all the time?

Spray foam is a great option for your walls, but it’s expensive. You might also have trouble finding a spray foam contractor who’d come to your cottage, though this is getting to be less and less of a problem.

One big thing to keep in mind is the dangers of insulating an exposed floor frame from below. Lots of people do this, but insulation can sag over time and they attract mice and other small creatures. And though spray foam works well, it’s a favourite thing for ants to chew into. The very best way to insulate a floor over a crawlspace is from above, with two-inches of extruded polystyrene foam placed over the floor inside, then a new 5/8-inch plywood subfloor added on top. This makes a huge difference to the warmth of the floor, and the insulation is safe from vermin.

Insulating a floor from above like this is the best approach, but the floor still won’t be super warm in the coldest weather. If that’s your goal you should consider electric infloor heating. The best I know of by far is made by Schluter.

Raw Material Shortage a Challenge for U.S. Spray Foam?

Wed, 2019-01-16 20:46
Building Science

Demand for polyurethane across NAFTA grew by about 4.4 percent per year between 2014 and 2016. Growth between 2016 and 2018 is continuing at that level or higher. Compounded annual growth in the US was closer to 4.6 percent. While in Canada demand is closer to 2.7 percent. Between 2014 and 2016 and in Mexico demand growth was a little higher than Canada.

Polyurethane production volume over the same period has volume has increased by about 2.4-4.4 percent, and is now around 8 billion pounds. The first time the production has the past the pre-crash level of 2006 of 7.6 billion pounds.

This growth is being driven by a few undeniable consumer trends. These include: Personalization from clothes to cars, to furniture; Continued urbanization; greater investments in personal technology and personal comfort; greater environmental awareness; and, a greater interest in to prevention in health and wellness.

Many of these trends rely on polyurethane innovation in part or all of the solution.

Innovating insulation

Spray foam insulation is a very strong in the North American market. It is increasingly replacing traditional insulation in construction and now accounts in the U.S. for over 40 percent of the market.

The industry drivers which have created this fast-growing business for us are: new residential construction; residential remodeling; and, replacing other insulating materials like fiberglass and cellulose.

In addition, the materials have advantageous cost-in-use performance especially, the water-blown polyurethane spray foam. This has better cost-in-performance than almost any other material and means it will keep growing in the insulation market.

One of the largest challenges we have as an industry is the shortage of toluene diisocyanate.

A tale of mishaps

Through a series of mishaps in our industry, and because the newer plants are of very high scale, production has been disrupted. This had a big effect in terms of availability and pricing. Shortages which were supposed to last 2-3 months have lasted 18 months. To some degree, these shortages have dampened growth in some segments.

Major operating issues, and the delayed start-up of both Sadara and the BASF plant in Germany have really created the shortages. We do feel that new capacity will come on stream and that this will gradually correct itself, barring other unforeseen surprises.

For MDI the trend is similar to TDI. With new capacity coming on stream in 2019 and the demand growth for MDI-based polyurethanes far exceeding that of TDI. There is a constant need for new capacity. The suppliers understand this, and building bigger, better plants, more efficient plants that will help our industry as we have the feedstock to continue to grow around the world.

Trade battles

Let me say a few words about trade rules. The chemical industry in the U.S and China are in the line of fire between the two countries. China is the third-largest country for chemical exports behind Canada and Mexico. It is important to know that exports of chemicals to China total $50.1 billion while imports from China totaled $80.2 billion.

In June, the U.S. reset the tariffs and announced a new 25 percent tariff on polyurethanes, PVC and lubricating oils. For now, it is hard to see what the outcome will be, but there are a few possible scenarios clearly this will change shipping routes.

The markets are very efficient, and will find a way round obstacles, although this will increase costs. But, in one scenario this will increase costs and force a delay or abandonment of millions of dollars of chemical facilities investment in regions because the supply would not be at the right location. The major risk of tariff increases may also lead to broader trade wars.

But, the North American polyurethane foam industry it is blessed with low cost feedstocks, a history of innovation and large-scale. That combination promises to help us to grow for decades to come.


San Fran’s MOMA Showcases Cutting-Edge Insulation

Wed, 2019-01-16 20:38
Building Science

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) reopened in May 2016 following three years of construction to make SFMOMA the largest modern and contemporary art museum in America.

The expansion project team, led by Norwegian firm Snøhetta, assembled a multi-disciplinary roster of composites companies, architects and general contractors to meet ambitious sustainability, performance and design goals.

Owens Corning’s building science experts joined Canyon Insulation, Res-Com Insulation, Inc. insulation contractors and Kreysler & Associates custom fabricators to consult on the project.

The Owens Corning team focused on cutting-edge applications of Thermafiber® mineral wool insulation solutions needed to address fire containment, acoustical and thermal control and energy conservation in the exterior façade, interior walls and mechanical HVAC systems. The collaboration led to the use of four solutions, including Thermafiber® RainBarrier® 45, Thermafiber® FireSpan® 90, Thermafiber® Safing, and Thermafiber® VersaBoard® 60.


The first step in creating the building enclosure was proving that the proposed fi re-resistant (FRP) panels could pass the stringent NFPA 285 test requirements. Previously, FRP cladding had not passed the NFPA 285 standard fire test method for evaluation of fi re propagation characteristics of exterior non-load-bearing wall assemblies and panels containing combustible components.

To address this challenge, custom fabricator Kreysler & Associates turned to Canyon Insulation and Owens Corning experts to achieve the signature facade. Together, the team devised the ultra-lightweight solution using Owens Corning Thermafiber fire-resistant technology and expertise to create the first-ever Fireshield 285* FRP panel system to successfully pass the NFPA 285 fire test.

