Energy Efficiency and Building Science News

Demilec Releases High-Yield Heatlok Spray Foam

Wed, 2019-02-13 21:23
Energy Efficiency

Spray up to an R-49 in a single pass!

Heatlok® HFO High Lift, Demilec’s first product to leverage ultra-low global warming potential blowing agent, combines an R-value of 7.5 with a 6.5” lift to achieve an R-49 in a single pass. Spray IRC ceiling insulation code in less time than ever before.

What makes it unique?

Heatlok® HFO High Lift leverages Honeywell’s Solstice® Liquid Blowing Agent technology, which has a GWP of 1, 99.9% lower than traditional blowing agents. In compliance with the Montreal Protocol designed to lower the use of global warming potential gasses, Heatlok® HFO High Lift combines all of the benefits of Heatlok with the industries fourth generation of blowing agent.

Who is the product made for?

Heatlok HFO High Lift was developed for contractors looking to achieve the IRC Ceiling Insulation Code by spraying an R-49 in one pass. Heatlok HFO High Lift has superior yield, sprayability, and adhesion.

 

Video: Thermal Bridging and Steel Studs

Wed, 2019-02-13 21:19
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

In our previous article, we looked at the issue of thermal bridging inherent in the use of cold-formed steel framing members.  Cavity insulation in a steel wall is less than half as effective as equivalently rated continuous insulation.  So is there any use for it at all?  Yes, but it might not be what you think.  Most cavity insulation products are very effective at minimizing sound transmission.  Therefore, use continuous insulation to keep warm and insulate the cavities to reduce noise!

Continuous insulation has many applications beyond preventing thermal bridging, however.  Get the details about using continuous insulation as a WRB, air barrier, or vapor control layer at continuousinsulation.org!

While you’re here, take a few minutes to watch Joe Lstiburek, Ph.D., P.Eng, talk about insulation and steel framing:

 

 

For additional information, please review the previous videos in this series:

  1. Fear Building Envelopes No More with This Website & Videos
  2. Thermodynamics Simplified Heat Flows from Warm to Cold
  3. Moisture Flow Drives Water Induced Problems
  4. Video: How the 'Perfect Wall' Solves Environmental Diversity
  5. Video: How Important Is Your WRB?
  6. Video: A Reliably Perfect Wall Anywhere
  7. Video: The Best Wall We Know How to Make 
  8. Video: How to Insulate with Steel Studs
 

Investment in Latest Building Codes Yields Big Return

Wed, 2019-02-06 21:04
Building CodesBuilding Science

An update of a National Institute of Building Sciences study on benefit-to-cost ratios of hazard-mitigation investments has determined an 11:1 BCR over time for jurisdictions that have adopted model building code updates versus those that still use codes from the 1990s. The study also found a 4:1 BCR for investments to improve hazard resistance in utility and transportation infrastructure.

The 11:1 BCR for communities that adopt the latest model codes is “remarkable and represents a huge return on investment,” says Keith A. Porter, a research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the principal investigator for the NIBS study, “Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2018 Interim Report.” NIBS released  the report on Jan. 8 at its Building Innovation 2019 Conference & Expo, held Jan. 7-10 in Washington, D.C., and attended by 330 people.

NIBS and the International Code Council are trying to make a case for states and local jurisdictions to adopt the latest model codes, developed by ICC. “Communities that lag the rest of the country in code adoption will ultimately pay in terms of the health, safety and welfare of the public, of businesses, of visitors and of the community’s future vitality,” chorus NIBS and ICC in a joint statement. “Strengthening codes for natural hazard disaster mitigation makes economic sense,” the groups maintain.

“We knew there was a benefit to invest  in mitigation but, prior to the study, we didn’t have a way to quantify it at a national level,” says Ryan Colker, until December a NIBS vice president and currently executive director of ICC’s Alliance for National Community and Resilience.

The 498-page report expands on a 344-page 2017 report. Primarily funded by the Federal Emergency and Management Agency, both reports examine hazard mitigation investment strategies for earthquakes, wind, hurricanes, river floods and wildfires at the urban interface. The 2017 study found a 4:1 BCR for investments that exceed select provisions of ICC’s 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) and International Building Code (IBC) and a 6:1 BCR for dollars spent through mitigation grants funded through federal agencies (ENR 1/22/18 p. 8).

