Energy Efficiency and Building Science News

Atlas Roofing Products Help Facility Achieve LEED

Wed, 2018-11-07 16:12

Background & Project Challenge

The Oakland, California-based health care company, Kaiser Permanente, recently commissioned HMC Architects to design a medical office facility that would meet the demanding standards for LEED Platinum certification. The 28,000-square foot building in La Habra, California features 25 exam rooms and 16 physician offices. HMC’s design emphasizes occupant comfort and energy efficiency while maintaining compliance with strict environmental regulations.

Swinerton Builders, the lead contractor on the project, faced the challenge of minimizing thermal breaks and preventing moisture intrusion in the stucco-clad wall assembly. Traditional stucco installation involves putting thousands of holes through the insulation and weather barrier layers to attach metal lath—possibly leaving the assembly vulnerable to air and water penetration. To eliminate this potential weakness, Swinerton and HMC Architects combined the latest envelope technologies with the traditional appeal of stucco in the most environmentally responsible way possible.

Approach & Solution

After an extensive evaluation of products that could meet their demanding requirements, HMC chose Atlas EnergyShield® Pro continuous wall insulation in tandem with the patented Diamond Furr® TT-4 lath attachment system by Brand X Metals. This combination of high R-value insulation and penetration-reducing stucco installation yields a thermally efficient wall assembly that is also an air and watertight barrier, ensuring the design’s success.

HMC recognized that Atlas EnergyShield Pro provides the highest R-value per inch of any insulation. This allows a thinner insulation profile, an important consideration when designing with heavier claddings such as stucco.  EnergyShield Pro resists water, air and vapor penetration and offers zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and zero global warming potential (GWP), making it an environmentally responsible choice as well. In addition, EnergyShield Pro has recently earned UL’s GREENGUARD Gold certification for low VOC emissions.

Having chosen a premium insulation, the HMC team turned their focus to maintaining the integrity of the thermal, moisture and air barrier—a difficult task to achieve with stucco as it is conventionally installed. The Diamond Furr TT-4 system by Brand X Metals, Inc. solves the problem of stucco lath attachment through the envelope by reducing the overall number of fasteners required and sealing the remaining fasteners to maintain the integrity of the air and moisture barrier.  The Diamond Furr TT-4 system also incorporates wire-tied lath, greatly reducing the possibility of cracks in the stucco and moisture penetration. Tested in an accredited IAS testing lab, Diamond Furr eliminates fasteners around termination points and reduces field fasteners by 55%. This results in an 85% overall reduction in the number of fasteners used to attach the stucco.

On the Kaiser building, each 4 x 8-foot sheet of EnergyShield continuous insulation is held in place by the Diamond Furr TT-4 system and is secured with only two fasteners penetrating the insulation. Each penetration is covered with a 4 x 4-inch piece of foil tape. Diamond Furr furring strips, each backed with PVC strips that seal fastener penetrations through them, are applied in the field of the wall over the insulation and secured with screws. Wire ties secure the stucco lath to the Diamond Furr system, allowing sufficient movement in the stucco and avoiding penetration of the envelope.

Impact & Results

The Kaiser building is the first LEED Platinum certified medical office building in Southern California. Thanks in part to Atlas EnergyShield Pro wall insulation, Kaiser will enjoy long term cost savings through reduced energy use while the occupants enjoy the comfort that comes from improved air and moisture control in the building envelope. Doctors and patients alike will also benefit from EnergyShield’s low VOC content as demonstrated by its GREENGUARD Gold listing. Kaiser was also able to shrink HVAC unit sizes to reduce energy and carbon emissions for the building moving forward and ensuring it remains energy efficient in operation.

The building’s HVAC, cool roof coating, high insulation walls and roof, dynamic glass tinting, daylight harvesting and renewable energy sources collectively contribute to a 74.2 percent energy savings across the building.

Installed Building Products Buys Advanced Fiber

Wed, 2018-11-07 16:09

Installed Building Products, Inc., an industry-leading installer of insulation and complementary building products, announced October 31 the acquisition of Advanced Fiber Technology (“AFT”). Founded in 1988 and located in Bucyrus, Ohio, AFT manufactures cellulose, asphalt, and industrial fibers. The company has annual revenues of approximately $18 million and sells its products to distributors and installers predominately in the Midwest and Northeastern U.S.

