PIMA's Polyiso Blog
Blog Home All Blogs

New, Stronger Energy Codes for District of Columbia and New York City

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Thursday, March 12, 2020
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2020

Both New York City and the District of Columbia are set to enact new building energy codes that contain prescriptive envelope requirements that are more stringent than the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The new minimums also increase the jurisdictions’ previous requirements, which were R-25 in D.C. and R-30 in NYC for insulation installed entirely above the roof deck.

The District of Columbia’s new energy code, currently before the City Council for final review, is expected to pass in early April 2020. D.C.’s new code also includes an optional appendix (Appendix Z) for net-zero construction that is voluntary now, but will be mandatory for new commercial buildings in 2026. The new code will take effect on April 9, 2020, but projects that have a signed design contract, a permit application pending, or an approved permit prior to this date can still use the previous code.

The New York City Council  recently approved a new energy code that includes most of the requirements under New York’s Stretch Energy Code (published July 2019). The Mayor is expected to sign the ordinance soon and it will take immediate effect on May 12, 2020.

Below is a table comparing four prescriptive envelope requirements for the new codes in D.C. and NYC as well as the model requirements in the 2018 IECC (Climate Zone 4).  


Washington, D.C.


2018 IECC


Roofs: Insulation Entirely Above Deck




Steel Framed Walls




Wood Framed Walls


R-13+R-4.5 or


R-13+R-3.8 or



Wood Framed Walls

R-19+R-5 or


R-20+5 or


R-20 or





Tags:  building envelope  Efficiency  energy codes 

PermalinkComments (0)

Bellingham, Washington Home is Zero Energy, Zero Water and Zero Sewer

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Located in the Birchwood neighborhood of Bellingham, Washington, lies the newly built Birch Home. The Birch Home is zero energy, zero water and zero sewer. Architect Dan Welch and builder Chris Tretwold of Tretwold Construction built the home to the high energy performance standards of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program and the home is now where Dan Welch and his wife reside. Welch had designed or consulted on several high-performance homes prior to this project, but this was the first home he actually built. Through careful thought, research and time, Welch and Tretwold were able to achieve this triple play in performance.

In order to make all aspects of The Birch home “zero,” different products and systems were used to ensure the building was as high performing as possible. Solar panels were used to produce energy while rainwater provides all the home’s water supply. Additionally, the home has about nine inches of polyiso insulation on the roof for maximum energy efficiency.

Learn more about this project here.

Tags:  building envelope  energy efficiency  resiliency 

PermalinkComments (0)

IKO Roofing Products Protect Impressive Gondola Project in British Columbia

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2019

The Sea to Sky Gondola became an instant landmark destination in Squamish, British Columbia when it opened in May 2014. Under construction for more than a year, the $22-million project now provides year-round access to hiking trails, interpretive walks, panoramic views and a 9,000-square foot Summit Lodge where guests can enjoy self-serve dining and local Squamish food and beverage.

The roof system was engineered to withstand the demands of all-weather exposure with minimal maintenance requirements. With construction slated to take place during the winter of 2013/2014, the building’s location presented some interesting challenges. Its only access road was a steep, single-lane logging highway, so all of the construction materials had to be shipped to a base station at the bottom of the mountain on a flat bed and then pulled uphill by heavy equipment to reach the access site.

With this in mind, designers specified products that would deliver the most protection at the lowest weight and bulk. Polyiso insulation from IKO was chosen to provide outstanding thermal performance for the building’s roof system. Given the challenging installation environment, roofing contractor Garibaldi Roofing was grateful that  superior materials such as Polyiso insulation were light enough that sheets could be carried by a single installer.

Learn more about this project here.

Download File (TIF)

Tags:  buildings  insulation  Polyiso  roofing 

PermalinkComments (0)

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech Includes Polyiso

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 2, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2019

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design (Kendeda Building) at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) was dedicated on October 24, 2019. Built in partnership with the Kendeda Fund, the 46,800-square-foot building is the first academic and research building in the Southeast to pursue the Living Building Challenge – the world’s most ambitious green building program.

The Kendeda Building will need to meet 20 “Imperatives” – which are specific performance requirements – after 12 consecutive months of operation. Certification is anticipated in 2021, and the project is also pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification at the Platinum level.

The project team used a three-inch base layer of non-halogenated GAF Polyiso roof insulation to cover nearly the entire roof and approximately 130 squares of material GAF TPO. This GAF polyiso insulation does not contain halogenated flame-retardant chemicals and offers:

  • A higher R-value per inch compared to non-polyiso types of insulation of equivalent thickness;
  • High moisture resistance;
  • Improved fire resistance;
  • Are lightweight for easy handling and installation;
  • Have zero ozone depletion potential and negligible global warming potential, and;
  • Manufactured with EPA-compliant blowing agents containing no CFCs or HCFs. 

The Kendeda Building will use just one-third the energy of a comparable building, will generate more energy than it uses from solar panels on its roof and will capture and treat rainwater for all purposes, including drinking. This is one of the reasons the project team chose to integrate tapered Polyiso roof insulation in addition to the flat material to help direct water into the capture systems.

The building includes classrooms, laboratories, offices, an auditorium, a student commons, and a roof garden with an apiary. The project offers unique learning opportunities for designers, builders, and building operators, such as how to tackle the region’s humidity and potential droughts.

