Energy Efficiency and Building Science News

Researchers Test New Vacuum-Rigid Foam Insulation Panel

Wed, 2018-10-10 19:34
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have helped develop a type of building insulation that combines vacuum panel cores and rigid foam. The new composite boards have double the thermal performance per inch of insulation now on the market.

In an announcement, ORNL said that the modified atmosphere insulation (MAI) composite had resistance to heat flow “at least twice that of current building insulation materials made of plastic foams, cellulose or fiberglass.”

“We’ve proven that MAI-based composites are technically viable options for buildings, providing higher performance than current insulations,” study co-author Kaushik Biswas said in a prepared statement.

The results of their study were published in the journal Applied Energy. (A short summary of their findings can be viewed online for free, but the full article is behind a paywall.)

Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) are an established technology, but their use is limited. VIPs are much better insulators than conventional products, but they are expensive, can’t be modified in the field, and may show a loss of performance over time as the vacuum seal gradually degrades. For those reasons, VIPs are a specialty product useful in some situations but not as a replacement for conventional types of building insulation.

The MAI composite boards were created in a semi-automatic operation and were much simpler to make than traditional vacuum insulation panels, lowering costs to within reach for some retrofit applications, according to researchers who worked on the project.

Real world testing is underway

In a telephone call, project manager André Desjarlais said Oak Ridge collaborated with two manufacturers — Firestone and NanoPore — to develop panels that combine fumed silica, barrier materials borrowed from the food industry, and polyisocyanurate foam board. Samples from a limited production run were installed in a low-slope rooftop in Caribou, Maine, over the summer (see the photos in the gallery above).

The new insulation consists of MAI panels completely encased in polyiso. The composite has at least two advantages over the vacuum panels that have been on the market for decades: they’re much cheaper to make, and they should last for 25 years without a significant decline in R-value. A 2-inch-thick MAI/polyiso panel has an R-value of about 25, or R-12+ per inch — about twice as high as polyiso foam alone. By themselves, the sealed MAI packages have an R-value of 40 per inch.

“The idea of having this encapsulated package and pulling a vacuum on it and getting a high R-value has been around for 40 years, maybe longer,” Desjarlais said. “The issue has always been one of cost.”

In its early work with NanoPore, the lab learned that 80% of the cost of vacuum panels is in manufacturing. To lower the cost, researchers started with fumed silica, a common and relatively inexpensive nano material that already has broad commercial uses (it’s used to filter swimming pool water, for example). They combined that with an outer barrier material similar to what is used in the food industry to keep products fresh.

“We’re basically taking a potato chip bag and filling it with dirt,” he said. “That’s what we’ve got.”

The lab also worked with Firestone, a major producer of polyiso panels for the commercial roofing market. The group adapted an existing foam line and found a way to insert a dozen MAI panels inside a 4×8 sheet of foam. The facing of the foam is printed to show where the panels are located, so that if the roofing contractor wants to use mechanical fasteners to install the sheets it can be done — providing the installer is careful.

In the Maine test installation, Desjarlais said, the roof was divided into thirds. In one section, installers used mechanical fasteners to put down the insulation; in another the sheets were fully adhered (no mechanical fasteners). On the last section, a double layer of polyiso was installed. So far, embedded sensors indicate that all parts of the roof are performing about the same. Desjarlais said he’d like to return to the test site with an infrared camera when it gets a little colder for a followup visit.

Costs are coming down

A major goal of the project was to find a way to make high-performance panels at an attractive cost. Loose-fill fiberglass costs between 3 and 5 cents per square foot per R, Desjarlais explained, while rigid foam insulation costs about 10 cents per square foot per R.

“We’re about in the 20-cent range, where it used to be a buck,” he said. “We’ve made a big dent in the cost.” Although the new vacuum panels are not yet competitive with conventional building insulation, “it’s getting close.”

A simulator at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory used to test the performance of a new type of insulation panel.

With lower costs, Desjarlais thinks the panels could have two important applications: retrofits for low-slope commercial roofs, and residential energy retrofits.

Rooftops of commercial buildings are often crowded with mechanical equipment and access hatches, making it difficult if not economically impossible to add layers of conventional polyiso during an upgrade. Having R-25 panels only 2 inches thick would be a breakthrough when space is a key issue.

Roofers would find the insulation very familiar. “We wanted to come up with packaging similar to what contractors see today,” Desjarlais said. “What better place to put it then right inside the foam board they’re used to handling. It looks like, it tastes like, it smells like a piece of polyiso foam. The only time you’ll know that it’s not is when you pick it up. It weights about five times more than a piece of polyiso foam.”

Residential energy upgrades also are a likely target for producers. A 2-inch-thick panel applied to the outside of the house would be enough to meet current energy codes in the continental U.S., even if the house had no cavity insulation, Desjarlais said.

One problem would be wall areas where standard 4×8 sheets or half sheets wouldn’t fit. Like the old vacuum panels, MAI sheets can’t be cut in the field without piercing the barrier and ruining the vacuum. The solution would be for a contractor to have standard polyiso on hand to fill in spots where the vacuum-panel sheets wouldn’t work.

Better performance over time

One advantage of making the cores of the vacuum panels from fumed silicate is that high R-values are possible without pulling a very “hard” vacuum, Desjarlais said. And, when plotting R-values against pressure, the curve tends to be very flat over a wide range of vacuum pressures, from 10 to 100 torr (torr is a unit of measurement for vacuums). That means the panels can afford to lose a relatively large amount of vacuum before their thermal performance fails.

“We can over-evacuate it and have quite a bit of cushion in vacuum loss before we see any significant loss of R-value,” Desjarlais said. “We think we can get 25 years of service out of a panel if we evacuate to a certain level. Even if it leaks, the R-value loss is minimal.”

Leaks should be less likely because the barrier material that’s used to encase the silica also is much better than what was available 25 years ago. Back then, vacuum panels relied on a two-component barrier of aluminized Mylar. Today, barrier materials are six or seven layers thick and don’t cost any more, he said.

Coming to market?

It’s one thing to develop a promising prototype in the lab, and another altogether to invest in manufacturing and marketing to get it to consumers. The panels appear to be working exactly as designed on a roof in Caribou, Maine, but will either NeoPore or Firestone feel good enough about its commercial prospects to bring it to market?

That’s not a question Desjarlais can answer. Both firms are apparently weighing their options at the moment and have not made a decision.

“I would say I’m cautiously optimistic,” Desjarlais said.

GBA emailed inquiries to both companies seeking comment on how likely it was that the ORNL research would result in a commercially available product.

In a reply, Firestone spokeswoman Laura McCaslin confirmed the company is working on the insulation, adding, “We can’t comment on any additional details at this time regarding commercialization or future plans for going to market as they have not been determined.”


Australia's Leading Building Material Ecolabel Coming to U.S.

Wed, 2018-10-10 19:24
Building Science

Editor’s Note: To view the thermal insulations currently certified under Global GreenTag, click here.

Global GreenTag International - Australia's Most Trusted building sector ecolabel - is launching its innovative, award winning, globally recognized product certification standard and ecolabelling program in the USA at the end of 2018.