“This breakthrough represents the first major use of FRP cladding on a multi-story building in North America and brings new flexibility to the future of commercial design for architects,” said William Kreysler, president, Kreysler & Associates. “We are excited to have pioneered this innovation in partnership with Owens Corning.”

A perimeter fire containment assembly was chosen using Thermafiber® FireSpan® and Thermafiber® Safing to help achieve outstanding fire protection in compliance with building code fire requirements.

Thermafiber® RainBarrier® 45 mineral wool insulation was specified in the open joint façade to provide energy saving continuous insulation (ci) with critical fire resistive characteristics. The exceptional performance of Thermafiber® RainBarrier® 45 in rain screen and cavity wall construction applications further helped the building breathe without sacrificing R-value. R-value is critical when managing interior thermal moisture levels needed to protect the art displayed in the galleries.

Owens Corning Thermafiber® products were incorporated into the building enclosure to help meet the International Building Code (IBC) requirements for fire containment and deliver exceptional thermal performance and moisture control benefits.


With the 225,000-square-foot addition, the Snøhetta design team strived to create seamless integration between the interior and exterior spaces of the new and original brick-wrapped Mario Botta building. A chief challenge for the interior design was addressing the highly sensitive temperature and humidity levels necessary to preserve works of art showcased in the museum. Given the additional energy usage typically required to maintain this balance, the team needed solutions that would keep the project on track to meet the sustainability and energy efficient goals for the building and meet U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED®) gold standard.

Working closely with Res-Com Insulation, Inc., Owens Corning recommended Thermafiber® mineral wool insulation product solutions to help maximize the building’s efficiency across thermal, acoustical and mechanical systems. Thermafiber® VersaBoard® 60 insulation was selected to help optimize acoustical and thermal control in the exposed and unexposed mechanical spaces as well as the penthouse. Engineered to repel moisture and provide a combination of fire resistive characteristics, enhanced acoustical performance, thermal insulation, and energy conservation, the multi-purpose Thermafiber® VersaBoard® 60 insulation delivered on each of the strategic interior design priorities.

To further support interior fire safety, Thermafiber® Safing insulation was also cut and installed into the top of the fire-rated wall assemblies for mechanical and electrical fire rated penetrations.

Thanks, in part, to the building science innovation incorporated throughout the design, the SFMOMA renovation has been heralded as an architectural masterpiece that merges both form and function to achieve new standards in fire safety, durability, performance and sustainability goals.

* Fireshield 285 FRP panel system is a trademark of Kreysler & Associates.



CA Designers Develop Steel-EPS Insulated Panel

Wed, 2019-01-16 20:18
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

The California housing market often seems like it's experiencing hurdles from all directions--an already tight and expensive market is overwhelmed by raging wildfires that have been hard to quell, making affordable, resilient, and sustainable building practices a crucial topic in the current home building climate.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based architecture and design firm Minarc is doing their part to answer to the issues with its innovative mnmMOD panels, a prefab product manufactured in Los Angeles using a blend of recycled steel and Cradle to Cradle-certified expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation to create a wood-free structural insulated panel (SIP).

The panels, the firm says, are 40% more energy efficient than traditionally built structures, and are installed with less labor and almost zero waste. The panels are customized to specific building plans and design aesthetics, and can be delivered to construction sites across the U.S. Overall, the sustainable panel system keeps building and material costs low to create more affordable housing options.

Here, Minarc’s Icelandic founders and designers, Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson talk with BUILDER about the panels:

The Dawnsknoll home in Santa Monica was built using mnmMOD panels.

What was Minarc’s mission in creating these panels? 
Minarc: mnmMOD panels were developed in reaction to the limitations and risks inherent in traditional wood framing. They are simpler to build with, more durable, more energy efficient, and better for your health than traditional wood construction. Compared to custom site-built homes, mnmMOD construction is the same in practice but is totally different in application. mnmMOD’s factory-fabrication saves time and labor on site while conforming to the building norms of site assembly and the rigorous site inspection process. We see these eco-conscious factory-fabricated construction methods as the future of building.

What are some of the noteworthy features of the panels? 
Minarc: The panels are wood free and use 100% wood-free and steel studs made from 34% recycled content, and are VOC-free. mnmMOD panels far exceed the required energy efficiency standards in California, and are built in a waste-free factory and construction site. The panels also prevent mold and termites from destroying a building, prevent mold and warping, and can withstand fire, which is a particularly attractive feature for California residents.

How does the panel make a home more energy efficient? 
Minarc: Looking at the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, a typical existing home scores between 101 and 250 and a newly built home typically yields a score of 100. The average mnmMOD home rates 60 without PV solar panels and can achieve net zero efficiency with the help of PV. This makes mnmMOD homes 40% more energy efficient than a standard newly constructed home. mnmMOD achieves this by having thermally broken walls and roof panels that yield an insulation value of R4 per inch for a total value of R24. We can also provide thicker walls and denser polystyrene that has a higher R-Value depending on client needs. The high insulation values increase home efficiency, significantly reducing dependence on heating and cooling systems.

Why do you feel it's important to focus on energy efficiency and sustainability?
Minarc: Building energy efficient homes is important for the future of our planet, as 16% of greenhouse gases generated in the U.S. are from residential buildings. It is the responsibility of the construction industry to build more energy efficient homes to reduce this figure. It is also vital that we construct these homes using methods that reduce our ecological footprint. In an effort to do so, mnmMOD utilizes steel and insulation that contains recycled content. Additionally, our factory fabrication methods lead to a waste-free and wood-free construction site in a world where 60% of all trees are used for construction and 40% of construction waste is wood. Unlike a stick-built home, mnmMOD does not require plywood sheathing and are also free of dyes, formaldehyde, VOCs, and MCFC.