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of AFT, an environmentally friendly cellulose insulation manufacturer,” stated Jeff Edwards, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “AFT provides us with an opportunity to vertically integrate our cellulose insulation supply in certain markets which we believe will have an immediate and favorable impact on our business and financial results. Cellulose is an attractive alternative to fiberglass in a variety of insulation applications. Doug Leuthold founded the company in 1988 and I am encouraged that he will be staying on to help IBP run the facility and grow our cellulose supply chain. I look forward to working with Doug and his team on this exciting new platform.”

“So far this year we have closed 10 acquisitions representing approximately $76 million of acquired revenues. Acquisitions remain a key component of our growth plan and we continue to have a robust pipeline of acquisition opportunities across multiple geographies, products and end markets,” concluded Mr. Edwards.

California Law Bans Future Flame Retardants

Wed, 2018-11-07 16:03

It’s a familiar story: a toxic substance gets phased out, only to be replaced with a chemically similar one that has the same toxic properties. An amendment to existing California law aims to stop this pattern of “regrettable substitution” by effectively banning whole classes of flame retardants in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and children’s products.

The covered classes—halogenated, organophosphorous, organonitrogen, and nanoscale flame retardants—may not be present in the product in concentrations above 1,000 parts per million. By prohibiting entire classes of chemicals, the law has the unprecedented effect of banning future flame retardants that may be developed.

“The State of California has found that flame retardant chemicals are not needed to provide fire safety,” the original law reads. The amendment goes into effect in January 2020.

Upholstered furniture, like the one on the right, as well as mattresses, and children's items are covered under the new law. 

More on flame retardants in furniture

Finding Furniture Without Toxic Flame Retardants

Ekla’s Natural Latex Couch Is Flame Retardant-Free

Healthcare Giants Boycott Furniture Containing Flame Retardants

A Net-Zero Certification from USGBC

Wed, 2018-11-07 15:59

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced a new certification that rewards net-zero carbon, energy, water, or waste.

To achieve the designation, buildings must first be certified under either LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) or LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM). Owners will provide a year’s worth of performance data to verify their net-zero status.

Details of the scoring methodology are still being worked out, said Melissa Baker, senior vice president for technical core at USGBC. For example, it’s not yet clear whether or how off-site renewable energy will be permitted in the net-zero energy certification. However, Baker did confirm that emissions from transportation would be included in the net-zero carbon certification.

Net-zero-energy buildings like the LEED Platinum NASA facility could be eligible for the new certification

Data will be reported through the new Arc platform, according to Baker. This is the same platform that’s behind the Dynamic Plaque, which displays scores in a number of categories based on actual building performance. It’s also the platform being used to track projects for LEED EBOM v4.1, currently in a pilot phase.

“We’re very excited to have another way to recognize leaders within the market,” Baker remarked. More information will be released at Greenbuild 2018 in Chicago, she said.

More on net-zero energy and carbon

New Zero Energy Certification Powered by ILFI and NBI

Why Schools Are Embracing Net-Zero Energy

Urgent: Zero-Carbon Buildings Needed

First Standards for Carbon Neutral Buildings Launched in Canada

For more information:

U.S. Green Building Council

Thank You! An EEBS Sponsor to Support CI Education

Thu, 2018-11-01 09:29
Industry Announcements

Energy Efficiency and Building Science has adopted a new look through sponsorship by the Applied Building Technology Group (ABTG).

This group has worked under contract with the Foam Sheathing Committee (FSC) for more than 10 years with the goal of advancing energy efficiency science through research that supports the application-specific design and installation of foam sheathing.

All the work that has been completed is now being disseminated through the website. The goal of this website is to organize information into easy to use categories so users efficiently find what they need. provides informational resources intended to assist  users with reliable, efficient, code compliant and economic design in the application of foam sheathing.

The website is owned and operated by ABTG with support from a grant provided by FSC, a part of the American Chemistry Council. FSC contact information and a list of member companies is available here.