In the US, Global GreenTag ( is already recognized by the International WELL(TM) Building Standard and also claims compliance with the US Green Building Council's LEED(R) v4 building program and tools. It was significantly the first company in the world to introduce an LCA based product rating ecolabel scheme that today certifies nearly 2000 products for approximately 200 companies with factories in over 22 countries many of which are USA manufactured or available.

"We are greatly looking forward to launching in the US, engaging more deeply with leaders in the sustainability field and contributing to the trajectory of greening the US built environment, says David Baggs, Global GreenTag's CEO and Program Director (

The Global GreenTag Product Certification scheme ( will bring some new services to the US market, says Baggs.  It also delivers an innovative Product Health Declaration (PhD)( that uniquely rates the healthiness of products in use with a HealthRATE(TM) Mark. The company also has developed an EN 15804 compliant Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)( Program that also will be able to give US made products a CarbonRATE(TM) Mark.

The strength of Global GreenTag, says Baggs, has always been its deep, multi-attribute, scientifically robust technical basis, which is embedded in world leading research and green building design to successfully create new benchmarks and uniquely useable metrics in green product certification.

"We are increasingly recognised as the single source certification solution for multi-national companies to meet the requirements of the major green project rating tools globally," David adds.

Global GreenTag will be launching its US site and array of advanced product certification services at the GREENBUILD International Conference and Expo in Chicago (November 14-16) as part of the Mindful Materials Pavilion in partnership with GIGA's innovative product data hub -


Report: Energy Efficiency Investments Benefit Bottom Line

Wed, 2018-10-10 19:11
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Since 1985, there have been well over 400 studies conducted that have dissected how key design elements impact commercial buildings and their occupants. That body of research has quantified how high-performance buildings reduce energy and maintenance costs and increase asset values. (Buildings consume 40% of the energy in the U.S. and European Union, and nearly 14% of potable water use.) Newer research has tracked on how high-performance buildings can improve their occupants’ work habits and health.

But there’s been scant analysis of whether upfront investments in high-performance buildings translate into stronger long-term profits for the companies in them. 

stok, a global real-estate service provider, released a report that outlines the financial benefits to owner-occupants and tenants that invest in high-performance buildings. The report assumes that these buildings benefit their occupants, and concludes from its analysis that these benefits can produce significant positive impacts on a company’s bottom line.

stok concedes some limitations in its methodology: that productivity is difficult to measure; that there’s little data available to assess employee retention patterns in association with high-performance buildings; and that cost baselines vary markedly by location. stok also laments that, regardless of methodology, there has yet to be a real-world case study that baselines all the metrics listed in its report and compares them to an occupant moving into a high-performance building. “For a comprehensive study to occur, an organization's human resources, finance and accounting, IT, management, and others would all need to work together and transparently share resources and data.”

Businesses can reap significant cost savings and stronger earnings from working out of a high-performance building. Image: Stōk  

Nevertheless, the report infers that the proposition about how much a company can benefit from working in a high-performance building now supersedes questions about how much that building costs either to construct or retrofit.

“Rather than focusing on the lowest costs possible, owner-occupants and tenants should shift their perspective to the long-term opportunities of high-performance buildings,” the report states. If more than 80% of a company’s value is based on its people, “shouldn't buildings be designed to optimize their performance and wellness?”

Most people work in buildings that were not designed to support their well-being. And multiple reports show that only between 1% and 4% of a building’s total cost goes toward its initial design and construction.

High-performance buildings, on the other hand, share certain traits, says stōk. They enhance the occupant experience and improve human health and wellness, optimize resource efficiency, minimize environmental impacts from design to demolition, increase resiliency, and deliver a higher financial return than traditional buildings of the same use type.

stok’s report applies financial impact calculations to the findings from 60-plus research studies on the effects of high-performance buildings in three key areas: productivity, retention, and wellness.

The report’s calculations assume a hypothetical company with 820 employees that occupies 150,000 sf in the building, or 183 sf per worker.  This hypothetical company’s baseline annual revenue is $540,000 per employee who works 265 days per year and whose salary averages $100,000. The hypothetical company’s baseline profit margin is 10%.

The results of stok’s math—which also assumes a $20 per sf premium for construction costs—show that companies occupying high-performance buildings gain a median $3,395 in annual profit per employee, or $18.56 per sf. Over a 10-year period, this works out to a “Net Present Value” of $21,172 in profit gain per employee, or $115 per sf. The combined total benefit equals $2.78 million in annual profit gain, or 6.29% of a company’s annual earnings.

And these calculations only measure the gains related to productivity, employee retention, and wellness; when cost savings for utilities and maintenance are factored in, companies would realize a $23,584 profit gain per employee, or $129 per sf, over a decade.

Assuming different construction premium levels, Stōk breaks down the profit gains by productivity, employee retention, and wellness. Image: Stōk 

The report's calculations assume that its hypothetical company undergoes a 34% annual “separation rate” where employees leave voluntarily. Empty desks cost companies anywhere from 90% to 200% of an employee’s annual salary. And at a time when businesses are competing fiercely for talent, high-performance buildings can be powerful recruiting and retention tools, says stōk.

A building that promotes wellness, too, can help companies attract and keep employees. Based on research it has analyzed, stōk finds that 69% of employers offer wellness promotions, 67% of U.S. building owners are interested in creating healthier buildings for people, 91% of employers offer health and wellness programs for reasons beyond medical cost savings, and 73% of employers believe their responsibility to ensure the health and wellness of their employees will increase over the next few years.

The report sees the value of investing in high-performance buildings from minimizing employee absenteeism.

The report projects that 41% to 48% of new construction going forward will be high-performance buildings, which should provide the flexibility these properties need to adapt to changing tenant requirements by offering modular systems, personal environment controls, and multi-use spaces.

And for those companies and developers that still insist on gauging a building’s investment value by its projected energy and operational savings, the ROI in high-performance buildings remains provable. stok cites the General Services Administration, which estimates that energy costs for traditional sustainable buildings are 28% lower than the national average. When retrofitting a building with the types of improvements associated with high performance, energy costs would be cut by 50%, with maintenance savings being reduced by approximately 12% of the national average.


Demilec Wins ACC's 2018 Polyurethane Innovation Award

Wed, 2018-10-10 19:02
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) today announced Demilec (USA) Inc. as the winner of the 2018 Polyurethane Innovation Award. Demilec's winning entry, one of three finalists, was announced during the closing session of the 2018 Polyurethanes Technical Conference in Atlanta.

"CPI's Innovation Award is a top honor in the polyurethanes industry," said Lee Salamone, senior director of CPI. "Demilec embodies the spirit of innovation and pioneering that will help our industry flourish for years to come. Demilec, together with the rest of this year's conference attendees, is helping to pave the way for a bright future."

Demilec's winning entry is Heatlok® HFO, which the company describes as delivering a zero ODP, ultra-low GWP and high renewable/recyclable closed-cell foam for the insulation industry. This year's winner stated that Heatlok® HFO High Lift, with its R-7.5/inch, provides breakthrough alternatives for the residential builder and Heatlok® HFO Pro, at R-7.4/inch, creates an air barrier, vapor retarder, water barrier and thermal insulation at 1 inch, ideal for commercial buildings.

