Energy Efficiency and Building Science News
Foam Systems, LLC , a leader in the spray foam industry and manufacturer popular brands such as Thermoseal Spray Foam Insulation, Igloo Foam Insulation, and others, announced today that it has opened its facility and has begun manufacturing spray foam insulation in Norwalk, CT.
Foam Systems objective is to open multiple manufacturing facilities across the USA and provide private label services to other spray foam brands and to anyone who would like a private label spray foam insulation system. Foam Systems claims to have the knowledge, experience, and ability to manufacture any systems its customers require.
“With the ever-changing environment in the spray foam industry given all the mergers and acquisitions, the only way to survive in the future is to open manufacturing locations across the USA. We are fully committed to this effort and have multiple manufacturing facilities across the USA under consideration,” says Richard Ettinger, General Manager of Foam Systems, LLC. “We are extremely excited about the opportunities across the country this will open up.”
Foam Systems has the experience to develop any foam system its clients desire and can help in the development of these systems.
“Foam Systems will change the competitive landscape across the USA,” Ettinger said.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, alongside officials from Yantai, China-based Wanhua Chemical Group Company Ltd., announced November 16 the company will build a $1.25 billion chemical manufacturing complex in Convent, La., on the east bank of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish. The site covers 250 acres near the intersection of Louisiana Highways 3125 and 3214 and also offers access for deep-draft vessels and rail service.
At the new facility, Wanhua will produce methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), commonly used for polyurethane automotive parts, foams and elastomers, along with other consumer segments like appliances, electronics, spray foam insulation, furniture, textiles and footwear. According to Louisiana’s office of Economic Development (LED), the project will create 170 new direct jobs with an average salary in excess of $80,000, along with 1,060 new indirect jobs, for a total of 1,230 new jobs.
“Our LED team, joining other state agencies and regional and local partners, has worked diligently with Wanhua to attract this next-generation MDI project,” Edwards said. “Louisiana offers world-class manufacturing sites, the most productive manufacturing workforce in the U.S., and LED FastStart, the nation’s top state workforce training program. Our infrastructure assets enable us to compete for the leading economic development projects in the world. We welcome Wanhua to Louisiana and look forward to the company’s contribution to our workforce and economy.”
LED Secretary Don Pierson traveled to Wanhua’s Yantai headquarters in early 2017 to meet company executives and complete plans for Wanhua to build a facility somewhere in Louisiana. Wanhua Chairman and CEO Zengtai Liao and Edwards announced those plans in April 2017. Wanhua opted for the tract of land in St. James Parish after additional engineering and development work. Wanhua will start construction next year, with construction substantially complete by the end of 2021. At peak activity, the project will about 1,000 construction jobs.
“Louisiana, and specifically St. James Parish, provides Wanhua with everything we were looking for,” said Weiqi Hua, CEO of Wanhua Chemical U.S. Operations LLC. “More than anything, successful operations are about people, and we know that Louisiana’s workforce is among the most productive in the world. Wanhua looks forward to being part of the Louisiana business community and the local community. Our desire to be a good industry neighbor will be evident in our focus on workforce development, local hiring, and our commitment to safe and environmentally responsible operations. Our employees will be fully engaged in the local community and we will communicate regularly and openly.”
Louisiana, with its extensive ports, pipelines, rail connectivity and highways, has a thriving chemical industry, which generates about $80 billion in annual sales and supports close to 270,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“Louisiana has leveraged our strengths to capture billions in new investment,” Pierson said. “We continue to work hard every day to create a business climate and quality of life that are second to none.”
Besides offering the state’s workforce training program, Louisiana officials offered Wanhua a performance-based grant of $4.3 million to offset site infrastructure costs. The company will also benefit from Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
Wanhua will join a crowded chemical corridor within the Port of South Louisiana, which covers both sides of the river between the ports of New Orleans and Greater Baton Rouge.
“The Port of South Louisiana welcomes Wanhua into our port, and we look forward to assisting them in any way we can,” Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin said. “We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship. I also want to thank St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel, Steve Nosacka with St. James Parish Economic Development, and Michael Hecht with GNO Inc. It was a team effort. The future of St. James Parish and the River Parishes is very bright.”
“This $1.25 billion investment will generate economic growth in our community in the form of high-paying job opportunities for local residents and procurement opportunities for local, small businesses,” said St. James Parish President Timmy Roussel. “I, along with the taxing authorities of St. James Parish, while following our land-use plan, want to see Wanhua become successful in St. James Parish, delivering new benefits to our residents. St. James Parish government works together with community, business, industry, and agriculture to provide resources and services to improve quality of life. We want our St. James Parish industries to continue to be a large part of our community, because St. James Parish is a great place to live, work, play and grow.”
“GNO Inc. is excited to have worked with our partners in St. James Parish, the Port of South Louisiana and LED to welcome Wanhua Chemical to our region,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “Louisiana is No. 1 in the nation for foreign direct investment because of global companies like Wanhua, and we look forward to supporting their success and growth in greater New Orleans.”’
Wanhua is a publicly-traded corporation listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The company established a business development office in the Philadelphia area in 2006 and a U.S. headquarters in Houston in 2014. The company established its manufacturing entity, Wanhua Chemical U.S. Operations LLC, in Louisiana in 2017.
A New State-of-the-Art Concourse
The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), known as the nation’s third busiest airport, has been undergoing a major overhaul that requires adherence to strict city building codes. With the addition of the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) in 2013, came a list of projects to be piloted throughout the airport. One of the major projects on that list is the new Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) North, a five-level, 750,000 square-foot expansion that will be accessible via a spacious 1,200 ft. long tunnel corridor with moving walkways from the Tom Bradley terminal. With 12 new gates, aircraft parking aprons and taxiways, the new concourse addition will improve operations, enable faster connections, and ease passenger access, all while providing state-of-the-art facilities. Corgan is the lead architecture firm, in association with Gensler and gkkworks (now CannonDesign), on the design build project for the Midfield Satellite Concourse. Turner Construction Company and PCL Construction Services, Inc. are managing the project. Construction, which is a part of a 1.2-billion-dollar initiative, started in February of 2017 and is expected to wrap up in early 2020.