One goal of the website is to foster a straightforward, common sense-based and cost-effective pathway to knowledge. Unlike typical insulation installed between framing members, continuous insulation provides an uninterrupted thermal barrier that aids in easier compliance with the energy code. It can provide unparalleled energy efficiency performance. Continuous insulation products can also serve as the water-resistive barrier and air barrier for a structure, providing a 3-in-1 building envelope solution.

ABTG’s sponsorship goal is to ensure that the community of architects, engineers, builders and framers have information that they need to implement continuous insulation as a professional alternative material, design and method of construction.

Any input into the work that everyone is undertaking in this field is always appreciated. This can take the form of writing articles, providing knowledge about research reports that we are unaware of, leading us to installation details that have proven to be effective, etc.  ABTG wants to continually improve the value provided to the market, and the best way to do that is to listen to users of the products and find ways to disseminate information that will reduce specific pain points.

If you have any comments please email us.

Finally, should there be other sponsors that are interested in advancing these concepts, please contact Suzi Grundahl at 608-310-6710 or There are several ways to collaborate in serving this innovative and valuable market.



NY Offers $1M for Net-Zero Building Innovations

Wed, 2018-10-31 16:40
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently announced that $1 million is available for net zero energy performance in new buildings.

According to NYSERDA, the money can go to large real estate portfolio owners – such as real estate developers, colleges and universities, retailers, public sector agencies, and other private, public, or non-profit entities – for support with developing energy performance standards and institutional mechanisms to enable the design, construction and operation of net zero buildings across their statewide portfolios.

Net zero energy buildings consume no more energy, on an annual basis, than they produce onsite through renewable energy technologies. Today’s announcement supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.

This Net Zero Energy pilot program is part of NYSERDA’s approach to support the design and construction industry as it moves to net zero energy and net zero carbon construction, renovation and operations. Designed to help developers embrace net zero initiatives, the program will support advanced high-performance building development methods and technologies while creating a group of leading institutions that publicly commit to adopting these practices.

To spur net zero energy performance across the state, NYSERDA, on a first come first served basis, will provide each approved applicant with a maximum amount of $250,000 towards technical guidance to be provided by a consultant with expertise in net zero building design and construction. Approved applicants will also receive help with identifying other NYSERDA programs that can offer additional financial and technical assistance for the construction projects themselves. Those businesses and institutions awarded funding will serve as an example for others to follow by demonstrating the technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of net zero buildings.

According to NYSERDA, approximately 100 million square feet of new construction is built per year in New York State. Once a building is constructed it is in operation for about 50-100 years, and it becomes much more expensive to execute significant energy saving measures after a building is already built. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate energy efficient measures as soon as possible during the initial predevelopment, design and construction of new buildings.

Currently, a significant portion of construction does not meet the current New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (ECCCNYS), let alone more advanced efficiency standards. This creates a significant opportunity to achieve substantial energy savings over the business as usual approach that will last for several decades. NYSERDA’s pilot program will support the new construction industry in building and demonstrating cost-effective net zero construction techniques that can be used to help justify the adoption of codes with higher performance goals and ultimately, to achieve a net zero energy code in the next 15-25 years.

Funding for this program is part of the New York’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund.


Insulated Concrete Forms Help Home Survive Hurricane

Wed, 2018-10-31 16:19
Building CodesBuilding Science

On October 10, Hurricane Michael spun Category 4 winds around the upper reaches of the Sunshine State. With sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, the tempest was the strongest to ever hit the Florida Panhandle—and the fourth worst to make landfall in the lower United States. Almost every structure at Tyndall Air Force base suffered structural damage. The seaside town of Apalachicola, 54 miles down the coast, saw an 8-foot storm surge. And Mexico Beach, which sits halfway between the two, saw three-quarters of its homes, municipal buildings, and businesses damaged.

But one structure withstood the storm, despite its front step sitting only 150 yards from the wet and windy Gulf of Mexico. Christened the “Sand Palace” by its owners, the blocky beach home survived not by luck or magic, but good design, says Lance Watson, vice president of Southeastern Consulting Engineers and lead engineer on the project. Here’s how—with money and expertise—the crew outmaneuvered Michael, and made this home a model of resilient architecture.