"Demilec is honored to receive CPI's innovation award for 2018, and we are excited Heatlok® HFO has continued to redefine the standard of excellence in the closed-cell spray foam industry," said Doug Brady, vice president of strategic marketing. "Thank you to the American Chemistry Council, the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry, the nominating committee and everyone who voted for Demilec."

This year's Polyurethane Innovation Award finalists also included ICL-IP America Inc., for their VeriQuel™ R100, which the company describes as a phosphorus-based, reactive flame retardant that uniquely addresses the building and construction market's desire for chemistries that provide fire safety and eliminate exposures during product use. ICL-IP states that VeriQuel™ R100 leaves no foot print and helps alleviate concerns about exposure to people and potential harm to the environment. SWD Urethane was named a finalist for Quik-Shield® 108YM, the "Yield Monster," which the company explains is an ultra-low-density open-cell spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation product, which is the first 0.36 pcf density spray foam and provides up to 39 percent more yield.

"Each year, the CPI Innovation Award finalists shine a spotlight on our industry-wide goal of creating new products and technologies that benefit consumers around the world," Salamone said. "I am always inspired by how hard the members of the polyurethanes industry work to improve upon decades of achievements."

The 2018 Polyurethanes Technical Conference also featured 15 technical sessions, 22 posters, 78 papers and 55 exhibitors, as well as the Professional Development Program.

Be sure to follow CPI on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @ACCpolyurethane and #PolyCon2018 for conference updates and industry news.


Why Retirement Home Developer Chose Spray Foam

Wed, 2018-10-10 18:47
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

After elderly loved ones reach a certain age, families ponder whether that particular member(s) can experience a better lifestyle if they were to transition into an assisted living facility. Now, choosing the right facility for a loved one can be quite cumbersome. Folks who live in Charleston, South Carolina, which was recently deemed the “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure, know all about living contently and aim to continue enjoying that lifestyle even when they are older and find it difficult to take care of themselves. That’s why Indigo Hall, a state-of-the-art senior living community located on James Island in Charleston is being constructed.

As this article is being written, Indigo Hall is on the verge of completion with final touches being implemented that’ll result in a 156-unit facility that hosts full-service, assisted living, and memory care facility nestled in a comforting environment. The two-story community will accommodate both rehabilitation and therapy services. It features 16 assisted living apartments and suites and 40 memory care apartments in a secured communal setting. Each apartment will have cable TV, family dining rooms, outdoor privacy screens, and individual climate controls and electronic call systems. On the premises, there are exterior courtyards with an open-air dining area and rain gardens, tree-lined sidewalks, a croquet court, a rehabilitation room, a salon and barber shop, several raised gardens for planting, and two resident dining rooms serving meals to the residents in a restaurant-like fashion. The living community’s staff will provide all residents with personal care tailored to their needs, including bathing, grooming, dressing, and medication management. And on top of all that? Pets are welcome!

The staff at Indigo Hall will also provide their residents with activity programs and a complete social calendar of daily events that include outings, wellness and spiritual activities, social gatherings, and more.  

So, it is safe to say, the facility is fully equipped to provide loved ones of many South Carolina and out-of-state residents with A+ care, and by choosing to be here, these elderly folks will be in good hands and in an ideal, safe, and comfortable environment to live out their twilight years in the best manner possible.

But aside from the staff and amenities, the operators of Indigo Hall have secured the incorporation of the highest quality materials, mechanical systems, and energy-efficient design features into the buildings of the facility. Included in these features was the application of high-quality insulation to render an important degree of indoor comfort for the future residents of Indigo Hall. And that’s a story within itself.

The original design for insulation consisted of conventional R-38 fiberglass batt insulation held by over 30,000 glued metal pins to the underside of the roof deck to create an unvented attic assembly. However, this assembly allowed for a dewpoint formation on the underside of the roof due to fluctuating exterior temperatures, which could ultimately result in the development of condensation and mold inside the buildings. To avoid this, the specifications were substituted for the application of open-cell spray polyurethane foam to create a fully-sealed, semi-climate-controlled attic space that provides ideal insulation and greater energy savings. According to John Kish of Energy One America (EOA), the contracting company that was brought in for the spray foam application, using this system allows the use of a wet sprinkler system that will be resistant to freezing in colder seasons, which means savings in both capital and operational expenses for Indigo Hall’s building owners.

“When the owner of a building is responsible for the energy expenses, spray foam insulation is the most maintenance-free building envelope solution that preempts failing insulation,” says Kish.  

Since the construction of Indigo Hall is currently ongoing, EOA had to devise a way to circumvent construction crews and subcontracting trades and get the job done within their slated work timeline, so they had two separate three-man crews working throughout the day to make headway. The application consisted of spray-applying SES Foam’s Sucraseal to approximately 33,000 square feet of the underside of the roof deck in total. EOA and the operators agreed that Sucraseal was the right product for this project because (according to SES Foam) in addition to its superlative insulation properties, Sucraseal has the highest bio-based content of any foam system in the market and it passes the Appendix X test uncoated, promoting supreme fire protection. EOA has worked hand-in-hand with SES Foam during this project to ensure a successful installation.

“This is a great project to be a part of,” says Jose Luna, vice president of operations at SES Foam. “We know the use of spray foam will be conducive to the increased comfort of those who live here.”

The EOA crewmembers were careful to mask off the window and door openings with plastic sheeting, as well as the installed mechanical systems, prior to the application and post the appropriate signage when they are spraying so that other crews vacate the area, so the crew could get to work freely.

“We needed to take preventative measures to ensure there was no overspray coming through the gaps in the exterior sheathing,” points out Kish.

The crew was outfitted with PPE consisting of hard hats, safety vests, safety glasses, fully-supplied air respirator masks, gloves, breathable coveralls, and work boots. They built interior scaffolding to reach the roof underside and wore fall arrest systems while applying the foam. Then, they installed to the underside of the roof beyond its steel trusses and wooden beams 10 sets of Sucraseal open-cell spray foam, providing an R-38 value to each building of the Indigo Hall facility. As instructed by Kish, the crewmembers took cycled breaks every hour during warm days for safety. By the time the job was completed, a total of 25 sets of foam were installed inside the buildings.

With a green product in place that not only adds to the performance of the building but provides a pleasant indoor living space for those who are certainly deserving of it, spray foam will prove to be an additional amenity. After all, the most important consideration to take into account when moving to such a facility is none other than comfort.  

For more information, visit and  


Atlas Roofing Makes Veteran Homes Energy Efficient

Wed, 2018-10-10 17:32
Building ScienceHousing & Construction

Nearly a quarter of all homeless people in the United States are military veterans, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless [1]. Considering veterans make up only 8 percent of the population at large, this number is quite concerning and disproportionately high. Three friends in Kansas City, MO – U.S. veterans themselves – decided to do something about it.

Chris Stout, Bryan Meyer and Brandonn Mixon joined together to form the Veterans Community Project (VCP). The nonprofit is dedicated to ending veteran homelessness by building a specialized community of tiny homes. VCP addresses the underlying causes of veteran homelessness with onsite services and provides transitional housing to help end cyclical veteran homelessness affecting our military heroes. To bring this vision to life, VCP turned to Atlas Roofing Corporation for their building expertise in creating the nation’s first tiny home village for U.S. veterans.