How does the installation process reduce labor, time, and waste? 
Minarc: Factory fabrication methods not only lessen one’s ecological footprint but also save builders time and money. mnmMOD panels are customized to your specific building plans, then delivered flat packed to your construction site from our factory. Once on site, the installation is simple, requiring nothing more than a screw gun. This leads to faster construction, less labor than traditional wood framing and zero waste.

How much are the panels? 
Minarc: The average cost of the entire panel system is comparable to traditional stick-built methods; however, in the long run, home buyers will save thousands in energy bills and maintenance since mnmMOD panels don't mold, support fire, get termites, or warp.


Global SIP Market to Surpass $590M in 5 Years

Wed, 2019-01-16 19:56
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Structural Insulation Panels Market value is slated to go beyond 590 million-dollar mark by 2024, according to a forecast statistic analysis by Global Market Insights, Inc. Significant growth in the construction sector supported by rapid urbanization and industrialization will be a key impetus for structural insulation panels market growth. Technological advancements in residential & commercial construction regarding the energy conservation and reduced operational expenses will augment industry demand during the forecast period. Huge potential for new construction in South Africa, China, and Mexico along with favorable government regulations & policies towards green buildings will enhance product penetration.

Increasing R&D investments with respect to the high-performance, energy-efficient building components to conserve significant loss of natural resources will stimulate SIP penetration. These advancements are providing modern and fast-track building techniques for new residential and commercial construction which in return will boost the overall industry landscape. Moreover, collective efforts from the U.S. Government and Department of Energy are strongly promoting the best practices for the energy-efficiency concept further fostering positive business outlook.

Several government policies & regulations for increasing energy efficiency of residential & commercial buildings resulting in the prevention of natural resource depletion will promulgate the industry growth. For instance, EU Directive 2012/27/EU for Energy Efficiency (EED) have a key focus on improvising energy consumption by controlling energy usage in the buildings and renovate 3% publicly owned buildings acquired by central govt. With an area greater than 250 sq. meters annually. However, numerous innovative building practices, such as modular construction practices may negatively impact the business expansion over the forecast time frame.

EPS is anticipated to witness over 7% growth from 2018 to 2024. Expanded polystyrene is made from rigid cellular plastics and small beads of polystyrene raw materials. Major factors include easy to install, lightweight, energy-efficient, and availability in different colors will augment the structural insulated panels market. In addition, highly compatible with the OSB, minimum water absorption, and low vapor permanence are among the major benefits offered by the EPS.

OSB one side skin type will surpass USD 75 million revenue in the forecast period. Improvised code-compliant air barrier function of OSB one side owing to improved permeability will be a key impetus for industry growth. Potential usage in the construction of roofing and sliding walls to attain improved moisture resistance and heat transfer will proliferate the segment size.

Walls application held for more than 55% of the overall structural insulation panels revenue share in 2017. Continuous insulation provided by the application promoting uniform wall temperature and reduced moisture collection & convection which benefits building air quality and occupant comfort will proliferate the business expansion. Moreover, SIPs undergo negligible warping as compared to conventional material resulting in the installation of walls with more accuracy, will further propel the industry landscape.

Residential building applications are projected to surpass 45 million square feet demand by 2024. Customers are majorly focusing on building revamps with significant energy efficiency. Increasing adoption of new emerging solutions offering superior performance and enduring the building regulations will propel the end-use penetration in the structural insulated panels market.

APAC SIP market will witness over 7% CAGR from 2018 to 2024. Rising support from several government authorities across the region coupled with rapid infrastructural developments will promote positive business outlook. The upsurge in the construction expenses along with high industrialization rates in developing economies, including China, India, and Malaysia will augment the structural insulation panel's application scope across the region.


Homeowner’s Approach to Net-Zero Uses Spray Foam & CI

Wed, 2019-01-09 16:21
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Editor's Note: For further information on how the methodology the Mielkes used to create the "thermal envelope" in their home, check out

The house that Joel and Barb Mielke built for their retirement checks a lot of boxes.

It’s located in rural Preston. Large windows open to a view of acres of prairie. It has wood and stone detailing straight out of a home décor catalogue.

The 2550-square-foot home has seven rooms on the main floor (including an open-plan kitchen/dining/living room and office, a breakfast nook, two bathrooms, and a master bedroom), and five on the lower (including a rec room, third bathroom, mechanical room, storage room with freezer and larder, and a guest room). And, unseen to the naked eye, the house is rated a net zero on the HERS index (that’s the Home Energy Rating System).

The HERS index measures the energy-efficiency of an existing home and tries to estimate how much homeowners will have to spend on utility bills. A lower-energy home doesn’t use as much power, so its bills are lower. A net zero rating means that the home produces as much energy through renewable resources, such as solar panels, as it consumes.

When Barb and Joel designed their dream home, they wanted it to break even on energy. And after installing solar panels to create energy in the summer and a custom appliance system to use as little as possible in the winter, they did it.

Both of the Mielkes are chemical engineers. Joel, who worked at an oil refinery for 35 years, created the energy design. A home designer stepped in to tweak the floorplan. “Energy balances are second nature for me,” Joel says. “I’ve always been thrifty in the case of resources. I don’t like to waste things.”

Here’s how they did it.

1. They created a “thermal envelope.” The Mielkes’ house is insulated for maximum heat retention, with layers of polystyrene foam below and around concrete, spray foam and fiberglass (and more of the polystyrene foam) to protect the walls, and even more spray foam and fiberglass in the ceiling. Airflow is also controlled, and very few rooms in the house vent directly to the outdoors. Instead, hot air routes down and out through floor trusses.

2. Tripled up on window protection. The house has triple-pane windows (compared to a normal double-pane), to trap extra heat. The extra cost was minimal, Joel says, and the couple “wanted to push it as far as we could.”