Implementing those two sets of mitigation strategies would prevent 600 deaths, 1 million nonfatal injuries and 4,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder in the long term, says NIBS.

In addition, designing new buildings to exceed the 2015 IRC and IBC would result in 87,000 new, long-term jobs, adds NIBS.

The report offers data on the varying benefits to lenders, communities, tenants, title holders and developers. “The benefits are spread over the community and a whole set of stakeholders,” says Philip Schneider, NIBS Multihazard Mitigation Council director.

This spring, NIBS expects to release BCRs for housing mitigation retrofits. Work is funded by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. That will add up to $2 million spent on the study, which is a sequel to one released in 2005.

NIBS is seeking several hundred thousand dollars more. Plans call for BCR analyses on mitigation investments in tornado resistance—based on maps expected soon—non-construction business continuity measures and federal programs such as the National Weather Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“We have never quantified the BCRs of the federal activities and as a consequence, Congress has under-invested in them,” says Porter.

 

Senators Call on DOE to Fund Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Wed, 2019-02-06 20:56
Energy EfficiencyLegislative

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jack Reed (D-RI) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to encourage state-driven energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives that reduce energy costs for low-income households, spur private sector energy innovation and improve emergency planning and response. The Investing in State Energy Act would prevent undue delay in distributing grants through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the State Energy Program (SEP) to state agencies and local partners that implement energy initiatives.

Just last month, Shaheen led a bipartisan letter with Senators Collins, Coons, Reed, Murkowski and Cantwell to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry regarding delayed guidance and documentation for the WAP. Their letter was in response to the Department of Energy (DOE) missing an important deadline to deliver information concerning state allocations to WAP grantees. Because of the Senators’ efforts, this guidance was later released to allow states to plan for the upcoming year. 

“This bipartisan legislation will cut through bureaucratic red tape to speed up federal investments in Granite State clean energy projects, helping to lower energy costs for New Hampshire businesses, low-income families and seniors,” said Shaheen. “For New Hampshire to compete in a 21st century economy, our state needs to be at the forefront of energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, which are critical to our economy, environment and working families. This bill will help ensure federal resources are delivered to New Hampshire energy programs in a timely and efficient manner, benefitting residents and companies across the state.”  

For more than 40 years, the DOE assistance programs, WAP and SEP, have provided technical and financial assistance to states, tribal governments and U.S. territories to encourage the adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency practices and technologies.

The Weatherization Assistance Program enables families, seniors, veterans and individuals with disabilities to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, freeing up limited resources for other essentials like food and medicine. The State Energy Program provides cost-shared resources directly to the states for allocations by the governor-designated State Energy Office to support energy projects, such as energy emergency planning and response, private sector innovation in clean energy and state-driven energy infrastructure modernization. Both WAP and SEP were proposed to be eliminated in President Trump’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019.

The Investing in State Energy Act would direct the DOE to distribute the full annual award amount of WAP and SEP funds to states, tribes and other direct grantees no later than 60 days after funds are appropriated by Congress. By establishing these mandatory deadlines, the Investing in State Energy Act encourages local high-impact projects that serve families in need and ensures that states continue to receive critical resources to meet their energy goals. 

The text of the Investing in State Energy Act can be read here. The bill is supported by the National Association of State Energy Officials, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Consumer Law Center on behalf of its low-income consumers, the National Community Action Foundation and several additional organizations listed here.

 

Webinar: How Energy Efficient is Wood Fibre Insulation?

Wed, 2019-02-06 20:44
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

FPInnovations, in collaboration with 475 High Performance Building Supply and the Canadian Wood Council, engaged in a project to introduce wood fibre insulation products into Canadian construction through a series of high profile demonstration buildings. The objective of the work was to expose wood fibre insulation products through these demonstration buildings to accelerate their acceptance into Canadian and other North American markets.

As part of this project, FPInnovations would like to invite all interested parties to attend the following webinar:

Wood Fibre Insulation in High Performance Construction: Canadian Demonstration Buildings

Date: February 13, 2019
Time: 10:00 (PT) / 13:00 (ET)
Presented by: Bob Knudson

Dry process wood fibre insulation products have been used in a variety of structures throughout Europe for more than 25 years, where the market is developed and growing. Wood fibre insulation was installed into three different buildings in three different climate regions of Canada, a single family residence near Collingwood, ON, a co-op multi-family housing project in Saskatoon, SK, and a laneway house in Gibsons, BC. All three buildings were designed to meet or approach Passive House standards. Wood fibre insulation products were readily adapted into wall and roof systems that had originally called for other insulation products. Performance monitoring of each building is to be carried out for at least one year.