Debris from Hurricane Michael will marr the Mexico Beach landscape for months, but some of that trash was intentional. Engineers designed the walls encircling the ground floor of the three-story house to break away. These wooden slabs looked like any other wall, but bore no load. (That’s what the stilts are for.) When beating waves deliver 20 pounds of pressure per square foot to the storage space, the partitions wash away with the tide.

According to Watson, if the walls had the hardy concrete construction of the upper floors, the material’s structural resistance would have inadvertently increased the pressure of the storm surge, threatening the integrity of the stilts and the living spaces above.


The Sand Palace has great ocean views, but its proximity to the beach places it in a FEMA-designated high velocity flood zone—meaning it’s susceptible to the worst of a hurricane’s frothing waves. To compensate, building code dictates that the house must sit above the projected surge: In this case, that means the two occupied upper floors start 24.4 feet higher than sea level

To support such a spindly structure, engineers had to burrow. Concrete pilings dive 28 feet into the sand. The depth accounts for the total height of the home, with some wiggle room for wind-driven erosion. A hurricane can quickly strip six or more feet of ground cover.


Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) shape the upper floors. To make each 6-inch-thick wall, contractors pour concrete into precast frames and lace it with lengths of horizontal and vertical steel rebar. Two-and-a-half inches of foam on each side provide insulation and strips of polyethylene stagger throughout the block to act like studs. This setup lets contractors anchor sheetrock or siding into the core of the house, rather than superficially slapping them on the outside. Each additional component screws directly into the durable plastic.


“The corners of your house get the most wind pressure,” engineer Watson explains. The gusts act like a crowbar, pushing up against the overhangs. That’s why the owners originally considered building a round home. In the end, however, they opted for a method to reduce pressure on a traditional square building: slimming porches and minimizing awnings.


In the eye of a hurricane, shingles become shrapnel. The Sand Palace’s interlocking 26-gauge steel roof won’t rip apart and keeps a tight seal. Studies have also shown that the “hip roof” layout seen here, with four sloping sides, better withstands pressure from hurricane-force winds than a traditional gable roof, which has just two sloping sides.


Building codes and human ingenuity can stand up to Mother Nature—for a price. The owners estimate weatherproofing added 20 percent to the cost of construction, so many Floridians are priced out of resilience—especially since state and federal support is sparse.

True resilience takes place at a community level. Engineers have yet to formally validate this hypothesis, but some media outlets and passersby speculate that the only reason the house behind the Sand Palace is still standing is because its neighbor acted as a shield. The parts the Palace covered are intact, while balcony railing that extended beyond its shadow was ripped free. At the same time, another storm-girded house designed by Southeastern Consulting Engineers suffered structural damage when a nearby domicile flew off its foundation and into the ostensibly impregnable facade.


Scientists Nearing an Organic Polymer Building Material

Wed, 2018-10-31 16:07
Building Science

Scientists have taken a page from green plants and created a gel-like polymer that uses carbon dioxide from the air to grow, strengthen, even mend itself.

The creators, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of California-Riverside, developed the material with future applications of the polymer in construction, repair or protective coatings in mind.

The results were published in the journal Advanced Materials.

A life-like carbon-fixing polymer 

“This is a completely new concept in materials science,” says Professor Michael Strano, lead author of the study to MIT press.

“What we call carbon-fixing materials don’t exist yet today outside the biological realm.”

The carbon absorbing polymer represented here with molecules of AMPA, glucose. Image courtesy: MIT

Strano functionally described the material as a synthetic material that could grow on trees, take carbon from carbon dioxide and add them to its material backbone to grow.

The material doesn’t just avoid fossil fuels in its creation, but eats up carbon dioxide from the air and transforms it into a solid, stable form using sunlight, akin to plants.

Limited in shelf-life and strength

The polymer is made up of three primary components — aminopropyl methacrylamide (APMA), glucose and chloroplasts — along with an enzyme called glucose oxidase that allows it to add carbon molecules to its own chemical backbone.

While the researchers have managed to produce the polymer in tonnes, the properties of the polymer itself can be optimized a lot more, the researchers said to MIT press.

It isn’t strong enough for use in building material but can function as a filling or coating on surfaces.