Project Challenge:

Because VCP operates solely through private donations and partnerships, they needed building product experts to help facilitate the construction of the tiny homes. Atlas was able to facilitate a forward-thinking insulation and roofing approach to the tiny homes in a way that would ensure the long-term cost-efficiency of the homes in the village. There were several factors at play for the transitional tiny home construction project.

  • Cost: As a young nonprofit with no federal funding or grant money, VCP required building products that would attain lower energy costs, so they can utilize those savings on their programming needs.
  • Sustainability: The tiny homes needed to be built with long-term sustainability in mind, including a sophisticated building envelope that would keep energy costs low.
  • Regulations: Despite the rising enthusiasm for tiny homes, there were no specific building codes in Kansas City that had been developed for this type of construction. The building team would need to be nimble and adept at working with local regulatory authorities.
  • Replication: With visions of expansion across the U.S., the VCP founders needed a partner who could help develop the tiny homes in an easily replicable way.

Atlas Roofing Corporation was able to support the VCP construction and organizational goals by donating their expertise and products.


To equip VCP with a complete building envelope solution tailored to their needs, Atlas Roofing Corporation donated materials from four business divisions—Roof & Wall Insulation, Shingles & Underlayments, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Insulation and WebTechnology. The Atlas team provided EnergyShield® continuous insulation for the tiny home walls, ACFoam® CrossVent continuous insulation with WebTech facer technology to provide insulation and ventilation for the roof, Atlas® Pinnacle® Pristine Shingles with Scotchgard Protector on the roof, and ThermalStar® X-Grade® EPS for below grade and under slab insulation. Together, these products create a protective, energy-efficient continuous insulation package that will keep energy costs low for the VCP Veterans Village well into the future. Just as importantly, these products work together to maintain a comfortable living environment for years to come.

“Our partnership with Atlas Roofing has been instrumental in the successful completion of our first veteran village development,” said Brandonn Mixon, co-founder and Chief Project Officer at Veterans Community Project. “Thanks to the high R-value insulation that Atlas products offer, I am confident that our residents will stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer while we keep our energy costs low. Along with adding the Atlas Pinnacle Pristine shingles that resist damage from high winds, we rest assured that the veterans will remain protected.”

Each unique and innovative Atlas product promotes energy efficiency and conservation.

Atlas EnergyShield

EnergyShield combines high R-value, durable foil facers, and water resistive qualities in a high performance rigid wall insulation. EnergyShield offered VCP a better insulated wall than batt cavity could while meeting the same code requirements. With Atlas EnergyShield, VCP will attain long-term energy efficiencies, incorporating an integrated weather and air barrier with a R-value of 6.5 and eliminating the possibility of thermal bridging.

Atlas ACFoam CrossVent

ACFoam CrossVent combines the benefits of a nailable roof substrate, above deck ventilation, and thermally efficient polyiso insulation with Webtech facer technology in an easy one-step installation. This installation-friendly design helped save valuable time during construction of the tiny home village, and it will support VCP’s expansion goals both locally in Kansas City and across the country. Rigid polyiso is one of the most cost-effective and energy efficient insulation products, while the Webtech facer is water repellent as well as being mold and mildew resistant.

Atlas Pinnacle Pristine with Scotchgard®

In order to secure a high-performance roof, the Atlas Pinnacle Pristine Shingle was utilized on all tiny homes. The shingles feature a Scotchgard™ Protector that prevents the ugly black streaks caused by blue-green algae. In addition, it provides a stunning color that will last a lifetime. The Pinnacle Pristine shingle also provides 130 mph wind resistance, which will help protect these tiny homes for years to come.  For the roof underlayments, Atlas provided the Gorilla Guard® 30 and WeatherMaster® Ice & Water 100. The Gorilla Guard 30 is a lighter, stronger and smoother underlayment that lays flatter than traditional felt underlayment. The WeatherMaster Ice & Water provides a secondary waterproofing barrier which is needed to prevent ice dams and damage caused by wind-blown rain.

Atlas ThermalStar X-Grade

ThermalStar X-Grade insulates the foundation walls and slabs for the Veterans Village. While providing insulation in walls and roofs is important, below grade insulation is equally as important to make sure there is not a thermal bridge between a building’s heated interior and the relatively cooler earth surrounding the building. According to the EPS Industry Alliance, the lack of insulation below grade accounts for up to 25 percent of a building’s total energy loss. ThermalStar X-Grade has a stable, long term R-value that will retain the same thermal properties over the life of the structure. ThermalStar X-Grade helps manage moisture below grade, reducing the potential of condensation, and also has an integrated termiticide to deter termites.

Impact & Results: 

Atlas was able to help VCP complete the first phase of its Veterans Village development in compliance with all local code requirements. In addition, the superior thermal performance of the building envelope will help VCP save money in the long run with increased energy efficiency, while also keeping residents more comfortable.

Atlas worked hand-in-hand with AG3 Architects, a local architecture and interior design firm that additionally donated their time and resources to VCP. Because of their successful design and build collaboration, along with Atlas’s product performance, AG3 will be specifying Atlas products for the upcoming VCP community center build.

With support from Atlas, AG3 and other partners, VCP has been able to open up its Veterans Village and help local veterans on the journey to permanent housing. The village currently has 13 tiny homes completed with full occupancy, and they laid the infrastructure for an entire village – including sewer, water and electric lines. Since launching in early 2018, VCP already has a handful of successful transition stories.

Together with Atlas, VCP plans to expand its Kansas City community to 49 homes and hopes to build a tiny house community in every major U.S. city, including St. Louis and Nashville which are currently in various stages of development.


Applying the IBC: What Does 'Exterior' Mean in Chapter 14?

Thu, 2018-10-04 10:42
Building Codes

When applying any section of the building code,Training provided by the International Code Council (ICC) for members of its review committees (e.g. Structural Committee) focuses first on key definitions, the scope statement of each relevant section and then the charging or implementing language. This approach helps anyone seeking to apply a section of the building code understand its intent and function.

To that end, there has been recent confusion over the following section of the building code regarding “exterior wall coverings” in Types I and II construction:



This then refers to section 603, Combustible Material in Types I and II Construction, which outlines the allowable materials as follows:



There are twenty-six (26) exceptions that allow alternative combustible materials to be used in “exterior wall covering” “applications, the first fours examples follow:



One of the exceptions that is causing confusion currently is #13:



Where there is a combustible  exterior wall covering, Chapter 14 applies.

The first question that needs to be addressed. What do the  key definitions mean?  What is the meaning of: These are generally found in Chapter 2, Definitions.

  1. Combustible – Since combustible is not a defined term the IBC says to use its ordinarily accepted meaning such as the context implies. Therefore, combustible means:



  1. Exterior – Since exterior is not a defined term, exterior then means:



  1. Exterior Wall Covering is defined in Chapter 2 as follows along with all Chapter 2 definitions that use this as a defined term to provide the implied context.