3. Used the windows for more than the view. The Mielkes’ south-facing windows are 200 sq. feet and were specially shaded and treated to let the sun in during the winter (during the summer, they should be shaded) for passive solar gain. “By the end of September, we’re just starting to get sun into the house,” Joel says. That’s an extra little bit of heat that they don’t have to generate or buy. In an attempt to keep fossil fuel use to a minimum, the Mielkes also use a hefty Norwegian wood-burning stove to heat the house. They burn dead wood from the area around their house, and only harvest roughly 10 percent of the trees that fall on their land.

4. Relied on import/export. The Mielkes are on the grid. Their house and solar panel (it’s bigger than a car and sits next to the long drive up to the house) don’t have batteries to store the energy created. So when the sun is shining, Barb says, the Mielkes export energy to the local power company, which buys their electricity. When it’s cloudy, they import energy to power their home. Last year, the couple generated more than twice as much electricity as they used. “We’ve exported enough energy to offset driving our vehicles,” Joel says. Also, they didn’t pay any energy bills last year. “They gave us money back, actually,” Barb says.

5. Prioritized the environment. Quite often, when people hear about the Mielkes’ house, they assume that the couple wanted to avoid energy bills. But the larger issue at hand is environmental stewardship, Joel and Barb say.

6. Extended to the outdoors. The Mielkes’ house is built on 130 acres of prairie, much of which has been restored over the past few years. The ground had been previously tilled for farming, and the natural flora and fauna were destroyed. The Mielkes have tried to bring it back by harvesting seeds from native grasses and buying packets of the plants that would have grown in the area decades ago. Much of the work now, Barb says, is just trying to keep invasive, non-native species out of their giant yard.


New Insulated Concrete Wall Panel Introduced

Wed, 2019-01-09 16:16
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Arriscraft and General Shale, along with their exclusive dealer/distributor partners, are the exclusive North American distributors/dealers of the ProGUARD®DP, Drainage Plane Insulated Concrete Board Panels.

ProGUARD®DP Insulated Concrete Board, manufactured by T. Clear Corp., is a unique next generation building product designed for both commercial and residential applications. This game-changing wall system meets today’s rigid building codes in terms of energy performance and installs in a fraction of the time of traditional wall systems.

ProGUARD®DP, Insulated Concrete Board is a combined system that eliminates the separate steps of installing drainage plane material, insulation, wire lathe and mortar bed. Because the cement board and insulation board are laminated together, ProGUARD®DP features ¼” concrete board (rather than ½”) for a lighter weight assembly versus traditional systems. The cost of the ProGUARD®DP system is more than offset by the reduction in installation labour; it generally requires one third of the labour time and cost.

8 Signs a Home’s Building Envelope is Failing

Wed, 2019-01-09 16:13
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Winter is here—a little earlier than usual for some of us—and you might already feel the chill in your own home. If it’s your first winter in a new place, you’ll be experiencing how your home adjusts to colder temperatures for the first time. If you’ve lived with drafts for a while, it might be time to tackle the issue head-on. Pay attention to these typical signs that your home is poorly insulated and find out what to do about it as the thermometer starts its annual plunge.

High Energy Bills

This is a good indicator of your energy use (or misuse), but first, you have to have a point of comparison. One way is to check your home’s energy bill history. Many energy providers have dashboards that allow you to track your energy consumption over time and compare it to previous seasons. Another big motivator is comparing your energy use to your neighbours who live in similar homes. A behavioural science study showed that nothing motivates homeowners to use less energy than knowing what their neighbours are doing to lower their energy costs.

Fluctuating Temperatures

Your home should have even temperatures as you move through it, from room to room. If different rooms have starkly different temperatures, that’s a clear sign your home is poorly insulated. Your HVAC system with its return vents and ducts are a big part of enabling an even and comfortable environment, but insulation is also important because without it that expensive conditioned air will leak out of your home like it was never even there to begin with.

Chilly Drafts

During the winter months, drafts in certain areas of a home are caused by cool air entering around window frames and doorways. Windows are a source of 25 per cent of a home’s heat loss. Adding insulation will not only make your home feel less drafty, but it will also save money on energy bills. Spray foam insulation is the best choice for sealing and insulating cracks and crevices.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes in your walls are also huge indicators that you have an insulation problem. Proper insulation protects your home from damage caused by our freezing temperatures. Poorly insulated exterior walls can cause frozen pipes, which can burst and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.

It Failed The Touch Test

The walls, floors and ceilings of your home should feel warm and dry to the touch. When drywall and panelling inside a home feels damp or cold, that’s a clear sign there’s not enough insulation. Alternatively, when touching an exterior wall, it should feel cold because insulation is keeping warm air inside a home. A home can lose 35 per cent of its heat through the walls, so consider adding spray foam insulation to seamlessly seal walls right into the corners.

Cold Rooms

Are some of your rooms inexplicably colder or hotter than others no matter what you do? If those rooms are well ventilated, then the problem is probably poor insulation. Heat and cool air can escape almost anywhere that doesn’t have insulation to stop its path. These rooms are often above the garage or below the attic where it can pay to add insulation. Get an expert to help you with a spray foam insulation audit.

Water Leaks In The Attic

Water has a much easier time finding its way into a poorly-insulated home than a well-insulated one. If you’re experiencing a leaky attic, your insulation may be part of the problem. Water leaks around windows can also be a sign of poor insulation. Water damage can cause many costly problems down the road, including mould issues, so give leaks prompt attention.