The lifespans of chloroplasts, which, by virtue of being biological elements with a shelf-life, are one of the areas of future work for the team. Once the chloroplasts die, they can no longer carry out the reaction that fixes carbon dioxide — a crucial aspect of the material’s intended purpose.

Synthetic that grows, but doesn't reproduce

Undoubtedly, one of its key advantages as a component in construction would be its ability to self-heal. Imagine a building that needs nothing but ambient light and carbon dioxide to fix cracks, wear-and-tear and grow in mass.

The ability of the polymer to grow mimics some aspect of life but without the actual ability to reproduce — something entirely unique in the field of material science, Strano said to MIT press.

“Carbon dioxide need not be purely a burden and a cost,” adds Strano.

“We build the world with carbon. Humans are made of carbon. Making a material that can access the abundant carbon all around us is a significant opportunity for materials science.”


Roofing Industry Sends Investigators to Hurricane Site

Wed, 2018-10-31 16:01

The RICOWI Board of Directors announced deployment of four teams to investigate the damage to roofs from Hurricane Michael in the Panama City, Florida area. This will be the sixth hurricane team deployment. The Wind Investigation Program (WIP) teams will arrive in Panama City to begin their research October 25-26, 2018.  Team members for the hurricane wind investigations are wind engineers, roofing material specialists, insurance analysts, structural engineers, and consultants. A report will be generated an available online at

The WIP mission is to investigate the field performance of roof assemblies after major wind storm events, factually describe roof assembly performance and modes of damage, and formally report results of investigations and damage modes for substantiated wind speeds. 

This Program places experts in the field that have the required product knowledge and program training to ensure that sound, scientific and unbiased reporting occurs. Buildings will be safer, property losses will be reduced and industry will meet the challenge with clear insight as to needed direction. The reports generated by RICOWI investigation teams are utilized to help educate, improve products, installation techniques, safety, and reduce overall roofing and insurance costs for the industry. The results will also provide a valuable resource to FEMA and state emergency management agencies. 

RICOWI chairman David Balistreri stated:  "RICOWI volunteers will provide factual information on the roof damage, based on wind speed and other data. Clearly, this information will improve the roofing structure, and greatly help the community in the long term.”

Prior to Hurricane Michael, RICOWI conducted five of the most comprehensive roofing investigations of hurricane stricken areas: Hurricanes Charley (Aug. 13/04), Ivan (Sept. 16/04), Katrina (Aug. 29/05) Ike (Sept. 13/08), and a smaller investigation for Hurricane Irma (Oct. 31/17).  All research reports are available online as a download at

LP Focuses on 5 Changes that Make OSB More Versatile

Wed, 2018-10-31 15:57

OSB first burst onto the scene about 40 years ago as an affordable alternative to plywood. Versatile functionality, affordability, and resource efficiency helped OSB quickly become the leading residential structural panel product in the U.S.

And while OSB’s status as a go-to material hasn’t changed, many other things have. Thanks to continuous R&D, OSB sub-floor, wall and roof panels are available with an array of advanced performance capabilities, including options designed to stand up to Mother Nature’s worst.

Here’s how OSB has evolved—and what it means for you.

1. Beyond Waferboard
When stranded products were invented, they were called waferboard. OSB is in the same family and looks similar, but we’ve come a long way from wood chips and glues. OSB uses strands that are long and slender which allows them to be oriented in cross-directional layers within the panel. This creates both higher strength and stiffness while making a more dimensionally stable product.

2. Advanced Resins
Resins and waxes continue to improve, helping to increase the panels’ dimensional stability, durability, and moisture resistance. The industry is also increasing its use of MDI resins, which are polyurethane resins that improve premium panels’ moisture resistance even further.

3. Increased Versatility
Despite some misconceptions in the marketplace, OSB panels are not all the same. Using the processes and technologies described above, OSB has evolved to include good-better-best options that allow you to select products that best suit your project needs and budget. For the sub-floor, for example, high-performance panels allow contractors to leave floor systems exposed longer. For higher-end flooring such as hardwood, these premium panels offer better fastener retention to ensure the finished floor looks good for longer. On the walls, builders can choose from a range of options to meet specific project needs and upgrade home performance, including long-length panels that can lower building costs and increase wall strength; fire-rated sheathing to meet fire code requirements without sacrificing design values; and radiant barrier sheathing that blocks radiant heat to reduce a home’s cooling costs.