The Living Building was funded through a $30 million grant from The Kendeda Fund, one of the leading philanthropic investors in civic and environmental programs in the Atlanta area with a commitment to ecological and social causes.

Tags:  buildings  energy efficiency  insulation  LEED  Polyiso  r-value 

PermalinkComments (0)

Energy Savings Go Through the Roof!

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 11, 2019
Updated: Monday, November 11, 2019
When it’s time to replace a roof, most owners choose roofing materials based on performance qualities like longevity and weather resistance. But a well-designed roof can also shine in another performance area: energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency is important to many owners with concerns ranging from climate impacts like building carbon footprints to the costs and reliability of energy resources. Since approximately 25 percent of heat loss in an uninsulated building occurs through the roof, choosing materials that add insulative power can add significant energy savings. For commercial and low-slope roof applications, adding layers of rigid foam insulation to the roofing system can deliver exceptional R-value without a lot of bulk.

An article last month from the Energy News Network details initiatives in Warren, Minnesota and Arnsberg, Germany to use thermal imaging in evaluating building heat loss to help owners determine the best energy efficiency opportunities.

The program was conceived after municipal leaders from Warren and Arnsberg met through the Climate-Smart Municipalities program sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment which paired five cities in Minnesota with similar cities in Germany. Arnsberg had been using remote-piloted aircraft to collect thermal images of building heat loss. Leaders in Warren decided to try using drones to get more detailed information.

Piggybacking off each other’s ideas, the two cities are innovating the practical applications of these thermal images in directing energy efficiency efforts to the places that will have the greatest impact. Their research provides further evidence that reroofing with energy-efficient materials can decrease building heat loss and lead to reduced energy consumption.

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

PermalinkComments (0)

PIMA Technical Bulletin #304: Energy Efficiency with Polyiso Continuous Insulation (CI)

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 4, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Technical Bulletin #304 discusses how to use Polyiso CI (with foil or coated glass facer) to provide a continuous layer of insulation on the exterior of homes with wood or steel framing to minimize thermal bridges. Architectural images depict insulation covering the entire opaque wall surface that demonstrate significant increases in the overall thermal performance and energy efficiency of a home using Polyiso CI.
Thermal images highlight the temperature distribution and heat flux through wood and steel frame wall sections both with and without Polyiso CI and demonstrate an improved overall effective R-value. The technical bulletin also discusses Polyiso CI’s features and benefits related to attic, roof, foundation, and slab applications. A “Key Facts” summary provides a convenient reference of the important information contained in this document. A link to PIMA Technical Bulletin #304 is found here.

Tags:  building envelope  buildings  continuous insulation  insulation  Polyiso 

PermalinkComments (0)

PIMA Technical Bulletin #303: Moisture Control with Polyiso Continuous Insulation (CI)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 31, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Technical Bulletin #303 contains important information about the use of Polyiso CI (with foil or coated glass facer) when used as a continuous layer of insulation on the exterior of a home (wood or steel framed construction). This technical bulletin notes that providing insulation over the entire opaque wall surface significantly increases the overall thermal performance and energy efficiency of a home and highlights how it protects from the ravages of moisture.

Included in this technical bulletin are a number of illustrations comparing Polyiso CI with other systems in connection with the transfer of moisture. A “Key Facts” summary provides a convenient reference of the important information contained in this document.

A link to PIMA Technical Bulletin #303 is provided here.

Tags:  building envelope  continuous insulation  Polyiso 

PermalinkComments (0)

PIMA Technical Bulletin #302: Wall Bracing with Polyiso Continuous Insulation (CI)

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 28, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Technical Bulletin #302 presents several applications related to the proper use of the Polyiso CI, and highlights the importance of wall bracing to resist lateral loading conditions and meet residential building code requirements. Structural bracing requirements are described for both wood and steel framed residential construction in the document.

Included in this technical bulletin are illustrations related to the use of wall bracing with Polyiso CI that serve as helpful “how to” descriptions for installation of the product. Also included is a summary of “Key Facts” that reference important information contained in the document. A link to PIMA Technical Bulletin #302 is provided here.

Tags:  buildings  continuous insulation  energy codes  energy efficiency  Polyiso 

PermalinkComments (0)

PIMA Technical Bulletin #301: Polyiso Continuous Insulation (CI) Performance in Residential Wall Applications

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Technical Bulletin #301 looks at the use of Polyiso CI (with foil or coated glass facer) to provide a continuous layer of insulation on the exterior of residential housing (when used with wood or steel framed construction) to minimize thermal bridges and increase the overall thermal performance and energy efficiency of a home. This document covers various applications of Polyiso CI including: thermal insulation; thermal bridge reduction; water resistive barrier: air barrier; water vapor control; and fire performance.

Included in this technical bulletin are a number of illustrations comparing Polyiso CI with other insulation systems. A “Key Facts” summary and “Definitions” section provide addition and important information. A link to PIMA Technical Bulletin #301 is provided here.

Tags:  building envelope  continuous insulation  Efficiency  energy codes  insulation  Polyiso 

PermalinkComments (0)

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


 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 

PermalinkComments (0)
Page 3 of 11
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  >   >>   >|