Ice Dams On Your Roof

A sign of poor insulation in the depths of a cold winter are ice dams. Ice dams are a direct result of heat rising from your poorly-insulated home that melts the bottom layer of snow on your roof. The meltwater then trickles down towards your gutters and once it hits the colder air may begin to freeze. This can cause large chunks of ice and oversized icicles to form on the perimeter of your roof, called ice damming. Not only does it wreak havoc with your gutters and roof, but it also becomes a safety hazard for anything or anybody below—these icicles can grow to monumental sizes.

Get An Inspection

The easiest way to tell if your house is well insulated is to have an experienced insulation expert out to inspect your floors, ceilings, and walls. Many insulation installers have access to specialized inspection equipment and some are happy to offer a free in-home inspection. Spray foam insulation is one of the best ways to save money on energy bills, since it is easy to install in an existing building and keeps a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Roughly 25 per cent of a home’s heat seeps out through the attic and roof, and another 35 per cent goes out the window. It’s definitely worth checking insulation levels to put some of those savings back in your wallet.


7 Insulation Alternatives to Fiberglass Batts

Wed, 2019-01-09 16:07
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Insulation is an important part of any home. Not only does it retain heat during the winter by restricting air flow, but it also reduces the cost of heating and cooling throughout the year. For more than a century, most new homes were built with fiberglass insulation, but this can cause many health issues. If you are building a new house or remodeling in the near future, try one of these green home insulation alternatives to make your home safe and healthy.

Sheep’s wool

Not only is sheep’s wool fire retardant, but the material can keep your home warm the same way it helps sheep survive frigid temperatures. In recent years, scientists have figured out how to apply the insulating properties of sheep’s wool to home construction.

The compressed wool fibers form millions of tiny air pockets, and the outer layer is resistant to water while the inner layer absorbs moisture. This helps it generate heat while preventing condensation, and it keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

When you use sheep’s wool, you won’t have to adjust your heating and cooling system often, and that will save you energy and money.


Because cotton is a natural and renewable resource, it is one of the most eco-friendly insulation options on the market. Leftover blue jean scraps are shredded and recycled into thick batts that fit into your walls just like fiberglass. To make it safe for humans as well as the environment, companies treat the cotton with a borate solution, so the insulation isn’t flammable.

Cotton is also a natural insect repellent, doesn’t contain formaldehyde and doesn’t cause respiratory problems. However, compared to fiberglass, it is incredibly expensive, costing nearly twice as much.

Icynene Spray Foam

One of the strongest home insulation alternatives, Icynene is a spray foam made out of castor oil that expands about 100 times its volume when you spray it into a wall or ceiling. Not only does it seal leaks and drafts, but it also cancels noise.

Related: 10 money-saving tips for a green home

During the foaming process, Icynene traps in tiny air bubbles, and when the foam cures, the air remains in place. This is why the insulation works so well. However, the sealing powers of Icynene are so strong, you have to install a ventilation system. Because of the additional requirements, the upfront costs to install Icynene are expensive. However, it will reduce your energy bill so drastically, in the long run, you will save money.


At first glance, this might not sound like a green option, but polystyrene is considered to be green because it helps you save an enormous amount of energy. Polystyrene is a plastic that comes in two forms: rigid foam boards that will add structural integrity to your walls and a spray foam.


This man-made material is 90 percent air, but it is difficult for heat to pass through it, making it excellent for insulation. The legend has it that Samuel Stephens Kistler invented aerogel in 1931 after making a bet with a friend. Kesler bet that he could replace the liquid in a jelly jar without causing the jelly to shrink, and he won by removing the liquid and replacing it with air. This led to aerogel, which is made by removing the liquid from silica under high pressure and temperature.

Aerogel is ultra lightweight and comes in sheets or stickers for easy installation. However, it is pricey, costing up to $2 a foot.


This option actually has a negative carbon footprint, because the finished product is made from the outer bark of oak trees. It is natural, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable, plus it cancels noise and is free of toxins.


If you are looking to minimize the toxins in your house, cellulose is a good choice. Made from recycled newsprint and other paper, it is safe to install. Using this kind of insulation means that the paper in your walls didn’t make its way to a landfill to release harmful greenhouse gases.

When it comes to insulation, there is no right or wrong choice. But there are many different options out there with various qualities, good and bad. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each to find the insulation that works best for you and your home.


Researchers Turn Old Clothes Into Structural Panels

Wed, 2019-01-09 15:40
Building Science

As the saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure.

Now a group of Australian researchers has found one person's fashion mistakes could one day be another's home.

A team from the University of NSW has discovered a way to turn old clothing into building products, such as flat panels.

With an estimated 92 million tonnes of clothing thrown out every year, the researchers say the findings have important implications for global efforts to reduce waste.

"It could be said that consumers and the fashion industry have a lot to answer for, given that clothing is now one of the biggest consumer waste streams," lead researcher Professor Veena Sahajwalla said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Rather than export our rubbish to create more landfill, green microfactory technology has the potential to enable small and large-scale creation of newly manufactured products instead."

The new materials can be transformed to have a wood veneer or ceramic-style finish and have tested well in labs for strength, flexibility, load bearing capabilities and fire and water resistance.

More lab testing will be needed, however, before researchers can apply to have the materials assessed against construction regulations.

The world's population is expected to jump to 9.8 billion by 2050, and Ms Sahajwalla says more solutions like these are needed to preserve the earth's resources.

It's an issue the university's centre for sustainable materials research and technology has been working to address through the establishment of series 'microfactories' focused on turning waste into usable products.

But the university can't do it alone.

A major impediment is getting the technology commercialised and into the market, Ms Sahajwalla says.

She's calling on the government to develop incentives that will attract industry investment.


LP Promotes Benefits of Radiant Sheathing Over Spray Foam

Wed, 2019-01-09 15:35
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

If you’re a builder weighing the choice between radiant barrier sheathing and spray foam insulation for reducing attic heat, there are many factors to consider. LP recommends that you consult an energy rater to determine which option provides the most value for your application.