Stringent Code Requirements
With the onset of design, the architects were aware the project had to meet the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) Mandatory and Tier 1 requirements. CALGreen is a state code with mandatory sustainability related requirements, while Tier 1 is a set of voluntary sustainability measures that each jurisdiction has the option to enforce. With their noteworthy commitment to sustainability, Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA) has chosen to require larger projects earn the Tier 1 certification. Tier 1 triggers a higher level of sustainability strategies, among which is the measurement of Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) on thermal insulation.
CALGreen is the first-in-the-nation mandatory green building standards code. Developed in 2007, it targets the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) from buildings, while promoting environmentally responsible, cost-effective, healthier places to live and work. The building code also seeks to reduce water consumption and responds to the environmental directives of the many development agencies. The formation of the CALGreen Code has been a vital step toward more efficient and responsible building design throughout California.
In order for the new Midfield Satellite Concourse to meet the CALGreen Tier 1 requirement, the thermal insulation used in the project had to meet key requirements that measured volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions. The architects needed a thermal building insulation solution that would meet these strict requirements while offering superior performance and fitting within the build budget.
A Wave of Design Needs
Because the new concourse is designed to complement the ocean wave theme of the airport, the architects envisaged a stunning curvilinear roof. This unique design element additionally demanded specific roof and wall configuration requirements. To bring the vision into reality, the team needed insulation materials that could be custom fit to meet their curvature and design needs.
The design and construction team began searching for an insulation solution that would meet or exceed all code and environmental requirements. Atlas EnergyShield and ACFoam products were continually recommended by industry experts due to their low VOC emissions and optimal performance. To ensure the Atlas products would meet the CALGreen Tier 1 requirement, both the wall and roof insulation solutions went through extensive GREENGUARD Gold testing: Atlas ACFoam®-II for roof insulation and EnergyShield® CGF Pro for wall insulation. Atlas polyiso insulation creates a versatile, effective barrier for thermal, air, moisture and vapor control, which were critical in this application and highly important features to the MSC build and design teams.
GREENGUARD Gold testing requires that products meet some of the world’s most rigorous standards for low emissions of VOCs into indoor environments. This certification provides designers, architects and contractors an easy way to identify premium products that aid in the creation of healthier indoor environments and release fewer pollutants that can contribute to health issues, including asthma and other respiratory issues. These standards are preserved by UL Environment and incorporate health-based emissions criteria established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State of California and other reputable public health agencies.
“The City of Los Angeles, unlike any other jurisdiction that I have worked with, has a very aggressive approach to sustainability,” said Jennifer Wehling, Sustainability Specialist at Corgan. “When it became clear the Tier 1 thermal insulation prerequisite was seemingly unattainable, the project team worked with the City of LA, the Building Standards Committee, as well as a number of industry experts in the matter to find a solution. We were highly selective in the products we chose to bring this project to life. Having successfully worked with Atlas in the past, we were thankful for their willingness to go through the GREENGUARD Gold testing process.”
After eight weeks of testing, both the Atlas ACFoam-II and EnergyShield CGF Pro products passed the vigorous requirements for GREENGUARD Gold certification. The size and scale of the project was significant. More than 5,000 squares of ACFoam are required on the roof, which represents 500,000 square feet. ACFoam is among the most sustainable and widely used roofing material, and it can be found on high-profile buildings throughout the country. The standard size of an ACFoam panel is 4’x4’ or 4’x8’, but due to the curvature of the roof, Atlas needed to custom make 2’x8’ panels of ACFoam in order to meet the architect’s design needs.
More than 215,000 square feet of Atlas EnergyShield CGF Pro wall insulation will provide the highest R-value, durability and water resistive barrier attributes to ensure the best building performance. The wall insulation is vapor permeable and composed of a Class A fire-rated (NFPA 285 compliant), closed cell polyiso rigid foam core faced with a high performance coated glass facer on the front and back, which meets all project and code requirements and ensures a continuous insulation solution.
To complete this project, the design build team will utilize a combination of 715,000 square feet of Atlas building products, including Atlas ACFoam roofing insulation and EnergyShield wall insulation.
Impact & Results:
In addition to attaining the CALGreen Tier 1 requirement, the build and design teams are aiming for the concourse to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It also provides a framework that project teams can apply to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. With both Atlas ACFoam and EnergyShield CGF Pro being GREENGUARD Gold certified, it will help the project to gain the prestigious LEED Silver certification.
The state of California has taken steps to lower the VOC emissions inside buildings, and by utilizing the Atlas polyiso roof and wall insulation solutions, a healthier indoor environment can be enjoyed by everyone visiting the new Midfield Satellite Concourse at the LAX airport. The new concourse will see major efficiencies, including significant environmental improvements and better thermal insulation management. Atlas products continue to be sought out in high-profile commercial and residential environments due to low VOC emissions and providing an effective yet versatile thermal barrier for air, moisture, and vapor control. All teams involved worked together to make sure products and testing satisfied stringent code requirements. For this project, Atlas was the only manufacturer willing to commit to the GREENGUARD Gold testing standard, obtaining certifications for insulation requirements that will not only help projects earn the stringent CALGreen Tier 1 certification, but also provide new options for projects seeking LEED v4 certification, setting a new standard for what architects and builders can achieve in future projects.
Today, Performance Building Solutions, a business of DowDuPont Specialty Products Division, announces the new, patent-pending GREAT STUFF™ SMART DISPENSER™, an innovative solution to make air sealing easier, more precise and with less product waste. The SMART DISPENSER™ is changing the game, with a dispenser that is reusable for up to 30 days, provides no drip, less mess and greater control.
The new SMART DISPENSER™ will help end-users fill gaps and cracks efficiently and quickly, with precision application. Consumers can worry less about wasting a nearly full can of GREAT STUFF™ after one use. This new technology and design of the dispenser will give contractors and DIYers alike the flexibility to move from project to project seamlessly, with the option to come back to their air sealing job at a later time.