To join the meeting:
Adobe Connect link: http://fpi.adobeconnect.com/feb_13_2019/
Phone number: 1-888-518-2098
Participant code: 30653884#

 

Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance Outlines 2019 Focus

Wed, 2019-02-06 20:35
Energy Efficiency

Here is a quick snapshot of Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance's (SPFA) recent efforts:

Life Cycle Assessment & Environmental Product Declarations Now Completed

 The SPFA recently completed 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). One EPD includes HFC-based blowing agents for closed-cell foams, while the second EPD includes HFO-based (low-GWP) blowing agents. These work products represent the most credible and influential resources for sustainability and industry professionals to measure sprayfoam’s cradle-to-grave footprint and see the quantified benefits over other technologies.

The newly updated LCA is available on www.sprayfoam.org. The EPD covering open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using HFC blowing agents, as well as the EPD covering open-cell SPF and closed-cell, roofing and low-pressure SPF using low-GWP HFO blowing agents can be found on the ASTM EPD website, linked from SPFA’s website.

Pest Industry Challenges to SPFA 

Over the past 18 months, the pest management industry has increased criticism of spray foam insulation, making the product a divisive issue among the respective industries and customers. The pest industry in the southeastern U.S. claims SPF inhibits their ability to perform structural inspections, with some even voiding long-term warranties for customers with SPF. Media coverage of this issue has exacerbated the situation, however, it is important to note not all pest management companies embrace this negative SPF approach and wish to work with our industry. At a joint SPF-pest industries meeting in January, some reasonable discussion between both parties occurred. Expect this to result in some consensus on future cooperation and guidance.

Additionally, the fumigant-side of the pest industry has also levied claims against SPF, but SPFA has asserted that the issues raised are not SPF-specific, rather the result of modern energy efficient construction and increasingly demanding building codes which promote unvented attics made with numerous technologies including SPF. The fumigant industry claims that unvented attics with SPF impact ventilation of their deadly poison from homes. The crux of the problem is their reliance on 1970s era leaky house and vented attic design to aerate. Because SPF is prevalent in attics, this contingent has assigned blame for this dangerous, life-safety problem on spray foam. SPFA is addressing this issue individually and through industry partnerships with the intention of correcting the record and public understanding. Offers of assistance, building science education, ventilation design and more from SPFA to the fumigant companies have been made, but are yet to be accepted. Keep watch for more on this ongoing issue.

SPFA Professional Certification Continues to Grow

The SPFA launched its Professional Certification Program (PCP) in 2013 to increase the quality of SPF installations. It is the first SPF certification program in the U.S. which is ISO 17024 compliant, standards-driven and internationally recognized. PCP establishes a set of criteria through which individuals can demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities in working safely, efficiently and professionally. The value of the PCP is in its promotion of SPF applications that ensure highest possible performance, as well as the health and safety of the contractor, occupants and other trades on the project.

The PCP is continually improving and adapting to the needs of the industry. Currently under development is a new certification for an SPF Consultant—a program which will be launched this year. The SPFA PCP Certified Consultant is the person who enhances the value and function of SPF installations by providing expertise and specialized knowledge of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) to other interested parties. SPF is also working with ICAA to produce an industry-first testing program for new professionals in the industry, the SPF Entry Point Program. For more information on the PCP and to start your own certification process, visit www.sprayfoam.org/certification or contact certdir@sprayfoam.org today.

 

Video: Local Experts Share Insulation Retrofit Tips

Wed, 2019-02-06 20:25
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

"All homes need a certain amount of fresh air," said Keith Saunders, a Home Comfort Specialist with Larry Janesky's Dr. Energy Saver of Connecticut. "But we usually find most homes, especially older homes, leak more than two to three times what they should."

Saunders should know. He teaches technicians at the country's largest energy conservation training center in Seymour.