4. Different Levels of Moisture Resistance
Another common misconception about OSB is that it will always swell if exposed to rain. While some commodity OSB panels are more prone to moisture absorption and therefore potential for swelling, mid-grade options are less likely to swell, and newer premium panels perform so well that they often carry no-sand warranties even when exposed to the elements for months.

This breadth of options allows contractors to choose moisture performance based on application. For example, for a small production home where the house will be closed in quickly, a value-priced commodity sub-floor panel can be a good fit. For custom homes, which will likely be exposed longer and have high-end flooring on top, premium sub-floor panels are an ideal choice.

5. Advanced Features Assist With Installation
Along with added moisture resistance, premium sub-floor panels offer tongue-and-groove installation with self-gapping, ensuring panels have the right amount of room to accommodate expansion and contraction. Some premium panels feature drainage channels to assist with removal of bulk water.

Long a reliable option for sub-floors, walls, and roof sheathing, OSB’s advancing technology is ensuring the panels continue to play a vital role in homes across sizes, geographies, and budgets.

GP Touts the Benefits of Integrated Sheathing Products

Wed, 2018-10-31 15:57
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

The combined pressures of tight schedules, an ongoing shortage of qualified labor and environmental challenges across the construction industry have motivated contractors and building product manufacturers to turn to innovation for the efficiencies they need to provide relief. Thankfully, advancements in technology and manufacturing science are leading to a new generation of integrated products that are delivering substantial benefits to the industry.

Whether integration occurs by combining multiple products into one, through product innovation, or through in-factory assembly for later installation as is the case with prefabrication – the economic, installation, and safety advantages are significant.

Integrated products and systems allow manufacturers to add performance enhancements that provide benefits such as moisture control, indoor air quality (IAQ) improvements and energy generation that weren’t previously available. Integrated products help reduce installation time, as well as the size of the crew. In turn, this decreases the need for components such as scaffolding, and can require fewer trips around the building during installation reducing on-site job hazards. Work is completed in a safer, climate-controlled environment, eliminating the impacts of harsh weather and scheduling delays from work stoppages.  Let’s take a look at several categories of building products leading the way in the integration trend – integrated façade panels, integrated sheathing, and prefabricated interior walls.

In addition to finishing the exterior of the building envelope, integrated façade panels are helping to enhance the health and vitality of both the structure and its occupants. According to AR Vivek Bhole, Chairman and Managing Director Bohole Architects PVT. LTD., “Façades need not just envelope the buildings, but they should simultaneously participate in the structural systems as well. The selection of material and technology should make the building environmentally responsive.”

Getting fresh air into a building while also controlling moisture and temperature has always been a design challenge. One solution is integrating an energy-recovery ventilator into a façade panel, providing fresh air while “reducing the size of cooling coils, ducts, or other equipment used in centralized systems.” Another is the integration of air cleaning technology directly into the façade that use ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate pollutants so clean air is drawn into a building.

Take a step further into the building envelope and you’ll discover integrated sheathing, another innovation with significant productivity advantages. Traditionally, contractors finish their sheathing installation with a water-resistive and air barrier (WRB-AB), usually in the form of a building wrap or fluid-applied product. New integrated sheathing systems use a single product that functions both as a strong substrate to support exterior cladding and a continuous WRB-AB – saving substantial installation time.

The sheathing and WRB-AB are integrated in factory-controlled conditions, either through application of the WRB-AB on top of the sheathing or integrating it within the sheathing itself, as is the case with DensElement™ Barrier System. The WRB-AB is integrated into its gypsum core to form a hydrophobic, monolithic surface that blocks bulk water but allows vapor to pass through.  Simple on-site finishing with PROSOCO R-Guard® FastFlash® liquid flashing to fill and seal joints, fasteners, openings, penetrations and transitions, is all that’s needed.