“We listened to our customers and went back to the drawing board to design a new, patent-pending GREAT STUFF™ dispenser that answers the two biggest complaints, messiness and the lack of reuse,” said Dan Schroer, R&D Program Leader, Performance Building Solutions. “From concept ideation, to 3D printed working prototypes, to ultimately the final design, we worked with our customers to develop this new best-in-class dispenser. We’re extremely proud of what has been accomplished. With this game-changing innovation, GREAT STUFF™ just got greater!”
Each GREAT STUFF™ Insulating Foam Sealant is specially formulated to seal gaps and cracks to help block air, moisture and pests. This new dispenser will be applied to all GREAT STUFF™ Insulating Foam Sealants, including: GREAT STUFF™ Big Gap Filler, GREAT STUFF™ Pestblock, GREAT STUFF™ Gaps & Cracks, GREAT STUFF™ Multipurpose Black, GREAT STUFF™ Fireblock, GREAT STUFF™ Window & Door and GREAT STUFF™ Pond & Stone.
“The GREAT STUFF™ SMART DISPENSER™ is representative of Performance Building Solutions’ continued commitment to bringing innovation to the market grounded in consumer feedback and addressing end-user needs,” said Amy Radka, Consumer Market Leader, Performance Building Solutions. “Utilizing market listening exercises and deep market intelligence, the team worked to develop a game-changing solution for dispensing one component can foam sealants. GREAT STUFF™ provides a simple, cost-effective solution to improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and ultimately, a more comfortable home, and now dispenses easier than ever before.”
The average home has a half-mile of gaps and cracks where air and moisture can enter1 and air leaks account for 25-40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a typical home. According to the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), proper insulating and air sealing can help lower heating and cooling costs by up to 30 percent.2 By filling gaps and cracks with GREAT STUFF™ Insulating Foam Sealants, homeowners can see immediate savings while making the home more comfortable and environmentally friendly for the long term.
Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched LEED Zero, a new program that will address net zero operations and resources in buildings.
“Net zero is a powerful target that will move the entire industry forward,” said Melissa Baker, senior vice president of technical core at USGBC. “For years, LEED projects around the world have aspired to net zero milestones. We are recognizing the leadership of these projects—and formalizing our commitment to focusing on carbon and net zero across the entire LEED community. These new certification programs will encourage a holistic approach for buildings and places to contribute to a regenerative future and enhance the health and wellbeing for not only building occupants, but all of humanity.”
LEED Zero was informally released by USGBC in September at the Global Climate Action Summit. LEED Zero is open to all LEED projects certified under the BD+C, ID+C or O+M rating systems, or projects registered to pursue LEED O+M certification. LEED projects can achieve LEED Zero certification when they demonstrate any or one of the following: net zero carbon emissions, net zero energy use, net zero water use or net zero waste.
“For more than two decades, LEED has provided a framework for high performance buildings and spaces, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions through strategies impacting land, energy, transportation, water, waste and materials,” added Baker. “Building on that work, LEED Zero is a complement to LEED that verifies the achievement of net zero goals and signals market leadership in green building.”
LEED certification recognizes that a project has implemented a number of sustainability strategies, reflecting reduced contributions to climate change as well as beneficial impacts on water resources, biodiversity, human health and well-being, regenerative material resource cycles, social equity and quality of life.
LEED Zero builds on LEED by recognizing specific achievements in building operations and rewards projects that have used LEED as a framework to address important aspects of green buildings and taken their buildings to the next level by designing and operating toward net zero goals. LEED Zero encourages a holistic approach for buildings and places, which will contribute to a regenerative future. This is part of a vision to ensure that the next phase of USGBC’s efforts will be LEED Positive, where buildings are actually generating more energy than they use, and removing more carbon than they produce.
Cold weather regions pose unique challenges for architects and construction crews alike. Freezing temperatures and precipitation can lead to problems that harm structural integrity of the building envelope and the comfort of its occupants. Consequently, architects must take a variety of factors into consideration when drawing up plans and selecting materials for the building envelope, and construction crews need to take steps to ensure severe weather doesn’t cause costly delays. But with the proper considerations during both the planning and building phases, projects stakeholders can help ensure that they create a building that will withstand the elements both on time and on budget.
Let’s start with the planning phase. Some in the AEC community feel that cold weather climates demand a vapor-impermeable water-resistive and air barrier (WRB-AB) as a component of the building envelope, that isn’t actually the case. While a WRB-AB is necessary to keep the outside elements from making their way inside the building, choosing one that doesn’t allow vapor to escape can have a damaging effect on the health and structural integrity of the envelope.
The laws of physics dictate that moisture flows in specific ways to find equilibrium. It migrates from warm areas to cooler ones, from areas where it is dense to areas where it is sparse, and from areas of high pressure to low-pressure zones. As a result, frigid temperatures outside buildings located in cold-weather regions will create a vapor drive that causes the accumulated warmth and humidity inside a building to try to escape through the exterior walls. When the warm, moist air collects on those cool surfaces, it can condense into liquid water, which can lead to mold and mildew growth, peeling paint, and corrosion on metal assemblies. For this reason, it’s important to specify a WRB-AB that blocks bulk water but allows vapor to pass through, which will help to prevent the problems caused by condensation.
Ice buildup is also a major concern in cold climates. Since water expands as it freezes, ice can cause cracks in the façade and—if water makes its way inside the building envelope—structural damage to the building envelope. Accumulated snow and ice can also lead to thermal bridging, which allows heat to escape from inside the building through the thermal barrier, decreasing its energy efficiency. For these reasons, it’s important to spec a WRB-AB as part of the building envelope that will not only help keep water and cold air out, but also allow vapor to pass through from the interior to the exterior, which can help to help mitigate the problem of ice and snow formation on the outside of the building.