However, radiant barrier sheathing in general offers a number of advantages over spray foam insulation, including:

  • Proven Durability: Traditional vented attic assemblies with radiant barriers have a long history of reliable performance. Such systems allow for continuous drying of roofing materials during construction and throughout the life of the structure. Spray foam applied to the underside of the roof deck has the potential to trap moisture caused by roof leaks, potentially leading to rot and decay of the roof framing. These issues may go unnoticed for years until it’s too late.
  • Complementary Systems: Attic insulation works by slowing conductive heat flow from the attic into the living space, whereas radiant barriers reduce radiant energy from heating the attic – resulting in reduced attic temperatures by up to 20° to 30° F. This reduction in attic temperature significantly improves the efficiency of attic insulation. Combined, the two systems result in a highly energy-efficient and cost-effective solution.
  • Cost Efficiency: Spray foam is expensive – sometimes thousands of dollars more than other types of insulation. Plus spray foaming the entire roof deck consumes far more insulation than would be required on the attic floor in a typical vented attic assembly.
  • Better Ratio of Conditioned Space vs. Livable Space: Foam-encapsulated attics significantly increase the volume of space the homeowner must pay to condition (when attic floor insulation is eliminated) without increasing livable space.
  • Easier Installation: Radiant barrier sheathing doesn’t require any special expertise to install, while spray foam insulation requires highly trained installers using special equipment.

WA Plan Incentivizes 'Ultra' Energy Efficient Buildings

Wed, 2019-01-09 15:09
Building CodesBuilding Science

Gov. Jay Inslee was joined today by Democratic legislators and climate action supporters to unveil a plan that would launch a dramatic reduction of Washington state’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years.

The proposal would accelerate the innovation and efforts already underway across the economy to transition to 100% clean energy, construct ultra-efficient buildings, establish a clean fuel standard, electrify the state’s transportation system and phase down super-pollutants in certain products. Combined, the policies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035.

 “We know what it will take to combat climate change and we should be confident in our ability to invent, create and build the technologies that will lead us to a healthier and more secure carbon-free future,” Inslee said. “Washingtonians are ready to see their elected leaders step up to prevent further harm to our forests, our air and our communities. These are enormous steps forward in our effort to save our state and our planet.”

Bold action at all levels of government around the world is necessary to avoid the 2.7-degree global temperature increase scientists predict will happen within the next 20 years. The most recent climate assessment by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns the climate is warming faster and with more dire consequences than previously predicted.

A recent federal climate report laid out impacts to the nation’s national security, economy, public health and infrastructure as well as impacts specific to the Pacific Northwest such as damage to crops and possible extinction of certain aquatic species.

Continued innovation in ultra-efficient and low-carbon technologies is crucial to driving down emissions fast enough to avoid or delay worst-case scenarios. Inslee says governments can adopt smart policies to unleash that innovation so it can happen at a bigger scale. That technological development also comes with enormous economic opportunity.

“We see the answers to climate change all around us every day. Electric vehicles, solar panels on rooftops, energy efficient appliances, biofuels… new technologies are emerging every day,” Inslee said. “Driving down emissions and reducing carbon means harnessing that innovation and super-charging our efforts to do it more, do it bigger and do it faster. We can do this. We must do this. And we’ll all benefit from the economic growth and increased security that comes with it.”

Democratic legislators agree that climate action will be a priority in the upcoming legislative session.

“Our highest public and moral responsibility is to lift up the state’s quality of life and care about our grandchildren’s grandchildren,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle. “This agenda is central to a long-term, strategic approach to the next generation of our state’s energy and climate policy. I’m particularly excited by the depth and breadth of alignment between the House, the Senate and the governor to move forward on meaningful climate action. Our economy, our environment and our children deserve no less.”

The Legislature in 2008 adopted greenhouse gas emission limits of 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035. This requires the state to further reduce emissions nearly 16 million metric tons per year.

“2019 can and must be a breakthrough year for clean energy and greenhouse gas pollution reduction in Washington. Powerful policies to accelerate our clean energy transition and grow clean energy jobs in our state are a top priority for House Democrats. We plan to move forward with laws reducing pollution across multiple sectors — electricity, transportation, and buildings — showing that clean energy and a strong economy are both compatible and mutually reinforcing.” — Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-West Seattle

“Today I stand with the Governor, my colleagues in the Legislature, and the people of my district to fight for a clean-energy economy that works or all of us. We must transform the way we generate electricity by accelerating adoption of renewable energy sources. We’re in a race to move beyond fossil fuels and achieve a 100% clean grid. It’s time to sprint.‎” — Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Ballard

The biggest emissions reductions — nearly 6 million metric tons — in Inslee’s proposal comes from the transition to 100% clean energy. The proposal would make Washington among the first states to end all coal-fired electricity consumption by 2025, transition toward carbon neutral electricity in 2030, and lay the groundwork to eliminate all fossil fuels in electricity generation by 2045. To help spur clean energy technology development and deployment, Inslee is also proposing a 40 percent increase in the state’s successful Clean Energy Fund.

Ultra-efficient buildings have the potential to meet 100 percent of the state’s electricity growth over the next 20 years, making it another important strategy for reducing emissions. Inslee is proposing a comprehensive clean building package that incentivizes and encourages retrofitting of buildings and adoption of updated building codes for new construction.

Click here for more information and to see the full plan.