Then the question is how does Chapter 14 apply? Since we are dealing with a combustible  exterior wall coverings, Section 1406 Combustible Materials on the Exterior Side of Exterior Walls applies, which has the following specific scope and implementation language:




Given the definitions above, this means that this section only applies to material exterior to the water-resistive barrier, which is defined as:



This brings the focus onto the true exterior most surface of the wall assembly for the building. A good example of a “wall assembly” is a fire barrier, which is defined as follows:



Another good example of the “floor wall or roof assembly” concept is the well-known one-hour or two hour rated fire endurance assembly, which is often generically known as a “UL assembly”,  but can be found in a research report by any ANSI ISO/IEC 17065 accredited certification organization. The goal has to be to allow as many alternatives as possible to provide free and open markets (link is external), which are the foundation of economic competition, innovation and a vibrant economy. (link is external)

With the word exterior  as the focus, Section 1406.2 shall apply as follows:



Here, any foam plastics used on the exterior of the building need to comply with Chapter 26. For other exterior applications Section 1406.2.1 applies:



For clarity and ease of use, Section 1406.2.1 specifically only applies to the only applies to exterior surface of a building. Exterior  in this case means “exterior to the water resistive membrane”.

If building application requires performance of an “assembly”, the two test methods typically used to assess assembly performance are ASTM E119, NFPA 285, NFPA 286, etc., along with any associated engineering analysis using accepted engineering practice.

For additional information, please review the following articles:

  1. NFPA 285 and Code Conforming Design – Reliable or Not?
  2. For more in-depth information on fire safety and the use of foam sheathing, read this recent document created by the American Chemistry Council’s Foam Sheathing Committee (FSC).
  3. Understanding Fire Safety and the Use of Foam Sheathing
  4. ICC Provides Perspective on Combustible 'Cladding Systems'
  5. Post Grenfell, Do You Know the Code and Your Cladding Options?
  6. Would Smoke Alarms and Sprinklers Have Saved Grenfell's Installed Cladding?
  7. London's Grenfell Fire: Will Plastics Be Inappropriately Blamed?
  8. What Does the Code Say 'Accepted Engineering Practice' Means?
  9. Building Code & Adopted Law Definitions -- Building Official
  10. What is a Building Official’s Scope of Work?
  11. Building Code Adoption of Innovative & Engineered Products
  12. Building Code Adoption Where Intellectual Property (IP) is Involved
  13. Do You Indemnify & Hold Harmless Your 'ICC Report' Author?
  14. Design Value Concepts by APA’s Dr. Yeh; SBCA Agrees
  15. Does Your Teammate Sign and Seal Their Testing and Engineering Work?
  16. Confidence Through Sealed Engineering, No Seal=No Teammate

Installing Insulated Panels Vertically Versus Horizontally

Wed, 2018-10-03 16:53
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) can be installed either vertically or horizontally. With most manufacturers’ wall panels, the exact same panels are used for either orientation. However, there are key differences in how the supporting wall system must be designed to accommodate the panel direction. In addition, the details used to design and the labor used to install vertical vs. horizontal panels can be quite different. Let’s explore some of the similarities and differences in the two approaches.

Vertical IMP applications
Vertically installed panels typically offer the most cost-effective and simple wall assembly. There are numerous panels available in lengths of up to 52 feet, offering the ability to install a single panel from base to eaves.

When laying out the panels on a wall, the starting panel at the corner can be cut along its length so the first and last panel on a wall elevation are equal in size (width). Standard metal flashings are generally used to close off the cut ends and edges of vertical panels.

Windows are usually installed to align with the outside plane of the structural framing and are therefore recessed (not flush) relative to the outside face of the panel. Typical wall framing systems for vertically installed panels involve the use of horizontal supports, usually light or heavy gauge girts.

Horizontal IMP Applications
Horizontally installed panels require more sophisticated details and tighter tolerances for both panels and framing. Panels are usually arranged so the ends of the panels align with architectural features, such as framed openings for windows and doors. Corners are often built with factory-folded transverse bent panels, shipped to the jobsite ready to install.

The vertical ends of horizontal panels are often post-fabricated with trimless ends. This involves manufacturing the exterior panel face longer than the interior face of the panel, providing extra metal at the ends that can be bent back at a 90-degree angle. This trimless end is an efficient and attractive way to cover the exposed foam core at the ends of the panels.

Some companies offer an integrated window system that fits directly into the panel’s joinery, allowing them to be installed to provide a flush window system. That along with the exterior panel faces improves continuity of building control layers. Horizontal panels also require a vertical support system, which is generally comprised of a steel stud wall assembly or occasionally a vertical tube steel system.

When using horizontal panels, it is also generally necessary to use thicker (22 gauge) exterior faces to achieve satisfactory aesthetic performance, particularly when using flat or nearly flat panel profiles. Thicker gauges tend to stiffen the metal and provide a visually flatter appearance than lighter gauges, greatly reducing the tendency for oil-canning (waviness). Also, it is important to keep horizontal panels shorter (usually no more than 20 feet in length) than those used in a vertical orientation. This is because the casual observer tends to detect more visual flaws when looking along the length of horizontal panels than looking up and down vertical panels.


Unique Arena Features Kingspan’s Custom Insulation

Wed, 2018-10-03 16:47
Building ScienceEnergy Efficiency

Kingspan Insulation utilised several custom insulation solutions including a proprietary software to address the technical challenges of the RAC Arena project in Perth, WA.

Formerly Perth Arena, RAC Arena is a showpiece of contemporary Australian public architecture built in 2012 by BGC Construction. The 50-metre high arena is a multipurpose centre built to host sporting, theatrical and musical events for up to 15,000 guests. The original design called for bespoke treatments of all basic structural elements, including insulation, to meet ambitious thermal performance targets and ensure the long-term integrity of the structure.

The asymmetrical lines and sweeping irregular shapes of the structure presented a unique set of design and engineering challenges, especially during the installation of insulation.

Even early in the design stage, it was clear that high-performance insulation would be intrinsic to the building’s overall viability. There were two primary insulation-related considerations: how to minimise the risk of condensation; and how to achieve high thermal efficiency (R-value of RT2.7).

“It’s a large steel structure with a unique construction, and there were challenges in relation to condensation and the high R-values that were required within the building systems,” says Craig Burr, Kingspan Insulation’s State Manager WA.

Approximately 7,200 tonnes of steel were used to construct the arena; this was significant because large masses of cold steel within a building fabric can lead to temperature differentials between the steel and ambient air, causing condensation build-up. According to Burr, ‘cold bridging’ was a real concern in this project.

Kingspan’s proprietary condensation risk analysis software was used to analyse the building’s physical and geographical characteristics, as well as the behaviour of all relevant associated wall materials. This helped Kingspan provide a solution to the threat of condensation without sacrificing thermal performance.

Burr explains that the software enabled them to advise the clients on how to reduce condensation, taking into account all the building elements for that envelope, where to place the insulation on the envelope, and how a vapour-permeable membrane would be best utilised to wrap the building before the aluminium cladding was installed on the exterior. Kingspan offered a full-layer system from external to internal, showing where the insulation should be placed within that system.

The resultant full-wall profile, which included Kingspan Kooltherm K12 Framing Board rigid insulation panels, was designed specifically for the arena to promote passive vapour expulsion even though the system is sealed.

Burr noted that this was just one of many practical challenges associated with the project. Given the many irregular shapes incorporated into the façade, it was necessary to pre-cut as many K12 insulation panels as possible to guarantee correct sizing and facilitate speedy installation for the builders, BGC Construction.