When it comes to the construction phase of any project, the main concern of building owners is that they’re completed on time and on budget. Unfortunately, in cold-weather climates, weather can cause major schedule disruptions. Owners who are concerned with having the building occupied as soon as possible will encourage their architects to find solutions that allow for construction to stay on schedule regardless of how bad the weather gets. Consequently, these designers will traditionally specify products that are inherently capable of being applied in cold weather. This includes liquid-applied WRB-ABs that are silicone-based or contain curing enhancers such as anti-freeze additives, self-adhering membranes with “cold-weather adhesives” or bond enhancers, and building wraps.
But even with their special formulations that allow for cold-weather application, these products must be applied within a specific temperature range in order to be effective. They also don’t account for changes such as drops in ambient temperature and ice and snow accumulation on the envelope’s substrate that can occur overnight or due to weather delays—both of which create bond-inhibiting conditions for liquid-applied and self-adhering WRB-ABs which can create application issues that can cause scheduling delays. For example, self-adhering membranes can require a primer if the temperature is below their application range. And if they’re applied when there is a layer of snow or ice on the sheathing, it can cause the adhesive to become brittle, or the product will bond with the snow or ice instead of the sheathing.
Liquid-applied products flow more slowly in colder weather, reducing their efficacy and changing their curing and absorption profiles, which can affect the thickness of the application layer. While rolling these products on in cold weather is difficult, spraying is even more challenging and can also be dangerous for workers, since the product can atomize and be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Ultimately, this could make additional coats necessary, which can delay the attachment of cladding and, in turn, the entire project.
To try to mitigate these circumstances and prevent costly delays, contractors often turn to tenting and heating to regulate the temperature around the envelope during the WRB-AB application process. But the cost to rent, erect and tear down the equipment and run the heaters can be exorbitant. On the other hand, sheathing with integrated WRB/ABs technology can be applied in cold weather conditions and remain exposed for longer durations, helping to alleviate concerns regarding temperature fluctuation and exposure to ice and snow.
Since integrated options only require sealing joints, fasteners, openings, penetrations and transitions, a flashing membrane that can be applied to damp surfaces, these systems can be installed in cold, wet conditions, helping to keep weather delays to a minimum. This makes it an ideal solution for architects who know they need to specify a WRB-AB that can stand up to frigid conditions. And integrated sheathing solutions don’t require additional products such as primers or special preparation for application in cold weather. They can be installed without tenting and heating, and without worry about proper adhesion or coating thickness.
Cold weather climates present challenges for both architects and contractors, which is why taking the proper steps during both the design and construction process is so important. To ensure the long-term health of the building envelope, architects need to feel confident that the WRB-AB they specify can be applied smoothly and effectively in frigid conditions and will do an effective job of protecting the building envelope throughout its lifetime. In short, choosing the right high-performance WRB-AB system will help ensure the project is finished both on time and on budget, and that the final product is a building capable of withstanding the elements while keeping occupants both safe and comfortable.
About the Author:
Jason Peace is the Senior Director of Marketing and Product Management at Georgia-Pacific Gypsum. With over 19 years of experience at GP, his extensive background includes the conceptualization and launch of DensElement Barrier System, the latest innovation in the Georgia-Pacific Gypsum portfolio of Dens fiberglass mat gypsum panels. In most of Peace’s roles, much of his focus has been on new product development, process engineering, and driving market advantage through strategic positioning for the future.
Efficiency Canada, an operating unit of the Carleton Sustainable Energy Research Centre, released a new report entitled, "Building a Competitive Economy Through Energy Efficiency," which lays out an energy efficiency strategy for Canada's Budget 2019. The report argues this strategy should boost competitiveness and growth for Canada. The summary from the report follows:
Energy efficiency enhances economic competitiveness and growth. Comprehensive economic modelling shows that meeting the energy efficiency objectives outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework would create 118,000 annual jobs and boost Canada’s GDP by 1%, while meeting one-quarter of the GHG reductions required under our international climate commitments.
Efficiency can improve Canada’s trade performance in all sectors. Spending less on energy waste allows Canadian businesses to weather economic disruptions and increase the amount of value that Canadian workers and firms capture from exporting goods and services. To take Canada’s oil and gas industry as an example, a recent International Energy Agency report showed that maximizing efficiency would result in one trillion ($US) dollars in additional fossil fuel trade revenues by 2050.
Efficiency improves productivity. Firms will be able to make more productive investments in new equipment and skilled labour by spending less on energy waste. Additional productivity benefits occur from creating more comfortable, safer, and higher performing buildings. Better ventilated and designed buildings improve labour productivity through increased employee satisfaction and reduced sick days. Better lighting can increase worker safety and increase sales for retailers. These economic benefits can be much greater than the saved energy.
Efficiency builds a more resilient economy by putting money in the pockets of consumers. It strengthens the middle class by making housing more affordable, and when consumers re-spend the money they save, the economic impact increases three fold. This boost to domestic demand will cushion Canada against potential economic shocks.
Finally, there is an opportunity to grow Canadian clean technology companies. Improving energy efficiency is a strategic investment in the clean technology sector because it enables companies to accelerate growth and demonstrate leadership.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report titled, Energy Efficiency 2018: Analysis and Outlooks to 2040.
The report shows that the world's energy intensity fell by 1.7% in 2017, resulting in the smallest improvement to energy efficiency in over a decade. IEA attributes the decline to a slowdown in the implementation of energy efficiency policies and says more can be done.
This year’s report provides a special feature in the form of a new World Energy OutlookEfficient World Scenario, which answers the question: What would happen if policy makers realised all the economically viable potential for energy efficiency that is available with existing technologies? This Efficient World Scenario and historic data are used to examine the following questions:
- What is the current rate of global progress on improving energy efficiency?
- What opportunities are available to scale up global efforts on energy efficiency to 2040?
- What multiple benefits does energy efficiency deliver, and how might these grow in future?
- What are the current energy efficiency trends in the transport, buildings, and industry sectors?
- What are current levels of investment in energy efficiency and by how much does investment need to increase in future to realise the opportunity of the Efficient World Scenario?
- What innovations in energy efficiency finance and business models could be expanded to drive greater levels of energy efficiency investment?
