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Building Efficiency: A Key Component to Meeting Energy Goals

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 26, 2019
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2019

Since the 1970s, the United States has made a sustained effort to address its energy consumption through the adoption of strong energy efficiency policies. The building sector—both residential and commercial—currently represents more than 40% of our national energy consumption, 54% of natural gas consumption and more than 70% of national electricity consumption.

Buildings also emit over one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than any other sector of the economy. When buildings waste energy needlessly, power plants work harder and put stress on the electric grid. Making our buildings more efficient is a practical way to help the environment, create jobs, and save money.

Boosting energy efficiency alone can provide 40 percent of the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet global targets and the work to implement these standards will lead to jobs in manufacturing, distribution, and installation. These improvements will save consumers billions of dollars in energy costs annually – money that can be invested back into the U.S. economy.

But these policies would do more than save energy; they’d also provide buildings and the people who use them with added protection from severe weather events. In 2017 alone, there were $317 billion in losses from US natural disasters, jump-starting discussions on creating more resilient buildings and communities. Optimizing insulation for an energy efficient building envelope improves performance post-disaster or during prolonged events like heat waves or extreme cold. And the investment would pay off – it’s estimated that designing buildings to the 2018 I-Codes would deliver a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested.  

So, how do we promote building efficiency?

Every three years, stakeholders, including local governments and local officials, have the opportunity to vote on changes to the model codes, which serve as the basis for the building codes adopted and enforced by local and state governments. This time around, there is increased awareness of the opportunity cities have to write an update of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

Building energy codes set the standards for building efficiency and are an extremely effective method for enacting real change. Since cities are invited to participate in the process, local governments can use their votes to help write better, more rigorous building codes without having to fund the process themselves. These improved codes will increase energy independence, save money, and create jobs across the country as they’re implemented. All cities have to do is cast their eligible votes during the International Code Council’s (ICC) two-week voting window this November.

The process to develop the 2021 IECC has been ongoing for many years and culminates with cities’ online votes this November. Boosting local government involvement in the 2021 IECC and educating cities on the benefits of a robust energy code can put the model energy code in a strong position to win at least 10% efficiency gains for residential and commercial buildings.

There are many groups working to craft proposals to boost efficiency and provide communities with actionable guidelines to support efficient building projects in their jurisdictions. The increased awareness of the looming impacts of a changing climate and interest in contributing to the efforts to make our energy usage more sustainable, the IECC process has attracted more participation than ever before in the code development process.

What’s Ahead? Here is a list of action items from the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition:

What Local Leaders Can Do Now

Identify all existing ICC Governmental Memberships for your community
Consider a formal resolution that supports your city casting its maximum eligible votes in favor a 10% efficiency boost in the 2021 IECC
Convey your jurisdiction’s policy to each General Member

By September 24

Primary representatives must submit their roster of 4, 8 or 12 Governmental Member voting representatives to the ICC
Assign staff to organize a “voting party” or other activity to ensure votes get cast

November

 During ICC’s 2-Week Voting Window – Exact date is based on the end of the Public Comment Hearings, but it is currently scheduled November 13 – November 27.
Cast your city’s maximum online votes!

Tags:  buildings  Efficiency  energy codes  insulation 

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Canada to Address Building Code Gap for Existing Buildings

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 23, 2019
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2019
The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes has issued recommendations to address “the absence of clear code requirements for existing buildings.” The report outlines an approach to constructing a regulatory framework for today’s building stock to address five objectives, including improved energy efficiency. Canada has invited interested stakeholders to provide input on the report through a brief online survey by August 30, 2019. PIMA plans to submit comments that highlight the United States’ experience with the existing building provisions of the IECC and respond to the report’s concerns of building fire safety. To view the online survey, click here

Tags:  building codes 

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Energy Conservation Lives!

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Friday, August 16, 2019
Updated: Friday, August 16, 2019
A recent Trump Administration document “encourages communities to adopt and enforce up-to-date building codes.” This important policy recommendation, contained in the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)’s National Mitigation Investment Strategy (NMIS), is expected to further catalyze code adoption and pave the way toward enforcement of these critical building standards.

The NMIS Recommendation 3.1 further states:
“Building codes regulate the design, construction, and occupancy of buildings and structures by providing minimum requirements to safeguard public safety, health and general welfare. Architects, engineers, builders, and regulators should use the latest building codes for the most up-to-date requirements for structural integrity, mechanical integrity, fire prevention and energy conservation. Using up-to-date building codes helps communities survive, remain resilient, and continue to provide essential services after a disaster occurs.”
 
This recommendation, combined with increased code adoption at the local level will be a powerful market signal. Further information and an explanation of the document is available here.