At least 70% of all insulation panels fitted into three distinct sizes and were all supplied custom-cut. The entire project involved the installation of approximately 17,000 square metres of Kooltherm K12 insulation. Overall, several thousands of separate insulation panels and strips were required to complete the project.

Feedback from the project site indicates that the building insulation has performed to specification and there have been no reports of condensation build-up even months after the completion of the project. 


DowDuPont CEO to Lead Specialty Products Spinoff

Wed, 2018-10-03 16:42
Building ScienceBusiness

Editor's Note: The Specialty Products division of DowDuPont will be spun off and rebranded DuPont.  This company will product building materials such as Tyvek and Styrofoam XPS sheathing.

DowDuPont Chief Executive Edward Breen will oversee the specialty-products unit that carries most of the company’s legacy DuPont operations after the chemicals major splits back into three different businesses, the company said on Monday.

Dow and Dupont, which completed a $130 billion merger last September to form DowDuPont, also immediately announced plans to create three separately traded companies focusing on agriculture, plastics and specialty products.

Breen, who was CEO of the erstwhile DuPont, had spearheaded the merger of the two companies and has since led a plan to cut $3.3 billion in expenses.

He will be executive chairman of the chemicals business, called DuPont, from June 1 next year. The specialty products unit’s current Chief Operating Officer Marc Doyle will become its Chief Executive Officer.

“Breen will work closely with the senior leadership team and focus on the company’s portfolio management strategy, capital allocation decisions, and, in conjunction with Marc Doyle, shareholder engagement,” the company said in a statement.

The specialty products business, which makes products that go into construction materials or semiconductors and microchips, accounted for about a quarter of the company’s total sales as of June 2017.

Its materials science plastics unit is the largest by sales, but was stripped of an extra $8 billion worth of annual business as part of the division, after pressure from hedge fund investors Trian Partners and Third Point LLC.

James Collins Jr. currently the chief operating officer of DowDuPont’s agriculture business, will be heading the new agriculture business called Corteva Agriscience.

The company confirmed that Jim Fitterling, the chief operating officer of its materials business will be the new chief executive officer of the firm under the name Dow.


Icynene-Lapolla Announces Product Distribution Expansion

Wed, 2018-10-03 16:30
Building ScienceBusiness

Icynene-Lapolla announced it will expand distribution of the company’s Lapolla building materials line in Canada. As part of the effort, a suite of Lapolla’s standout spray polyurethane foam insulation, roofing and coating solutions will be made readily available to Canadian customers.

“Canada is a key market for us,” said Doug Kramer, president of Icynene-Lapolla. “There is clear demand within both the building industry and consumer population for durable and sustainable building materials. The Lapolla product line will help meet that demand.”

Two Lapolla spray polyurethane foam insulation products are now available in Canada. These include: FOAM-LOK 2100 LE, a premium closed-cell spray polyurethane foam insulation offering up to 5-inch thickness with minimal wait between 2-inch passes, saving the contractor up to 20 percent in labor time and costs; and FOAM-LOK 2100, a closed-cell insulation that meets strict criteria for resisting bulk water and offering superior weather resiliency. Both products fall under CUFCA’s third-party quality assurance program.

“FOAM-LOK 2100 LE is a premier wall insulation system designed specifically for builders and owners desiring the unparalleled energy efficiency of spray foam, as well as reduced time and costs commonly associated with product installation,” added Kramer.

To better enable the distribution of Lapolla’s insulation materials in Canada, Icynene-Lapolla recently completed a multi-million-dollar improvement to its Mississauga manufacturing facility. The retrofit effort focused on increasing manufacturing capacity and product output as well as enhancing product distribution speed and efficiencies.

“Our Mississauga facility is now fully primed to handle the demand for these high-performance materials in the Canadian marketplace,” added Kramer. “Our investment in the facility is a demonstration of our commitment to Canada. We look forward to better serving builders, contractors, remodelers and owners in the region with durable energy efficiency-focused building envelope solutions.”

In addition to the two FOAM-LOK spray polyurethane foam insulations, Icynene-Lapolla will also manufacture and distribute a suite of Lapolla roofing products in Canada. These include: FOAM-LOK 2800-4G, the first spray foam roofing available worldwide to offer the environmentally-sound Solstice blowing agent; >span class="">; a high-performance, economical acrylic roof coating system for application over new and existing roof substrates; and >span class="">, a water-based acrylic roof primer that promotes the adhesion of spray polyurethane foam to a variety of roofing substrates. Additionally, the company will distribute GE Enduris™, the silicone-based roof coating restoration system providing long term performance regardless of daily and seasonal temperature shifts.

“The Canadian marketplace will now have access to many of Lapolla’s notable energy-conserving envelope solutions and we expect our product offerings in Canada to grow in the coming months,” said Kramer.


Scientists Develop Structural Wooden Foam Hybrid

Wed, 2018-10-03 16:23
Building Science

Back in 2014, we heard how scientists from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research had developed a wood-based foam that could be used as eco-friendly insulation. Now, they've combined it with metal to create a composite that has a much wider range of potential applications.

The original foam is made by grinding down wood particles to the point that they form a slimy substance, adding gas to that slime to make it frothy, and then allowing it to dry – the wood used could conceivably be waste from the forestry industry.

Taking the form of rigid panels or flexible mats (pictured below), the finished product is reportedly well-suited to use as building insulation that's more environmentally-friendly than conventional petroleum-based foam, and that doesn't settle over time like some looser alternatives.

To make the new wood/metal foam, a team led by Dr. Frauke Bunzel started by creating open-cell metal "sponges" via a casting process. The wood-fiber froth was then added to them – the sponges were repeatedly mechanically tapped, with the vibrations causing the viscous froth to trickle down through them, filling all of their cavities. It was then left to dry.

Known as HoMe foam (a German acronym for wood-metal), the result is a lightweight composite that still offers the thermal and acoustic insulation properties of the wood foam, but that has much higher bending strength than either the wood foam or the metal sponges alone. This characteristic allows it to also provide structural support. Additionally, it can conduct electricity.

It is now hoped that the HoMe foam could be sandwiched inside of existing materials or used in the form of stand-alone panels, with suggested applications including use as acoustic mats in cars' engine compartments, or as insulting plates in the vehicles' floors. The scientists are currently refining the processes of creating the wood foam and getting it into the metal sponges, with an eye toward soon entering commercial-scale production.


Titan Develops Faster Low-Pressure Foam Spray Gun

Wed, 2018-10-03 16:12
Building Science

Titan™ is proud to introduce a new innovative spray gun – the PROPURGE™ low pressure spray foam gun. It features new technology that enables high production, operating at double the speed of other low pressure guns and applying up to 15 pounds of foam per minute. The PROPURGE gun’s Maze Nozzle™ is a highly efficient static mixer that maximizes yield and ensures high quality foam application every time.

The PROPURGE features an air purge system that allows operators to spray longer with multiple trigger pulls, maximizing production by efficiently atomizing chemical for an even and consistent fan pattern. After every trigger pull, it uses air to purge each chemical port, completely clearing the system. This increases nozzle life by up to five times when compared to competitive nozzles.

The PROPURGE works best with Titan’s Helix LP proportioner, but it is compatible with all low pressure spray foam systems. It increases productivity for contractors by eliminating time-consuming maintenance and expensive rebuilds often associated with impingement mix guns.