The 174-page report also provides analysis for buildings and appliances and highlights that "two out of three countries lack mandatory building energy codes and 60% of the energy use for appliances is not covered by standards."
In 2017, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was tasked by Congress "to define what it would take to achieve immediate occupancy performance codes and standards for all buildings in all types of natural hazards, specifically in terms of fundamental research needs, possible technological applications based on that research and key strategies that could be used to implement any resulting regulations."
This Congressional charge led to a report titled, "Research Needs to Support Immediate Occupancy Building Performance Objective Following Natural Hazard Events" that was completed in August. The publication identifies a large portfolio of research and implementation activities that target enhanced performance objectives for residential and commercial buildings.
“Current standards and codes focus on preserving lives by reducing the likelihood of significant building damage or structural collapse from hazards,” said Steven McCabe, director of the NIST-led, multiagency National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and one of the authors of the new publication. “But they generally don’t address the additional need to preserve quality of life by keeping buildings habitable and functioning as normally as possible, what we call ‘immediate occupancy.’ The goal of our report is to put the nation on track to achieve this performance outcome.”
In observance of Veterans Day, Meritage Homes Corporation and Operation Homefront are joining forces to thank a local veteran for his service. U.S. Army Specialist and two-time Purple Heart recipient Herbert Jackson was presented with the keys to a brand new, energy-efficient home. He and his family will move into the 1,837-square-foot property in Commerce City, Colo and enter Operation Homefront's Homes on the Homefront (HOTH) program.
During his seven years in the U.S. Army, SPC Jackson carried out multiple missions in Iraq and was honorably discharged in 2013 after suffering from a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and other injuries. Thanks to Meritage and Operation Homefront, this home will be the perfect place for Herbert and his wife to embark on a new adventure and raise their three children. The entire family looks forward to completing their education and establishing roots in their new community.
"This new home will actually make a huge difference," said Herbert. "It will definitely help us financially, and it will also allow us more room to focus on paying down debt, including earlier student loans. We are so grateful for the opportunity to move toward a stronger, more stable, and secure future."
The three-bedroom home, donated by Meritage Homes, comes complete with the M.Connected Home(TM) Automation Suite, a two-car garage, private study/flex room and a covered outdoor living area. It also includes Meritage standard money-saving features, such as ENERGY STAR(R) appliances, spray-foam insulation and energy-efficient windows, which can cut heating and cooling costs by as much as 50 percent.
Upon successful completion of the HOTH program, the Jacksons will graduate and receive the deed to their home. This is the twelfth new home Meritage Homes has built and donated to veterans through the Homes on the Homefront program. Since 2012, over 600 homes have been awarded, more than 500 families have graduated from the program and have been deeded their home, mortgage-free. The HOTH program has provided $75 million dollars in associated home equity to military families.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have been able to partner with Meritage to provide 12 mortgage-free homes to veteran families over the past six years," said Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray, Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. "Today, we thank Meritage for their unwavering commitment to supporting military families and helping us give Army veteran Herbert Jackson and his family, the opportunity to thrive, not simply struggle to get by, in the community they have worked so hard to protect."
"It is with tremendous pride and respect that we welcome the Jackson family into their new home, and we extend our sincerest gratitude to all of our courageous armed forces both here and abroad," said Steve Hilton, CEO of Meritage Homes. "We are humbled to be a part of this opportunity to help the Jackson family begin a new chapter in their lives and are honored to hand them the keys to their brand-new, mortgage-free home. We wish the Jackson family a home full of good health, stability and love."
The finished roof over the first story of the California house will be one sleek, continuous plane when it’s done. However, we had to come up with some unique framing details to keep that clean look while also reducing thermal bridging.
There are several roof areas that are not over conditioned space: the porch, the north overhangs, the breezeway, and the master-bedroom balcony. This created the need for several unusual transitions across the roof framing. Because we want the exterior insulation to wrap continuously up the walls and over the roof, we fastened the various ledgers and overhangs to the walls at these transitions with Maine Deck Brackets. The I-beam-shaped aluminum brackets provide a standoff of 4 in. from the framing, which is exactly equal to our exterior Rockwool mineral-wool thickness on the walls, allowing the insulation to slip behind these framing elements on its way up over the edges of the roof.
The aluminum standoffs hold the ledger 4 in. off the building to reduce thermal bridging. This ledger is for the porch roof on the west end of the house. A strip of the water-resistive barrier (WRB), Delta Vent-SA, is run at the top of the wall before bolting the Maine Deck Brackets in place so that there’s a continuous air barrier.
With the ledger in place, the roof of the large covered porch is framed with Trus Joist TJIs.
The overhangs on the north side of the house are also attached with Maine Deck Brackets.
Once the overhangs and porch roofs are framed, the crew integrates the air barrier/WRB with the strip that was installed behind the ledgers.
This view shows the first-story roof over the mudroom and first-floor bathroom (covered in black Delta Vent S underlayment), and the plywood sheathing of the breezeway roof to the right. It’s easy to see how the height of the ledger attached with the Maine Deck Brackets is 5 in. above the roof over the conditioned space of the house. The two roof surfaces will be in plane when 5 in. of exterior Rockwool insulation is placed on top of the Delta Vent S.
Seek Thermal today announces its Seek Shot™ and Seek ShotPRO™ - two powerful handheld thermal cameras built for commercial trade professionals. A previously cost-prohibitive technology, thermal imaging is becoming widely adopted by home and building professionals. Seek has pioneered the next generation of thermal imaging devices sized and priced for every toolbox.
Thermal imaging cameras detect heat, otherwise invisible to the human eye, which can be indicative of serious and costly problems and inefficiencies around a home or building. The technology allows professionals to identify leaks, electrical shorts, mechanical faults and energy loss as a way to assess the health of a structure in a non-destructive manner.
"Building professionals such as HVAC techs, home inspectors, insulators, electricians and general contractors need to easily and efficiently conduct diagnostic work and inspections quickly and safely," says Tim LeBeau of Seek Thermal. "Seek's new line of thermal imaging cameras will become one of the most important tools in the toolbox by allowing users to quickly identify leaks, shorts, mechanical faults, radiant floor issues and other inefficiencies that cause lost energy, money and resources."