Tags:  building  building codes  buildings  construction  Disaster Preparedness  energy codes  energy efficiency  resiliency 

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New Wisconsin High School Uses Polyiso CI System

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Voters in Verona, WI passed a referendum in 2017 to build a brand-new high school. Once the new school is ready, the existing campus will be renovated to become a middle school and then the existing middle school will be converted for use as a new elementary school. The ambitious plan was undertaken to invest in long-term solutions for the school district’s needs and as a result care was taken in designing a new high school that would perform well over the long haul.

Construction is now underway on the new high school, designed in a collaborative process with staff, students, and project team members to provide an adaptable and vibrant modern learning environment in a safe place to support the physical and emotional wellbeing of students. Responsive to the natural environment, the new high school maximizes views and daylighting and offers outdoor learning spaces. At the heart of the building is a three-story atrium to encourage socialization and collaboration. The 585,000-square-foot building is scheduled for completion in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year.

To keep the building comfortable throughout the changing seasons and to minimize its energy needs, the design team selected products for the walls that would provide maximum insulation with minimal maintenance. More than 100,000 square feet of Johns Manville 2 ½ inch foil-faced Polyiso CI boards are being used on the project. They offer a reflective foil facer on one side and a non-reflective facer on the other to provide exceptional heat, moisture and air control. When installed correctly the Polyiso CI system provides a layer of continuous insulation that eliminates the thermal bridges that cause heat loss.

Learn more about the project here.

Tags:  buildings  continuous insulation  energy efficiency  insulation  Polyiso 

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Insulation Fly-In: Building Relationships for Better Buildings

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Thursday, May 30, 2019
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019

In this age of instant connectivity, virtual encounters allow communication and cooperation with unprecedented speed and ease. But there’s something about a face-to-face meeting that really helps people reach common ground. In May, 110 contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers from the insulation industry representing the majority of states met on Capitol Hill with lawmakers to discuss issues and ideas for harnessing the resources of the insulation industry to tackle some of our country’s most pressing problems. And they were serious about building those face-to-face relationships—and packed in 101 meetings on Capitol Hill, 23 of them with members of Congress.

With the constant stream of news stories highlighting the human costs and economic consequences of a changing environment, momentum is growing behind solutions that can address these environmental challenges in ways that strengthen U.S. economic productivity and competitiveness. To that end, PIMA members are working to build enthusiasm for federal action on policies that optimize the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. Raising standards for new residential, commercial, and industrial buildings and retrofitting older ones can lead to long-term savings through better building performance.

Increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings is a practical way to help the environment, create jobs, and save money. Boosting energy efficiency alone can provide 40% of the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet global targets and the work to implement these standards will lead to jobs in manufacturing, distribution, and installation. These improvements will save consumers billions of dollars in energy costs annually – money that can be invested back into the U.S. economy.

But these policies would do more than save energy; they’d also provide buildings and the people who use them with added protection from severe weather events. In 2017 alone, there were $317 billion in losses from US natural disasters, jump-starting discussions on creating more resilient buildings and communities. Optimizing insulation for an energy efficient building envelope improves performance post-disaster or during prolonged events like heat waves or extreme cold. And the investment would pay off – it’s estimated that designing buildings to the 2018 I-Codes would deliver a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested.  

Some legislative tools to promote these improvements include:

  • Strengthening oversight of new rules for disaster preparedness and response.
  • Supporting investments in building science research.
  • Recognizing buildings as infrastructure, including critical structures such as hospitals and schools.

Improving the energy efficiency and resilience of our built environment is a proactive approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while boosting economic growth, improving energy security, and advancing U.S. global competitiveness. PIMA members are working together to promote policies that support these goals through events like Insulation Industry National Policy Conference.

For a deeper dive into the policy topics that were highlighted during the industry fly-in, please download the policy briefs:

Tags:  Congress  Efficiency  energy efficiency  insulation  jobs  manufacturing  Polyiso  resiliency  roofing 

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The Overarching Impact of the Insulation Industry

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Insulation can be found in buildings, refrigeration and a multitude of other end use products, and is used for floatation and transportation. From an environmental standpoint, when insulation products such as Polyiso are used in building and construction, the purpose of the insulation is to stop the flow of air (hot or cold) through the exterior walls and roofs of a building. Reducing the air transfer reduces the amount of energy required to regulate a building’s heating and cooling system. As a result, the insulation has a direct impact on the cost and use of energy to run that building.