That pink fiberglass insulation you've seen for years is not really that good, according to Saunders. Professionals like Dr. Energy Saver use cellulose insulation, which is basically ground up newspaper, and pump that into attics.

Of course, it's not just the top of the house. Drafts can come through any hole in the wall for light switches and outlets, and from the basement, too.

"So, if you're sitting up here and you feel cold air coming up from the basement or cold floors, it's oftentimes because the rim joist, the piece of wood that attaches to the foundation, is not insulated," Saunders said.

Spray foam insulation can solve that problem. Ironically, even your chimney can be making your house colder with gaps between it and the rest of the house.

Carlisle Launches Spray Foam Insulation Unit

Wed, 2019-02-06 20:11
Building ScienceBusiness

Carlisle Companies Incorporated, a global leader in commercial and industrial building envelope products through its Carlisle Construction Materials (CCM) operating segment, is pleased to announce the creation of a new business unit: Carlisle Spray Foam Insulation.

In November 2017, Carlisle Companies acquired Accella Performance Materials, the premier specialty polyurethane platform. At that time, Accella's portfolio of spray foam brands included three well-known spray foam competitors: Premium Spray Products, QuadFoam, and BaySeal. The Carlisle and Accella teams conducted interviews to determine if a total rebrand would help to clarify and define the overall spray foam brand.

To that end, Accella Polyurethane Systems' spray foam business unit is being rebranded as Carlisle Spray Foam Insulation (CSFI). Additionally, products previously designed and marketed by Accella (BaySeal®, Foamsulate™, and QuadFoam®) will be consolidated under CSFI's new SealTite family of products. These changes are intended to help reduce market confusion, simplify product identification and selection, and communicate to customers that they can feel confident in choosing CSFI's SealTite products.

Al Restaino, Vice President of Marketing for Accella's portfolio of businesses says, "We looked at either rebranding to Carlisle or consolidating products into something new. Not surprising there were many opinions on the strategy. We started the brand strategy process in May of 2018 leveraging a high profile outside agency and conducting more than 600 interviews including contractors, distribution, architects, and consumers. The results were overwhelmingly positive that we should simplify our message of who we are and leverage the Carlisle name. The brand strategy being unveiled during the SPFA show in Daytona Beach is the result of those interviews and leverages the enormous value and impact our customers have on the positioning of the brand strategy."

Mike McAuley, Carlisle Construction Materials' Executive Vice President of Diversified Products and General Manager of Accella, says, "This new branding platform will help differentiate our company and our products and will improve the customer experience. The journey will take some time, but will ultimately provide needed leadership for the industry."

Moody Ozier, the Marketing Director for Accella's spray foam business unit says, "We are especially excited to offer the most comprehensive, complete product portfolio under the SealTite name as we sunset our other legacy brands."

 

LP Launches Product to Compete Against Zip Sheathing

Wed, 2019-02-06 20:05
Building Science

Among the many new LP Building Solutions products set to launch in 2019 is the LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier, an integrated sheathing and structural board system.

“We are proud to bolster our portfolio of high-performance products with two new solutions that will prove beneficial in multiple phases of the design and construction process,” said Brad Southern, LP’s CEO. “We are constantly working to deliver better products for better results, and LP SmartSide Smooth Trim & Siding and the LP WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier system are outcomes of our commitment to this.”

The WeatherLogic system incorporates two products – a 4 by 8 structural OSB with a weather-resistant overlay and LP’s WeatherLogic Seam & Flashing Tape, a specially-formulated acrylic tape. Taken together, the products serve as both exterior sheathing and structural paneling, forming a tight envelope that is vapor-permeable.

According to the manufacturer, the system protects the home during construction, improves energy efficiency, and promotes a clean jobsite.

“Efficiency – in all of its forms – is a priority for us at LP,” says Marcelle Lacy, LP’s senior corporate brand manager for OSB and EWP. “With our WeatherLogic Air & Water Barrier system, builders install protection they can count on in less time while enhancing the home or building’s energy efficiency. We are particularly proud of all this product has to offer as well as a 30-year warranty which is longer than the usual house wrap warranties.”

 

Video: How to Insulate with Steel Studs

Wed, 2019-02-06 20:00
Building Science

Humans aren’t good “talking” thermometers, because we “feel” thermal conductivity.  Want proof?  As my college physics prof often told us, you’d rather the outhouse had a wood seat than a porcelain one on a cold night (even though they’re the same temperature)! 