New SeekFusion™ technology combines the diagnostic power of thermal imaging with the context and detail of a visible image. This allows the user to adjust the blend between thermal and visible images and quickly uncover hidden problems. SeekFusion empowers the user to create the perfect photo that tells the whole story.
After capturing photos with Seek Shot, on-device analysis features and reporting templates help complete jobs faster by utilizing professional thermography tools. Users can add spot measurements, temperature boxes, adjust the SeekFusion blend and change color palettes right from the camera. Now post processing of data can be done on the jobsite rather than back at the office, saving valuable time.
Seek Shot's all-new design brings a large interactive 3.5" color touchscreen to the palm of a professional's hands and also allows them to stream video over WiFi to a smartphone or tablet for collaboration and remote viewing. Seek Shot is light and compact enough to fit within a person's pocket and designed to withstand the wear and tear of working in the field.
The Seek Shot and ShotPRO are designed in Santa Barbara, California. Available at most industrial distribution outlets and on thermal.com, the devices retail for $499 USD and $699 USD respectively. For more information, visit: thermal.com
SWD Urethane is pleased to announce its Quik-Shield 112XC closed cell spray foam product is now Air Barrier Association of American (ABAA) evaluated. Quick-Shield 112XC can now be used on ABAA specified commercial construction projects. In addition to its ABAA evaluation, Quik-Shield 112XC has the lowest application temperatures of any closed-cell foam on the market and can be applied in temperatures as low as -5° Fahrenheit.
ABAA is the leading voice in the nation on the installation of effective air barrier systems in buildings and continues to raise standards through a Quality Assurance Program as well as offering training programs, continuing education, and third-party audits. The members of ABAA include trade contractors, architects, researches, manufacturers, and more.
“We are excited to bring value to our customers through this evaluation and along with ABAA we look forward to continually championing the highest quality of air barrier standards,” said Paul Warren, Codes and Engineering Manager at SWD Urethane.
Quik-Shield 112XC has been evaluated in accordance with the ABBA Process for Approval of Air Barrier Materials, Components, and Assemblies. Additionally, Quik-Shield 112XC has been fully tested by independent laboratories and meets the performance requirements for ICC-ES AC 377, CAN/ULC S705.1, the Canadian Government Standards for Insulation Material, and CAN/ULC S705.2, Insulation Application Standards.
SWD Urethane is a leading supplier of spray polyurethane foam, manufacturing over 100 types of polyurethane foams and polyurea coatings. SWD Urethane has been in business since 1972, and is one of the fastest-growing spray foam suppliers in the industry. SWD Urethane’s president, Jim Perkins, is also on the board of directors of the Spray Foam Coalition, a key trade organization for spray foam suppliers. For more information, contact Alan Annis, Marketing Director, at 800-828-1394 or marketing(at)swdurethane.com.
The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), the educational and technical resource to the Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) industry, today announced the completion of a 5-year update to its ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for three generic Spray Polyurethane Foam product formulations that include open-cell, closed-cell and roofing foams.
Completed in conjunction with thinkstep (formerly PE International), the 2018 updates also include a fourth product type: low-pressure two-component closed-cell insulation and sealant foams. Additionally, two, rather than one, separate EPDs have been published, aligning with the Spray Polyurethane Foam industry’s move toward the integration of blowing agents with low Global Warming Potential (GWP)
“In 2013, SPFA was the first trade association to develop and publish an industry-wide, ISO-compliant Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declaration for Spray Polyurethane Foam,” said Rick Duncan, technical director of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance. “This current update is key for the industry as it both brings our LCA and EPDs current and addresses a major shift within our industry toward more environmentally sound blowing agents, which dramatically reduce negative impacts to the Earth and climate.”
Working in conjunction with thinkstep, and their GaBI database, the SPFA’s initial 2013 LCA project effort included SPF products in three categories: open-cell low-density insulation, closed-cell medium-density insulation, and roofing foams. Current updates completed by SPFA and thinkstep align with ISO requirements and include the mandatory 5-year update to the LCA and EPD documents. This update, compliant with the new 2018 Insulation Product Category Rule (PCR), includes the original product types, as well as some new additions including the fourth product type representing low-pressure two-component closed-cell insulation and sealant foams.
In addition, as the industry transitions to low-GWP blowing agents, two separate EPDs have been completed. One EPD includes HFC-based blowing agents for closed-cell foams, while the second EPD includes HFO-based (low-GWP) blowing agents. Compliant with the new PCR requirements, an appendix in each EPD will include a list of participating manufacturers and applicable products.
The EPDs, which utilize the results of the LCA, allow spray polyurethane foam contractors to assist sustainable building designers in obtaining proper credit among leading sustainable building programs for spray foam insulation and roofing materials use. These programs include the US Green Building Council’s LEED4 program, the International Green Construction Code, and GreenGlobes, to name a few. For example, the current LEED4 program enables a building design to earn ¼ point for using products that have an LCA; ½ point for products with a generic EPD (such as the one from SPFA), and 1 point for products using a product-specific EPD from a material supplier.
The EPDs can also be used as general supporting information for customers wanting to use ‘green’ products.
Both the newly updated LCA, as well as the original LCA report, are available on the SPFA website. The first new EPD including open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using HFC blowing agents can be found at https://www.astm.org/CERTIFICATION/DOCS/414.EPD_for_SPFA-EPD-20181029-HFC.pdf. The second new EPD including open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using low-GWP HFO blowing agents can be found at https://www.astm.org/CERTIFICATION/DOCS/415.EPD_for_SPFA-EPD-20181029-HFO.pdf.
The Energy Star certification is now available for Ontario’s new mid- and high-rise residential buildings. In collaboration with EnerQuality and the home building industry, the Energy Star Multifamily High-Rise (New Construction) Pilot Program will help developers adopt energy-efficient practices when constructing new mid- and high-rise buildings in the province.