Beyond its sustainability and environmental attributes, a new report, “The Contributions Insulation to the U.S. Economy in 2018,” produced by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), shows that the insulation industry contributes significantly to the U.S. economy. In fact, the industry generates more than 550,000 jobs and $33 billion a year in payrolls. For extended details on the economic contributions, insulation industry segments, and more view the full study here.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  buildings  construction  continuous insulation  energy efficiency  insulation  manufacturing  Polyiso 

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2018 Insulation Manufacturing Facts

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The report, “The Contributions of Insulation to the U.S. Economy in 2018,” produced by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) shows that the insulation manufacturing sector contributes significantly to the U.S. economy as illustrated in the infographic below. To learn more about the manufacturing aspects of the insulation industry, view the full study here.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  energy efficiency  insulation  jobs  manufacturing  Polyiso 

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Polyiso Roof & Wall Insulation: Helping New International Concourse at LAX Meet the Codes

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Friday, May 3, 2019
Updated: Friday, May 3, 2019
The ongoing overhaul of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the nation’s third busiest airport, is a complex web of projects. One of its major components is the new Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) North, a five-level, 750,000 square-foot expansion accessible via a spacious 1,200 ft. long tunnel corridor with moving walkways from the Tom Bradley terminal. As with any major construction undertaking, the project is designed to meet a wide array of building codes, including the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) mandatory sustainability related requirements, and its Tier 1 voluntary sustainability measures that each jurisdiction has the option to enforce.  

CALGreen is the first-in-the-nation mandatory state green building standards code. Developed in 2007, it targets the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) from buildings, while promoting environmentally responsible, cost-effective, healthier places to live and work. In order for the new MSC to meet the exacting CALGreen Tier 1 specifications, the thermal insulation used in the project had to meet key requirements that measured volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions. Designers worked to find a continuous insulation capable of reaching those goals and providing the durability and protection required for the high-demand building conditions.

Additionally, since the new concourse is designed to complement the ocean wave theme of the airport, the architects envisaged a stunning curvilinear roof. This unique design element demanded some additional roof and wall configuration requirements. The team needed insulation materials that could be custom fit to meet custom curvature and design needs.

The design and construction team began searching for an insulation solution that would meet or exceed all code and environmental requirements and provide the flexibility and ease of installation that would make it a viable option for such a large project. Atlas polyiso roof and wall insulation products were continually recommended by industry experts due to their low VOC emissions and optimal performance. Atlas polyiso roof and wall insulation products have passed the vigorous testing requirements for GREENGUARD Gold certification.

The size and scale of the project is significant. More than 500,000 square feet of polyiso are required on the roof and more than 215,000 square feet will be used in the walls to ensure top building performance by providing a high R-value, durability and water resistive barrier attributes available.

To find out more, click here for the full case study.

Tags:  building envelope  buildings  continuous insulation  energy efficiency  insulation  Polyiso  roofing 

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Justin Koscher on 2019 National Energy Codes Conference Panel

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 2, 2019
Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2019

The 2019 National Energy Codes Conference is being held in Denver, May 29 and 30, 2019. This year it will feature an engaging set of topics, educational sessions, and networking opportunities.

PIMA President Justin Koscher will be a panelist on the Building Resilience: A Community Perspective on Energy Codes panel. He will be joined by:

  • Cammy Peterson – Director of Clean Energy, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)
  • Amy Schmidt – Advocacy Manager, DowDuPont
  • Brad Smith – Energy Code Compliance Specialist, City of Fort Collins, CO
  • John Balfe (moderator) – Senior Buildings and Communities Solutions Associate, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)

On Thursday, May 30 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, Justin and his fellow panelists will discuss:
Resiliency, safety, and savings – these terms appeal to community leaders and are important co-benefits of advanced energy codes. But how do communities realize these benefits? Policies, resources, and innovative strategies have been developed to harmonize energy efficiency and resiliency to make for a more well-equipped community building stock in the face of both manmade and natural disasters. Join this session to understand why energy codes are life safety codes.

If you are interested in attending this DOE event there is still time to sign up here.
Conference Dates: May 29 -30, 2019
Location: Denver, Colorado – Hilton Denver City Center

Tags:  energy codes  energy efficiency  resiliency  roofing 

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High-Performance Building Envelope for East Point Elementary

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Monday, April 22, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

As the easternmost of Canada’s provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador sit on the edge of the North Atlantic. Composed of the island of Newfoundland and the large mainland section Labrador to its northwest, the province has a geography shaped by its exposure over millions of years to extreme weather conditions. The construction of a new elementary school in the Virginia Park area of its capital, St. John’s, required a rugged building envelope that would withstand most anything nature could throw its way.

The new $8 million K-6 East Point Elementary School includes 17 classrooms, a gymnasium, a stage, a lunch/multipurpose room with a commercial kitchen, a learning resource center, a music room and a family resource room. The school currently has 160 students enrolled and can accommodate approximately 340.

For protection from the elements, this school building required outstanding thermal performance for both the roof and wall systems. IKO polyiso insulation and high-density polyiso cover board were used on the roof. In addition, the masonry cavity wall features four inches of foil-faced polyiso insulation. Polyiso's unique benefits, strength and versatility allow it to adapt to a variety of applications. It’s outstanding thermal performance and high R-value per inch make it a smart choice for the most demanding environments.

Learn more about this project here.

Tags:  insulation  Polyiso  roofing  r-value 

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