“I think for any schedule-driven project – and most of them are today – these systems are going to be nothing less than the future,” says John Quintrell of Western Partitions Inc., superintendent of a DensElement™ Barrier System luxury condominium project, Block 20, currently under construction in Portland, Oregon. “When you compare other systems, on a project like this, you're talking thousands of man hours that are to be saved. If you're looking at it from that perspective, that'll jump you right to pure savings.”

Stepping inside the building we’ll find our third innovation, prefabricated interior walls. Built in factories with integrated electrical and network connections for ease of maintenance, they produce less waste, reduce jobsite hazards, save on labor costs and can reduce construction timelines up to two months. And since they’re modular, the walls provide building owners and occupants with the flexibility to reconfigure rooms as they wish.

Integrated building products are answering the needs of an evolving industry, which is why they’re being embraced in ever increasing numbers. According to Construction Dive, both Turner Construction and Gilbane are creating project manager roles for off-site construction. But it’s not only integrated products that are making waves in the community. In our next article, we’ll look at how building designers and contractors are joining forces early in the game to help create outcomes that benefit all project stakeholders.


DAP Develops All-in-One Door Install & Sealing Kit

Wed, 2018-10-31 15:53

DAP has bundled a number of its sealant and flashing products with an assortment of third-party door hardware to create the DAP QuickKit,  an all-in-one kit that contains all the materials and parts necessary to install and weatherproof one exterior door. 

According to Tom Rapps, Director of Marketing and Business Development for DAP, this kit serves to simplify the purchasing process for door installers, as these components can be hard for contractors to find in one place, or in the right quantities.

“As materials and techniques for exterior door installation have evolved over the past decade, finding the right materials in the right quantities has become a challenge, resulting in the loss of valuable time and money,” says Rapps. “The DAP QuickKit alleviates these issues by providing exactly what the installer needs to complete the job all in one box, without concern for missing materials, excess waste, or quality. No guesswork required.”

The kits are available in single entry-door, double entry door, and sliding patio door configurations. The single-door kit, available in a green box, accommodates rough openings up to 40 inches wide, while the double-door kit, packaged in a black box, accommodates rough openings up to 80 inches wide. Both are available in 4 and 9/16th inch and 6 and 9/16th inch jamb sizes. The sliding-door kit, also in a black box, accommodates rough openings up to 72 inches wide, and is available in 3 and 1/4th inch and 3 and 5/8th inch jamb sizes.

All QuickKit components are tested to meet the highest ASTM standards. Each kit includes:

  • DAP Dynaflex 800 Sealantfxwyvuwtwuaftsd: 3-4 10 oz. cartons. The mold-resistant sealant is watertight, weatherproof, and equipped to seal dissimilar substrates. It is tested to meet AAMA 800 specificaitons. 
  • DAP Draftstop 812 Window and Door Foam: one 9 oz. can. The foam is AAMA 812-tested to seal out water, air, and sound. Its closed-cell structure resists water absorption.
  • DAP LT Poly Flash 711: one 4 by 30-inch roll. Available at a smaller roll size than standard, providing just enough flashing for one installation. Includes a split-release liner and may be installed in temperatures as low as 0 degrees F.
  • One bundle of 12 pre-scored composite shims.
  • Jamsill Guard Sill Pan: one center extrusion for single doors and two center extrusions for double and patio doors, supplied in partnership with Jamsill, Inc. The ASTM 2112-compliant sill includes sloped weep areas.
  • Aluminum head flashing: 1-2 42” drip caps.
  • Twelve galvanized screws.

Building Products Consultant Evaluates Spray Foams

Wed, 2018-10-31 15:49
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally written for a U.K.-based publication. In this article, Kiwa Building Products Technical Project Manager, Simon Lloyd, looks at the new generation of spray foam insulation products.

One of the increasingly popular thermal insulation products in use today is spray foam insulation. While it has been in use for over 30 years, polyurethane (PUR) spray foam insulation products are considered by some to now have the largest market share of insulation products in the non-domestic market, closely followed by domestic retrofit and new housebuilding.

So popular has it become that a new generation of sprayed PUR foam products are coming to market with HFO blowing agents to comply with product standard BS EN 14315-2 In-situ formed sprayed rigid polyurethane (PUR) and polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam products. Specification for the installed insulation products and the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015 (or F-Gas Regulation as it is often referred to), which addresses the use of refrigerants and blowing agents.