The five-year pilot program will recognize buildings that are 15 per cent more energy-efficient than those built to the provincial building code, along with other program requirements.
For builders and owners, certification means lower operating costs, increased rental value and occupancy rates, and greater engagement with clients and communities. For homeowners and tenants, it means superior energy performance and lower energy costs.
“This program will not only reduce pollution and consumers’ energy bills, but also create construction, consulting, and design jobs and stimulate innovation in the housing sector,” said Amarjeet Sohi, the federal natural resources minister.
Since 2005, EnerQuality along with the building industry and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has certified more than 88,000 Energy Star homes.
“After 13 years, the highly successful Energy Star for New Homes program has helped the building industry to adopt energy efficiency. It is only right consumers should benefit from Energy Star regardless of whether they buy a single- or multi-family home,” said Corey McBurney, president of EnerQuality.
The Glen House, a newly constructed 68-room hotel at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road, may technically be one of the newer structures in the region, but its roots run deep in the White Mountains.
The new hotel, built by construction management firm Martini Northern, of Portsmouth, is the fifth iteration of The Glen House to stand near the site of the original, which opened in 1852 to visitors flocking to the Northeast’s highest peak. The new, stately structure, which opened to the public on Sept. 12, pays homage to its predecessors by including aspects of its previous incarnations, offering a classic look in a bucolic setting.
The overall design is similar to the previous Glen House featuring clapboard siding and a front porch that evokes a traditional New England look, much like the grand hotels of New Hampshire.
While it may have the feel of a hotel that has been in place for generations, Martini Northern used an innovative approach to construct an energy efficient, sustainable, self-sufficient carbon neutral building. Thirty geothermal wells provide heating and cooling while future offsite hydro and solar will provide further energy generation.
Additionally, The Glen House has four inches of rigid and spray foam insulation on all exterior walls and eight-inch insulated hunter panels on the roof. The result is a very tight envelope for the building that sits in an area prone to excessive wind and cold.
At the heart of the three-story hotel is its expansive great room, which extends from the lobby to a welcoming sitting area featuring a towering stone fireplace. Massive windows reach up to the cathedral ceilings framing expansive views from the west-facing rooms and lobby overlooking a network of trails as well as spectacular views of the Presidential Range.
Step further inside and visitors will discover walls adorned with vintage photography that illustrates the long and storied life of the Mount Washington Auto Road, and The Glen Houses that came before — a touch that carries some of the historic DNA from its previous life. The reception desk and bar incorporate boards salvaged from an old barn on the property.
At the heart of the three-story hotel is its expansive great room, which extends from the lobby to a welcoming sitting area, with spectacular views of the Presidential Range.
“The wall coverings and recycled timber highlight what it looked and felt like here all those years ago,” notes Martini Northern President Peter Middleton. “There are images of a car race heading up to the summit and scenes of everyday life in the North Country.”
The guest rooms feature comfortable Shaker-style designs — providing a traditional feel — and yet guests can take advantage of amenities such as a gym, several dining options, an indoor salt water pool and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout.
Planning and design for the project began in earnest in 2015. Construction began in April of last year and was completed in September. As with any project, there were challenges — not the least of which was the location. Though beautiful, the setting presented a few obstacles that needed to be overcome. First and foremost was the weather which shortened the construction season and impacted workers every day.
Building in Pinkham Notch, located well north of most population centers, the project started with a sense of urgency as it progressed through the spring and summer of 2017.
“Obviously, with the winter coming, we built our schedule to get the building up and enclosed so we could work all winter inside,” Middleton says. “Then we could start to finish the outside in the spring.”
Nearly 20 days were lost during the long winter months as conditions made getting workers and material to the site, through the snow and ice, extremely difficult. It was just one of several elements that made the project unlike any other.
“The location was definitely a challenge but the owner involvement really offset it,” says Middleton. “The owner involvement was substantial and helpful — from design through construction.”
Owned by the Mount Washington Summit Road Company and managed by Olympia Hotel Management, The Glen House sits near the base of the Auto Road — a landmark that Middleton is coincidentally quite familiar with.
“My grandfather was close friends with the father of the owner of the Auto Road,” he says of his personal history with Mount Washington. “So there’s some history there. My grandfather ran Pinkham Notch for almost 40 years. There’s a proprietary connection there.”
It’s also a return to earlier projects for the Portsmouth-based firm. Middleton has now worked on projects at the summit and the base of the 6,288-foot mountain.
“For me personally, [overseeing construction of The Glen House] was very rewarding,” Middleton says. “When I was at the University of New Hampshire, studying to be an engineer, I worked with Harvey Construction on the summit building [the Sherman Adams Building] for two summers. It’s nice to have worked at the top and at the bottom of the mountain.”
In addition to Martini Northern, the project team included BMA Architectural Group of Amherst and Bedford-based design firms Stibler Associates and TFMoran as well as HEB Engineers of North Conway and Yeaton Associates of Littleton. Martini Northern’s onsite team was led by superintendents Ray Michaud and Roger Davis, and assistant superintendent Ben Middleton.
Key subcontractor partners on the project included GB Carrier Corp., of Conway; Chestnut and Cape, Inc., of Northwood; as well as Granite State Plumbing & Heating of Weare, Ray’s Electric, of Berlin, and Superior Fire Protection Inc., of Hooksett.
“All of our key partners were so critical to the project’s success and we had great participation from everybody,” Middleton says. “It was not an easy project — everybody had to drive a couple hours to get there with many of the workers staying overnight. They were all outstanding people to work with.”
Established in 1999, Martini Northern is a Construction Management/GC firm that oversees building needs throughout New England on institutional, corporate and healthcare markets.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Cold weather has swept into WNY with a forecast of snow showers later in the week. As furnaces fire up, many homeowners are wondering if they should get new insulation to reduce their heating bills.
The question is, which form of insulation is the best and most affordable?
According to James Hottum, vice president of Superior Insulation in Cheektowga, it really depends on how much a homeowner is willing to spend upfront.
Fiberglass is the cheapest while having the lowest efficiency and air sealing potential, explained Hottum.