Well, just like porcelain, steel is a much better thermal conductor than wood, and sometimes that’s a disadvantage.  For example, if a 6” steel stud wall is filled with nominal R-21 cavity insulation, the effective R-value of the wall only increases by R-9.05 [see footnote 1].  That’s more than a 50% reduction, merely due to the thermal conductivity of the studs!  So rather than insulate the cavities of steel stud walls, it is much better to attach continuous insulation to the outside of hjgh conductivity framing.  An unbroken layer of insulation significantly reduces the problem of thermal bridging, which saves money both during construction and during the lifetime of the structure

Not only is the use of continuous insulation on steel stud walls a good idea, it is a requirement of the IBC and the IECC!  To learn more about this application, visit continuousinsulation.org, where resources are available specifically for commercial buildings.  Use the steel wall calculator to see how much continuous insulation can improve your thermal performance

Please watch this short video, with in a series of videos we are highlighting, for a quick review of the concepts introduced above:

 

 

For additional information, please review the previous videos in this series:

  1. Fear Building Envelopes No More with This Website & Videos
  2. Thermodynamics Simplified Heat Flows from Warm to Cold
  3. Moisture Flow Drives Water Induced Problems
  4. Video: How the 'Perfect Wall' Solves Environmental Diversity
  5. Video: How Important Is Your WRB?
  6. Video: A Reliably Perfect Wall Anywhere
  7. Video: The Best Wall We Know How to Make

PIMA's Pazera Appointed to Key Building Code Committee

Wed, 2019-02-06 16:44
Building Science

Marcin Pazera (PIMA Technical Director) was recently appointed to serve as the Secretary for the National Institute of Building Sciences’ (NIBS) National Council on Building Codes and Standards (NCBCS). In this role, Mr. Pazera will contribute to the robust dialogue on codes and standards related to the building and construction industry. Mr. Pazera will ensure that positions on key advocacy topics related to energy efficiency, resiliency, and building enclosure performance are addressed and discussed. Mr. Pazera aims to collaborate with other NIBS Councils, including the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) to provide and deliver relevant and accurate information on polyiso product performance.

 

 

 

Icynene-Lapolla Releases Open-Cell, No-Mix Spray Foam

Wed, 2019-02-06 16:39
Energy Efficiency

Icynene-Lapolla, the global supplier and manufacturer of high performance, energy efficient building envelope solutions, today announced it’s all new Icynene OC No-Mix insulation. An open-cell spray foam solution for both homes and commercial structures, the high-performance material is notable for providing enhanced energy efficiency, long-tern energy cost savings and an easy no-mix application. Icynene OC No-Mix will be introduced this week at Sprayfoam Show 2019 in the Icynene-Lapolla booth #603. 

Icynene OC No-Mix is ideal for application in critical insulation areas within the structure including: cavity walls, crawl spaces and attics (both vented and unvented) as well as floor, ceiling and interior roof assemblies. The professionally-installed spray applied material seals the structure, providing a continuous air barrier, offering exceptional performance in the reduction of heat transfer. The product also significantly reduces unmanaged moisture. These performance characteristics enhance indoor comfort and air quality, maintain temperatures, and greatly reduce heating and cooling demands as well as the costs associated with them. The insulation offers the added benefit of noise attenuation.

“The energy savings and application ease of Icynene OC No-Mix provide attractive advantages to both the contractor and the property owner,” said Doug Kramer, president and CEO of Icynene-Lapolla. “As the first no-mix spray foam solution to join the Icynene product line, we believe demand for this insulation will be high for use in new and retrofit home and commercial applications.”

Icynene OC No-Mix is ideal for use across climate zones and may be spray-applied in a wide range of temperatures. During application the insulation solution requires no mixing, providing additional ease to contractors, saving time and costs associated with installation. The insulation firmly adheres to framing members and substrates and can be used to fill stud wall construction. It has passed the AC 377 End Use Configuration Criteria meeting building code requirements for use with no additional ignition barrier required with limited-access attic and crawlspace applications and is approved in multiple fire rated constructions. Icynene OC No-Mix also meets Florida FBC 2017 building code energy requirements and complies with IBC, IRC, and IECC 2018, 2015 and 2012 requirements.