Using the low pressure PROPURGE gun is as easy as connecting the hoses and pulling the trigger – no adjustments are required. A quick-change system makes removing the Maze Nozzle a simple twist that minimizes interruptions. The PROPURGE gun and Maze Nozzle system eliminates time-consuming job site maintenance associated with crossovers. The PROPURGE gun is also highly maneuverable with built-in swivels and a comfortable grip with a trigger lock, so contractors can spray longer with less fatigue.

Decreased overspray and consistent mix from low pressure static mixing systems is driving shorter re-occupancy times – as low as one hour instead of 24 hours with high pressure systems (consult foam manufacturers for specific low pressure re-occupancy times). With low pressure, the air is safer for both contractors working in the space and the building’s occupants. In addition, spraying at low pressure reduces the risk of harmful chemical injection for operators, should unintended contact be made with the spray pattern.

“The PROPURGE gun is changing minds about low pressure spraying,” said Chuck Flower, worldwide product manager for Titan. “When combined with Titan’s Helix LP low pressure proportioner, it can increase productivity two-fold and it’s safer and easier to use than high pressure systems.”

The Titan PROPURGE is available in the U.S. and Canada at professional equipment and industrial supply retailers. Visit for more information.


Oct 5: Day Focused on Improvements in Energy Efficiency

Wed, 2018-10-03 15:52
Industry Announcements

October 5, 2018 has been designated as the third annual Energy Efficiency Day. This date has been set for advocates, companies, government agencies, utilities and others to showcase the benefits of energy efficiency. To find out more about EE Day, access reports about ongoing efforts to improve energy efficiency and more on how to participate, go to





EPA Considers Limiting Obama-Era HFC Rule

Wed, 2018-10-03 15:45
Raw Materials

On September 18, 2018, EPA issued a proposed rule Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revisions to the Refrigerant Management Program’s Extension to Substitutes. This action proposes to revisit the Agency’s recent approach to regulating appliances containing substitute refrigerants such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by proposing to rescind the November 18, 2016 extension of the leak repair provisions to appliances using substitute refrigerants. This proposal also requests public comment on rescinding other provisions that were extended to substitute refrigerants. This proposal would not affect the requirements for ozone-depleting refrigerants.   If finalized as proposed, this action would rescind the leak repair and maintenance requirements at 40 CFR 82.157 for substitute refrigerants. Therefore, appliances with 50 or more pounds of substitute refrigerants would not be subject to the following requirements:

  • conduct leak rate calculations when refrigerant is added to an appliance,
  • repair an appliance that leaks above a threshold leak rate,
  • conduct verification tests on repairs,
  • conduct periodic leak inspections on appliances that exceed the threshold leak rate,
  • report to EPA on chronically leaking appliances,
  • retrofit or retire appliances that are not repaired, and
  • maintain related records.

EPA is also requesting comment on rescinding other provisions that were extended to substitute refrigerants, including the following:

  • anyone purchasing refrigerant for use in an appliance or handling refrigerants (e.g., air-conditioning and refrigeration service contractors and technicians) must be a Section 608-certified technician,
  • anyone removing refrigerant from a refrigeration or air-conditioning appliance must evacuate refrigerant to certain level using certified refrigerant recovery equipment before servicing or disposing of the appliance,
  • the final disposer (e.g., scrap recycler, landfill) of small appliances, like refrigerators and window air conditioners, must ensure and document that refrigerant is recovered before final disposal, and
  • all used refrigerant must be reclaimed to industry purity standards before it can be sold to another appliance owner.

Key Documents

EPA will be hosting a public hearing on this proposed rule on October 16, 2018, starting at 2pm at 1201 Constitution Ave. N.W. Washington, DC 20460. To register for this event, please email no later than October 14th. If you would like to provide oral testimony on the rule, please note that in your RSVP. You will receive a confirmation email with further instructions on entering the building. Please allow ample time to clear building security.

2016 Rule Summary

On November 18, 2016, EPA issued a final rule updating its refrigerant management regulations. While the regulation took effect on January 1, 2017, some provisions had compliance dates of January 1, 2018, and January 1, 2019. Amongst other things, that rule extended the refrigerant management requirements to common substitutes like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The 2016 rule and the compliance dates currently remain in effect.

The 2016 rule made the following changes to the existing requirements under Section 608.

1) Extended the requirements of the Refrigerant Management Program to cover substitute refrigerants, such as HFCs. Note that EPA has previously exempted some substitutes from the Section 608 venting prohibition through previous rules. Such substitutes are also exempt from the requirements of this rule.

2) Lowered the leak rate thresholds that trigger the duty to repair refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant.

  • Lowered from 35% to 30% for industrial process refrigeration (IPR)
  • Lowered from 35% to 20% for commercial refrigeration equipment
  • Lowered from 15% to 10% for comfort cooling equipment

3) Required quarterly/annual leak inspections or continuous monitoring devices for refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment that have exceeded the threshold leak rate.

4) Required owners/operators to submit reports to EPA if systems containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant leak 125% or more of their full charge in one calendar year.

5) Extended the sales restriction to HFCs and other non-exempt substitutes, with the exception of small cans (containing 2 pounds or less) of non-exempt substitutes (e.g., primarily HFC-134a) for motor vehicle air conditioner servicing. These small cans can continue to be sold without technician certification so long as the small cans have a self-sealing valve to reduce refrigerant releases.

6) Required technicians to keep a record of refrigerant recovered during system disposal from systems with a charge size from 5–50 lbs.

Fact Sheets on the 2016 Rule

Other Documents


CA Accepting Public Comment on 2020 Building Code

Wed, 2018-10-03 15:36
Building Codes

The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) is providing notice of 45-day public comment period for proposed building standards in the 2019 California Building Standards Code (Title 24). Click here for 2018 Public Comment Periods and to review proposed building standards.

The California Building Standards Commission Code Advisory Committee will review and make recommendations on proposed changes, submitted by state agencies, to California's building codes. The following designated periods provide opportunity for public review and comments concerning proposed changes (by subject matter) to the California Building Standards Code, Title 24, which will be published in July 2019 with an effective date of January 1, 2020. The California Building Standards Commission is issuing revised 45-Day NOPA's, to correct minor errors within the notices, for the dates listed below:

Accessibility (ACCESS) and Building, Fire and Other (BFO) Code Advisory Committees 

45-Day Public Comment Period: September 07 – October 22, 2018

Health Facilities (HF), Plumbing Electrical, Mechanical and Energy (PEME), Structural Design and Lateral Forces (SDLF), and Green Building (GREEN) Code Advisory Committees

45-Day Public Comment Period: September 14 – October 29, 2018

Owens Corning’s New Marketing Approach for Fiberglass

Wed, 2018-09-26 22:02
Building Science

Aeroseal, LLC and Owens Corning Insulating Systems have entered into a joint marketing agreement specifically focused on delivering builders a high performance, affordable and customizable building envelope solution. The co-branded alliance combines the proven performance of PINK® Fiberglas™ Insulation with AeroBarrier®, a revolutionary building envelope air sealing technology, to create a tight building envelope that simplifies the build process and makes it easier to meet increasingly strict energy codes.