Blown-in cellulose is the next best with it being more expensive.
At the top of the list, said the company vice president, is spray foam insulation which does the best job of filling cracks and gaps while sealing out cold air. However, it is the most expensive option of the three.
"Do you want to pay for it upfront or do you want to see it bleed out every month, a little at a time," said Hottum.
On average, a home with spray foam insulation can save close to 40% on its heating bills. Those savings can help recover the cost of the spray foam insulation over a period of 7 to 10 years, added Hottum.
One way to find out what type of insulation your home needs is to request a home energy audit by a state authority called NYSERDA: https://stars.nyserdagreenny.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI-N-ukI-J3gIVT57ACh0FgwUrEAAYASAAEgKmxfD_BwE
Another way to find out more about home insulation is to review information posted by the U.S. Department of Energy: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/insulation/types-insulation
Income-eligible individuals can qualify for assistance to pay for home insulation installation though programs like EmPower New York: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/EmPower-New-York
More information about Superior Insulation can be found here: http://www.superiorinsulation.net/
Just into the Francis Marion National Forest, a builder has spent two years constructing energy-efficient 1,700-2,400-square-foot homes costing $290,000-$320,000 — a sharp discount from prices in nearby Mount Pleasant. On top of that, the homes slash electricity expenses with super-insulated panels and eco-friendly products.
The company, Near Zero Energy Homes, framed 18 homes during that time while buying undeveloped lots at Brightwood Plantation off S.C. Highway 41 in Huger. Company owner David Mikulski plans to build out 26 home sites.
He chose the firm’s name as a riff on builders’ sometimes-grandiose claims of attaining “zero net energy,” when alternative-energy production such as solar panels cancel out traditional power generation. Having no net impact on “the grid” may be a stretch given present materials’ costs, he says. But “near zero” is attainable.
The company’s design strategy, he says, “has been doing very, very well.”
Mikulski’s modest-sized venture crafts houses using such energy efficient staples as structural insulated panels, insulated concrete forms and spray foam insulation in the attic. The firm lists six standard floor plans, he says, noting that Near Zero Energy Homes can tamp down construction prices to $80 a square foot.
“I’ve been building for 40 years,” says Mikulski, who moved from Pittsburgh to the Charleston area 29 years ago. “We incorporated a bunch of little different technologies,” he says. “I’ve been doing it the whole time.”
Near Zero Energy Homes’ experience with power-saving residential designs mirrors a number of Lowcountry builders in emphasizing tighter yet well circulated homes to limit wind and water from attacking structures over time.
“It’s something important to us,” says Will Herring, chief of locally based Hunter Quinn Homes. The builder expects to hammer together 100 new homes this year. Houses are tested under the Home Energy Rating System, which sets benchmarks and comes up with scores for energy efficiency. “Most of our plans (score) in the 60s, which is certainly better than a lot of homes,” he says.
The system’s information gathering can advance ways to save on power usage, such as choosing the right-sized home heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
“Along with efficiency is the health of the home, especially in a city like Charleston with the humidity. You don’t want (the HVAC system) to run hard” and then shut off again and again over the course of a day, Herring says. Instead, the unit should generate a steadier rate of heated or conditioned air over a more continuous time frame.
Hunter Quinn Homes in recent years has tweaked its duct system to lessen the chance of leaks and save on power. New and existing features include:
- Duct work strapped in a way to allow for clear air flow.
- Insulated foam seals on windows to prevent water and air penetration.
- Tight fits around in-wall electrical and plumbing lines.
- An advanced-framing technique of constructing wall panels in a factory “to precise standards allowing less infiltration and reducing waste.”
- A new Quick-Tie cable system, replacing a “passive” method that can create gaps between the wood framing and drywall.
- Tank-less water heaters that reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent by only heating water on-demand.
- Double pane glass that blocks ultraviolet radiant energy from entering the home.
- Performing duct-blaster tests to check for leakage. As much as 25 percent of energy loss is through the HVAC duct system.
- Inspecting with a door blower that pressurizes the home to determine overall air tightness, preventing moisture problems and reducing energy consumption.
Home shoppers offer mixed opinions on whether energy efficiency ranks high enough on their purchasing criteria to ask questions when they investigate properties. “Some of them do, some (house hunters) we explain to them,” he says. On its website, the builder touts its power-saving construction perks, noting, “Our energy efficient homes include many features that are otherwise considered ‘upgrades’ to other builders.”
That’s good news for buyers seeking power savings, since Hunter Quinn Homes has a wide berth of Lowcountry residential sites. It showcases seven neighborhoods (including at least one townhome community) in rural West Ashley, North Charleston, Moncks Corner, Summerville and Lincolnville as well as scattered single-family homes in downtown Summerville. Houses are sized 1,295-3,090 square feet and priced from $160,885 to $429,985, according to the company’s online pages.
Finishing a home on average every three-to-four days, Hunter Quinn Homes strives to produce solidly built residences that limit the chances of weather-related intrusion.
“Tightening the envelope, this is what we try to do,” Herring says.
On today's Build Show, Matt provides an interesting comparison of two stucco projects: One is an art-deco house from 1938 that is not too different than a lot of the modern houses being built today. When Matt comes to the job, the traditional 3/4-inch stucco was in relatively good shape for a house that's 80 years old.
The other project was the rehab of a building that was less than 20 years old that had a lot of the same features namely flat roofs and no overhang. The exterior on both buildings is getting soaked with every rain storm. But the newer building was an utter failure: It had completely rotten sheathing all the way down to the studs in many locations, and tons of damage that required the entire exterior to be stripped to the sheathing, a lot of that sheathing needed to be replaced, and entire structure reclad.
What are the difference between the two projects? Why did one fail and the other perform as we would like, and for as long, as our work should? Matt Risinger provides some answers.
Jordan Smith of the Build Show performs a rigorous (though not perfectly controlled from a strict scientific perspective) test that is impressive: It's impressive as a test in that it demonstrates some of the practical applications of this new glue from TiteBond. And it leads to some impressive results as Jordan takes the glue bond to failure.