MA Dept of Energy Plan Focuses on Reducing Energy Use

Wed, 2019-01-09 15:00
Building CodesBuilding Science

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources recently released its Massachusetts Comprehensive Energy Plan Commonwealth and Regional Demand Analysis. This is part of the efforts there to comply with Governor Charlie Baker's (R) Executive Order in 2016 which requires this plan to include reasonable projections of the Commonwealth's energy demands for electricity, transportation, and thermal conditioning.  The report notes that the vast majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Commonwealth derive from the use of energy. Reducing GHG emissions from the energy supply is necessary to achieve their environmental goals and mitigate climate change. The CEP also includes strategies for meeting these demands in a regional context, prioritizing meeting energy demand through conservation, energy efficiency, and other demand-reduction resources in a manner that contributes to meeting the Commonwealth's greenhouse gas emissions limits set by the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) of 2008.  

Click here to view the plan in its entirety

Illinois to Update State Energy Code to 2018 IECC

Wed, 2019-01-09 14:46
Building Codes

The Illinois Register, published on December 7, 2018, gives notice of amendment to existing rules which will update the state's energy code from 2015 IECC to 2018 IECC. These changes are authorized by the Capital Development Board Act and the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Act, which requires the adoption of latest published edition of the ICC's International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as the energy code for Illinois. The rules were also altered to revise the requirements for State funded facilities to comply with the IECC versus ASHRAE standards, remove the variance process for State funded facilities as this is covered in the IECC, add exemptions for State buildings that are allowed for private commercial buildings and to rearrange or reword a few sections to provide consistency.  Click here to view the rule in full.

Canada’s Largest Passive House Retrofit Uses Spray Foam

Thu, 2018-12-13 10:56
Building Science

As one of Ontario’s leading developers of affordable housing, Indwell’s Graham Cubitt is passionate about creating “a really amazing place to live” for people who have often had very poor housing experiences. Indwell’s vision is to provide community renewal for its tenants, neighbors, and the broader cities where it undertakes these much needed projects. Cubitt said, “Our interest also extends to energy efficiency. It’s important for our tenants, many of whom have experienced homelessness, mental illness, or other disabilities, to be able to afford their utilities. Because Parkdale Landing will deliver such high performance, our tenants will enjoy safe and stable housing with very low utility bills.”

It is important for Indwell that its choices of insulation, equipment, and other construction materials reduce environmental impact. “A deciding factor for us was that Insulthane Extreme provided a global warming potential many times less than alternative products we considered,” said Cubitt. “There really wasn’t a difference in the cost of the overall project to use this much superior product. It became a clear, values aligned choice for us as a non-profit organization committed to environmental stewardship, along with economic stewardship.”


Provide Invizij Architects with an insulation solution to meet the Passive House standard for Indwell’s Parkdale Landing 57-unit apartment retrofit project. Built by Schilthuis Construction in Hamilton, Ontario, the complex will provide energy-efficient, low-maintenance housing for its low-income tenants.


Invizij and Indwell chose Elastochem’s Insulthane Extreme closed-cell spray foam formulated with Honeywell Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA). Great Northern Insulation, a leading contractor for over 37 years, applied six inches of spray foam (three passes) over membrane on the exterior walls to achieve a nominal R-39* in insulating performance and added air tightness.

“We’re proud that Solstice LBA is contributing to Indwell’s goal to provide sustainable and affordable housing,” said Laura Reinhard, vice president and general manager, Honeywell’s Foam and Industrial Products business. “It’s also exciting to see the ongoing success of Elastochem’s Insulthane Extreme. As this project demonstrates, architects and leading contractors, such as Great Northern, value its ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) and superior foam performance.”


From the beginning, it was clear that close collaboration between Indwell, Invizij Architects, Schilthuis Construction, and others would be essential. This complex project included gutting, rebuilding, and renovating an approximately 60-year-old neglected, fire-damaged building that at one time was a tavern and rooming house.

Parkdale Landing’s design is intended to draw people’s attention and be an exciting new element for East Hamilton.

Emma Cubitt, project architect at Invizij, explained the design inspiration, “The building is located quite close to steel mills and the industrial part of our city. We wanted to reflect some of that heritage in the design by using exterior cladding that kind of looks like shipping containers, and colorful patterns to give energy to the facade."


Early in the design phase, Invizij explored different insulation options to achieve the high level of energy efficiency required for Passive House certification, including mineral wool, wood fiber, and various types of wall assemblies. “Because part of this building was a retrofit, we had to insulate on the outside of the brick that was already there,” Cubitt said. “Therefore, to simplify the overall construction, we decided to insulate the entire building from the outside. Spray foam was the best way to achieve the R-values* and the air tightness we require.” Fiberglass clips for the cladding were specified to reduce thermal bridging.

Rockford Boyer, technical manager, building enclosure, at Elastochem added, “Today’s architects want superior technology in their insulation. Traditionally, Passive House buildings have used basic insulation types such as mineral fiber and others. By applying Insulthane Extreme to the building’s exterior over the membrane, it is providing a high-performance building envelope with a very low GWP.” Boyer emphasized that like all insulations, spray foam must be installed correctly and therefore, Elastochem partners with experienced contractors such as Great Northern Insulation (GNI).


At Parkdale Landing, GNI is spraying 23 sets of Insulthane Extreme. C.J. Vanderwoude, GNI’s corporate production, training, and development coordinator, said the installation is going very well, “Our crew really enjoys the product. The adhesion and foam consistency have been extraordinary. The crew is also excited about being able to control and spray the same pattern at all times, with consistent yields and densities.”

He said, “To have a system that is easy to use for our sprayers, especially during training, is very important at GNI. The Solstice LBA system is an asset to us and all other insulation companies.”

Mike Benetti, Elastochem’s commercial sales manager, is pleased with the way architects and contractors are embracing the product, “Architects see the environmental benefits of Solstice LBA over traditional spray foam materials and we’re seeing a big uptake in both the commercial and residential segments.”