“Recognized by the International Builders’ Show as Best in Show and Most Innovative Product, AeroBarrier is a game-changing aerosol envelope sealing system using approximately five gallons of low VOC, non-toxic waterborne acrylic mist, compared to a manual process of applying different caulks, tapes, membranes, gaskets and/or applying up to 100 gallons or more of regulated chemicals in the form of spray foam,” said Amit Gupta, Aeroseal’s CEO. “Feedback from builders and contractors has been very positive. Building professionals are extremely receptive to the solution which automatically monitors ACH performance during the sealing process, instantly provides certified results, and eliminates uncertainty as there is no need to wait for building completion to check final leakage.”

Together, the Owens Corning insulation portfolio and the AeroBarrier® technology deliver the highest guaranteed performance and the most cost-effective air and thermal solution that will measure and seal building envelope to a precise level of performance. The AeroBarrier® technology, developed by University of California, Davis creates a tight building envelope that maximizes the performance of Owens Corning PINK® Fiberglas™ Insulation.

“This is the only system offering builders guaranteed thermal performance for the life of the home and dialed-in performance to meet specific builder targets backed by guaranteed air changes per hour (ACH),” said Carmelo Carrubba, vice president of insulation strategic marketing, Owens Corning. “Combining the air sealing and insulating expertise from two trusted brands enables builders to achieve desired performance targets using a smarter, safer and faster building envelope solution.”

The two-step installation takes less than four hours, beginning with PINK® Fiberglas™ or Blown-in Insulation to local code requirements in conjunction with the AeroBarrier® selfguided solution minimizing interruptions to the job site. AeroBarrier can be applied at the rough-in stage or after drywall is completed and before finishing to ensure all pipe and electrical penetrations are sealed as the aerosol particles automatically seek out and find air gaps and holes in the pressurized envelope.

For access additional to product resources, visit

Owens Corning’s New Marketing Approach for Fiberglass

Wed, 2018-09-26 22:02
Building Science

Aeroseal, LLC and Owens Corning Insulating Systems have entered into a joint marketing agreement specifically focused on delivering builders a high performance, affordable and customizable building envelope solution. The co-branded alliance combines the proven performance of PINK® Fiberglas™ Insulation with AeroBarrier®, a revolutionary building envelope air sealing technology, to create a tight building envelope that simplifies the build process and makes it easier to meet increasingly strict energy codes.

“Recognized by the International Builders’ Show as Best in Show and Most Innovative Product, AeroBarrier is a game-changing aerosol envelope sealing system using approximately five gallons of low VOC, non-toxic waterborne acrylic mist, compared to a manual process of applying different caulks, tapes, membranes, gaskets and/or applying up to 100 gallons or more of regulated chemicals in the form of spray foam,” said Amit Gupta, Aeroseal’s CEO. “Feedback from builders and contractors has been very positive. Building professionals are extremely receptive to the solution which automatically monitors ACH performance during the sealing process, instantly provides certified results, and eliminates uncertainty as there is no need to wait for building completion to check final leakage.”

Together, the Owens Corning insulation portfolio and the AeroBarrier® technology deliver the highest guaranteed performance and the most cost-effective air and thermal solution that will measure and seal building envelope to a precise level of performance. The AeroBarrier® technology, developed by University of California, Davis creates a tight building envelope that maximizes the performance of Owens Corning PINK® Fiberglas™ Insulation.

“This is the only system offering builders guaranteed thermal performance for the life of the home and dialed-in performance to meet specific builder targets backed by guaranteed air changes per hour (ACH),” said Carmelo Carrubba, vice president of insulation strategic marketing, Owens Corning. “Combining the air sealing and insulating expertise from two trusted brands enables builders to achieve desired performance targets using a smarter, safer and faster building envelope solution.”

The two-step installation takes less than four hours, beginning with PINK® Fiberglas™ or Blown-in Insulation to local code requirements in conjunction with the AeroBarrier® selfguided solution minimizing interruptions to the job site. AeroBarrier can be applied at the rough-in stage or after drywall is completed and before finishing to ensure all pipe and electrical penetrations are sealed as the aerosol particles automatically seek out and find air gaps and holes in the pressurized envelope.

For access additional to product resources, visit

Building Code Adoption Where Intellectual Property (IP) is Involved

Wed, 2018-09-26 21:52
Building CodesBuilding Science

A question that can arise during the building design, plan review and inspection process, particularly as it relates to the use of innovative materials is; how should an authority having jurisdiction handle compliance and noncompliance where proprietary information and intellectual property (IP) is involved?

  1. We believe that in this context intellectual property, freedom of information act (FOIA) (Graphic 1) and general professional engineering code of ethics and laws (Graphic 2) are clear.
    1. Credit shall be given where credit is due, and will recognize the proprietary interests of others.
    2. Designs supplied by anyone to a building department recognize that the designs remain the property of the designer and may not be duplicated or used by others without express permission.
    3. Before undertaking work for others in connection with the use of IP, any party that makes improvements to plans, designs, inventions, or other records that may justify copyrights or patents, should enter into a positive agreement regarding ownership.
    4. Designs, data, records, and notes referring exclusively to any person or company’s work are the IP of the provider.

Graphic 1

Graphic 2


  1. The building official approval process, with respect to the protection of IP, is performed by a registered design professional (RDP) or by an ANSI ISO/IEC 17065 accredited product certification body.
  2. An RDP (RDP) or approved source provide an accepted engineering analysis or research report and signs and certifies their belief that the issue being dealt with conforms to the code.




  1. A research report is provided by an approved source.





  1. A research report, also known as a technical evaluation or accepted engineering analysis, is provided by an ANSI ISO/IEC 17065 Accredited Product Certification Body




Obviously, the best-case scenario for building official authorized interpretations is to have them based on an RDP that signs, certifies and seals conformance with the building code provisions.

  1. The one caveat to an immediate issuing of a certificate of approval for the use of any innovative IP, by any authority having jurisdiction, is when any construction professional (including the building official) has documented evidence that there is not full compliance with specific requirements of the building code that are directly applicable.
  2. When there is documented evidence that there is not full compliance with any jurisdiction’s adopted building code, the authority having jurisdiction will respond in writing stating the reasons why the alternative material, product, design, building system design and/or method of construction was not approved. Since the building code is law, SBCA presumes that the authority having jurisdiction will provide a clear set of specific building code citations that are directly pertinent to the non-compliance condition along with counsel on how to cure it so that an SBCA member can easily provide information or revisions to cure.
  3. Clearly, denial of a sealed engineering document cannot be arbitrary or discriminatory because that would be a violation of laws that encourage free and open markets which are the foundation of economic competition, innovation and a vibrant economy.


Related articles:

  1. What Does the Code Say 'Accepted Engineering Practice' Means?
  2. Building Code & Adopted Law Definitions -- Building Official
  3. What is a Building Official’s Scope of Work?
  4. Building Code Adoption of Innovative & Engineered Products
  5. Building Code Adoption Where Intellectual Property (IP) is Involved
  6. Do You Indemnify & Hold Harmless Your 'ICC Report' Author?
  7. Design Value Concepts by APA’s Dr. Yeh; SBCA Agrees
  8. Does Your Teammate Sign and Seal Their Testing and Engineering Work?
  9. Confidence Through Sealed Engineering, No Seal=No Teammate