Ultimately, the goal for the spray foam manufacturers is inclusion in the BRE Green Guide to Specification.

The new products are suitable for use as spray-applied thermal insulation that contributes to other aspects of building physics (eg air-tightness, water-tightness and sound insulation) for roofs, floors and external walls.

There can also be benefits in terms of structural stabilisation and as a repair medium.

Products are primarily for internal applications in existing or new domestic, industrial, commercial, agricultural and renovation projects.

Spray foam insulation can also contribute to solutions for mould, damp, condensation and thermal bridging. The installed products have a relatively high thermal resistance to the insulating layer thickness, saving room space.

Typically, the products consist of two liquid components that are mixed, and applied in-situ with appropriate spray machinery to form an open or closed cell structure of cured rigid seamless foam. The spray foam insulation is applied in layers, until the final required design thickness is achieved. It has excellent adhesion to most surfaces and will naturally expand to fill gaps, corrugated surfaces and complex or irregular structures.

Open cell foam is a soft, flexible, breathable low-density insulation. It is not as good an insulator as closed cell foam, so a thicker layer is needed for the same level of insulation. It is often used as sound insulation as it blocks airflow; however, it allows timber and masonry substrate moisture to dry out by evaporation, so there is less chance of condensation build-up or rot-related problems.

The foam expands to around 100 times its original volume once applied, which allows it to fill hard to reach places that traditional insulation cannot. Open cell spray foam expands and contracts, accommodating a building’s normal movement over time.

Closed cell foam is a hard, rigid medium density insulation and can be used to increase the racking strength of timber frame walls and improve the structural integrity and strength of roofs suffering from nail failure.

Closed cell foam is less permeable to water and has high water vapour resistance, which makes it more beneficial for industrial projects. It provides waterproofing where required and is ideal for use in areas prone to flooding or wind-driven rain.

Closed cell foam products typically have a low thermal conductivity due to the closed cell structure. As the products are an effective moisture barrier, appropriate ventilation is required to prevent the risk of condensation build-up.

The products must be installed by trained and approved contractors with specialist equipment. A pre-installation survey is carried out and the project specific design will include both U-value and condensation risk calculations. The thickness of foam is calculated according to whether the application is required for thermal insulation, structural support or sound-proofing.

There are currently home insulation grants available under the current iteration of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, along with various local incentive schemes. Grants are often available for loft, room in roof and solid/external wall insulation.


Specialty Products Develops New Spray Elastomer

Wed, 2018-10-31 15:49

Specialty Products, Inc. (SPI) announced the launch of a new Elastomeric Bridging Polyurea, AQUASEAL™ Hi Rise X3 AP, designed for high-pressure, spray equipment. This comes after successful beta testing of the improved system that was previously developed and sold for use with SPI’s LPG™. 

AQUASEAL™ Hi Rise X3 AP polyurea is an elastomer that expands approximately 300% of its original volume during the spray application process. When applied to porous surfaces such as vertically poured concrete, concrete masonry (CMU) or wood, it bridges substrate imperfections, and virtually dismisses blowholes and pinholes.

The initial formulation, AQUASEAL™ Hi Rise X3 polyurea was designed to process through SPI’s low-pressure, LPG™ proportioning equipment only.  With the distinct advantage of adhering to many polymeric substrates, typically without the use of a primer, AQUASEAL™ Hi Rise X3 polyurea quickly became a solution for concrete resurfacing, saving contractors money and time, but was only available to LPG™ contractors. 

Listening to and fulfilling customer’s requests, the newly developed AQUASEAL™ Hi Rise X3 AP polyurea formula is now available for use with high-pressure spray equipment, and an Air Purge gun. In most instances, when used as a spray-applied basecoat, AQUASEAL™ Hi Rise X3 AP expanding polyurea minimizes surface preparation time by eliminating the use of mortar or other cementitious materials generally used to fill pinholes or blowholes, in both new and existing porous surfaces. 

As is the original formula, high-pressure spray-applied AQUASEAL™ Hi Rise X3 AP polyurea is recommended for waterproofing exterior basements and foundations, to fill or repair control joints, random cracks, and shallow spalls on concrete surfaces.