Benetti said, “Insulthane Extreme is an integral part of Elastochem’s future growth. Due to its outstanding performance, as well as the phaseout of HFC blowing agents, we see it becoming a larger and larger percentage of our sales.”


Graham Cubitt explained that Parkdale Landing will not only provide high quality housing, it represents much more, “For us, the underlying values are hope, dignity, and love. When we extend that to our tenants, they thrive. When we extend that to our neighborhood, it thrives. When we can extend that to our environment, we know we are having a positive impact on every community we’re a part of and we’re really proud of that.”


Oregon Adopts Alternate Energy Efficiency Building Code

Wed, 2018-12-12 16:45
Building CodesBuilding Science

The Oregon Building Codes Division has adopted an alternative energy code for energy efficiency. Their Zero Code Efficiency Standard is based on the Architecture 2030 ZERO Code and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2016 (Standard 90.1-2016). This statewide alternate method meets the provisions of Chapter 13 in the 2014 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC), which oversees any construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, and installation of materials and equipment in or part of commercial building structures throughout the state. The Oregon Zero Code Efficiency Standard consists of three parts: 

  • Compliance with Standard 90.1-2016 (verified via COMcheck) 
  • Identification of the projected energy use for the proposed building 
  • Identification of the required amount of onsite or offsite renewable energy to achieve a net zero building

Click here for more information.





2018 IgCC Integrates Previously Separate Standards

Wed, 2018-12-12 16:38
Building CodesBuilding Science

The 2018 International Green Construction Code (2018-IgCC) has been released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), International Code Council, ASHRAE and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). The IgCC is a model code that has applicability for incorporating green building strategies into building codes to improve the standards of living for people in communities across the globe.

“Our hope is that building professionals and policymakers alike adopt better, greener building strategies that help them better implement LEED and achieve higher performance in sustainability,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC.
“Over the last several decades, market leaders have adopted LEED and achieved higher levels of building performance and sustainability in the face of increasing global challenges,” adds Ramanujam. “USGBC has led the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, an unrivaled standard of living critical to providing a better quality of life for millions of people around the world. And with the 2018-IgCC, we are helping people build upon that work, as well as on the universal truth that every human being deserves to live in spaces that foster longer, healthier lives.”

When pursuing LEED certification in jurisdictions that adopt the IgCC green code, USGBC will allow project teams to be recognized in LEED for their compliance to select IgCC measures.

The 2018-IgCC update accomplishes two important tasks:

  • It will help governments streamline code development and adoption.
  • It will improve building industry standardization by integrating two previously separate guidance documents; ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES 189.1 – Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings and the Code Council’s multi-stakeholder International Green Construction Code.

The 2018-IgCC combines the technical requirements developed by the ASHRAE Standard 189.1 with the model code administrative provisions by the Code Council. As a result, the 2018-IgCC is a unified code that emphasizes adoption, ease of use and enforcement for building projects.

“The 2018-IgCC leverages ASHRAEs technical expertise to offer a comprehensive tool that has a direct effect on how green building strategies are implemented,” says Sheila J. Hayter, 2018-2019 ASHRAE President. “Improving energy efficiency, building performance and indoor air quality are at the core of ASHRAEs mission and we are encouraged by the impact of this landmark model towards realizing more a sustainable future for us all.”

“Building safety codes help our communities prepare for the future,” states Dominic Sims, CEO, International Code Council. “Taking into account the latest technologies and cost-effective strategies for dealing with resource scarcity, the IgCC helps cities, states and countries build stronger, smarter, sustainably and more resiliently.”

The IgCC is a part of the Code Council’s suite of model codes, including the International Building Code; International Existing Building Code; International Energy Conservation Code; International Mechanical Code; International Plumbing Code and International Fire Code and is suitable for use in building codes around the world. Many jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad incorporate the International Codes in their building design and compliance processes to construct structures.


Video: DowDuPont Breakup to Generate $1B in R&D Funding

Wed, 2018-12-12 16:33
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

DowDuPont's highly anticipated split into three companies, set to occur in 2019, will generate nearly $1 billion in research and development funding, DowDuPont chief Ed Breen told CNBC on Thursday.

"The beauty of redoing the portfolio — and I'll use DuPont as the example — [is] we're going to spend almost $1 billion on R&D per year, so it's at a rate that's very healthy compared to the competitive peer set," Breen told Jim Cramer in an interview.

DuPont, where Breen will stay on as a full-time executive chairman, will become a standalone specialty company focused in various secular markets including transportation, electronics and nutrition.

"What happened is you're bringing R&D in from the Dow businesses that came in and the DuPont [businesses]," Breen said on "Mad Money." "You're bringing that R&D into the same end market opportunities, like in nutrition and health. We both had nutrition and health companies, and now you're bringing double the R&D to bear on that industry."

DowDuPont CEO on upcoming split from CNBC.

Breen, who is known for successfully engineering a decade-long, five-way split of former monolith Tyco, said that DuPont represents the "fast-growth" portion of the spin-off involved in "secular growth" areas of the market.

"That's where we put our science and research. So for instance, in the auto industry, we're the ones electrifying the cars, which is the wave. We're also the company lightweighting vehicles, which is a huge trend that's going to continue," he said.

He added that these end markets explain how DuPont's business grew 10 percent in a period of declining auto sales.

"You've got to be in the right secular areas and that's where we are really diverting our R&D and innovation machine so we're in the high, fast-growth areas over the next five to 10 years," the CEO said.

Breen added that DowDuPont's three-way split would bring "three world-leading companies in their respective industries" to the market. He said they would be "shareholder-friendly" when it came to dividends, and forecast share buybacks at all three entities "as soon as" the split is completed.

DowDuPont's stock slid 0.65 percent in Thursday's trading session, settling at $59.44 a share. The stock dipped slightly in extended trading.