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Nothing But the Best for the Big Ten: Terra Cotta Rainscreen Wall System With Continuous Insulation on New Headquarters Provides Style and Performance

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Since its inception in 1895, the Big Ten Conference has pioneered standards of excellence for intercollegiate sports. It should be no surprise then that the design of its headquarters building in Rosemont, Illinois features the construction industry’s highest performing products. In the Midwest, where temperatures can swing 100 degrees between winter and summer, the effectiveness of a building’s envelope, in particular, is a major factor on interior comfort, energy efficiency, and building durability.

Echoing the red brick buildings on the college campuses the Big Ten represents, designers chose a terra cotta rainscreen wall system that creates a striking façade for the 50,000-square-foot building. The tiles themselves are 12 x 48-inch panels with a bright red-orange color and a smooth finish. Their distinctive color is created using a single-clay composition, but there is a range of natural variations that enhance visual interest. The panels weren’t chosen just for their looks though. Each piece incorporates self-supporting extruded clay cleats that eliminate the need for metal support clips during the installation process—reducing costs and install time.

The terra cotta tiles are only the most exterior of the layers that wrap the Big Ten headquarters’ building envelope. These layers, called an open-joint rainscreen system, allow pressure to be equalized in the space between two exterior wall components so weather elements don’t reach the inner wall (rainscreen), which contains the moisture barrier and other critical components. This makes the building mold and mildew resistant—a huge bonus in an area known for its summer humidity. The panels are attached to exterior cold-formed metal framing, which supports the rainscreen system to resist the wind and snow loads for the Chicago area.

Behind the framing is the workhorse of the wall assembly, a commercial-grade insulation from Portland, ME-based Hunter Panels. The continuous insulation system used was manufactured at the local Hunter plant in Chicago. Continuous insulation, as its name suggests, covers the entire wall surface, with the obvious exception of windows, doors, and fasteners, minimizing heat loss and thermal bridging that is inevitable in systems that only insulate between the studs. Hunter’s Polyiso foam-board insulation with foil facers on both sides offers R-values from 6.3 to 19.5 in a single layer—a marked improvement over other insulation options. Since the insulation panels incorporate the moisture barrier required to protect the building, they also eliminate a step from the installation process.

Even though the construction team was unfamiliar with some of the wall system’s elements before this job, they were able to quickly master the installation techniques. The entire exterior took only six months to install and the Big Ten will be reaping benefits of such a maintenance-free and energy-efficient system for decades to come.


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Tags:  building  continuous insulation  energy efficiency  insulation  Polyiso  rainscreen 

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Polyiso Continuous Insulation

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 11, 2019
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2019

Improvements to model energy codes are boosting advances in the use of insulation for commercial and residential building envelopes. Continuous insulation (CI) is quickly becoming the standard for high-performance building due to its ability to greatly improve operational performance while simplifying design and installation. In the ASHRAE 90.1 standard, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-rise Residential Buildings, CI is defined as: "Insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings. It is installed on the interior, exterior, or is integral to any opaque surface of the building envelope."

CI is one of the most thermally efficient ways of complying with modern energy codes and mitigates energy loss that commonly results from thermal bridging. A thermal bridge, also called a cold bridge, heat bridge, or thermal bypass, is an area with higher thermal conductivity than the surrounding materials—like the studs of a wall that have batt insulation between them, creating a path of least resistance for heat transfer. In an otherwise insulated building, thermal bridges can account for up to 30 percent of energy loss. Using CI, the insulation doesn’t skip over studs or other obstructions in the wall cavity; it covers the entire surface. This results in:

  • Increased thermal performance
    By blocking thermal bridging, a continuous insulation system increases the overall thermal performance of a wall assembly and a building.

  • Reduced operating costs
    Continuous insulation keeps energy and heat loss to a minimum, increasing the building’s energy efficiency and leading to lower monthly operating costs.

  • Reduced air infiltration and exfiltration
    Continuous insulation with taped or sealed joints restricts air movement through the wall, helping to further reduce building heat loss.

The benefits of certain CI solutions go beyond enhanced energy efficiency. For example, polyiso insulation can serve as an air barrier, water resistant barrier, and water vapor control/retarder in wall assemblies. These capabilities provide the following additional benefits:

  • Reduced risk of water condensation and moisture intrusion
    Continuous insulation is a very moisture-resistant system, guarding the thermal and structural performance of the building.
  • Efficient installation
    When used as sheathing, continuous insulation can simplify the steps to construct a code-compliant wall assembly.
  • Dimensional Stability
    Polyiso insulation has excellent dimensional stability and meets ASTM C1289 Standard Specification for Faced Rigid Cellular Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board.

There are a multitude of building envelope product options, and a variety of design and construction methods used for achieving compliance with code requirements for the thermal envelope. To learn more about polyiso CI systems and their tried and true methods to meet these requirements refer to PIMA Technical Bulletin #403: “Continuous Insulation Using Polyiso Wall Sheathing” and this AIA CEU course which covers:

  • The different roles a product can play in the building envelope to simplify its design.
  • The code requirements for buildings classified as International Building Code Type I-IV Construction.
  • Strategies for achieving code compliance.
  • How polyiso can play multiple roles to meet or exceed these code requirements.
     

Tags:  insulation  polyiso  r-value  Type I-IV 

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Newest Shiloh House in Colorado Uses Polyiso Wall Boards for Superior Thermal and Weather Barrier

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 7, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

When Colorado architects from the Davis Partnership were designing a new building for the non-profit Shiloh House, they were thrilled to find a product that would protect the building envelope from exposure to fire, water, and wind while integrating a continuous insulation system that would provide long-term thermal efficiency. The polyiso wall insulation solution from Rmax gave them flexibility to use a variety of external claddings for visual interest without compromising on protection from the elements and energy savings. Even better, with the help of Rmax’s in-house architect and field team, they were able to design a wall system with smooth, on-time installation that meet the rigorous NFPA 285 requirements.

Shiloh House has five locations across Colorado that offer nurturing, therapeutic and educational services aimed to help youth and families to overcome the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma. They helped over 1,000 youth last year alone.

This new facility in Centennial is situated on a 1.54-acre property and includes on-site parking, outdoor courtyards, and the spaces and amenities that support the group’s programming to promote family stability and help families achieve their goals, while ensuring continued access to community resources once Shiloh House services have been successfully completed.

For an organization with such lofty goals, every dollar saved in building operations is another resource that can be used to serve its mission. The Rmax polyiso wall boards provide continuous insulation—eliminating heat lost that could occur through the studs when insulating with traditional products that are installed only in the wall cavities—and have reinforced aluminum foil facers that offer enhanced durability, dimensional stability and greater radiant heat protection. They make it easier and less expensive to keep the building comfortable, no matter the weather conditions outside.

“When we’re designing a building, we try to meet the highest standards because we care about protecting the environment and saving our client money over the whole life of their building by maximizing energy efficiency,” the architects explained. “With a reliable weather barrier and superior insulative properties, the polyiso continuous insulation system really gives your building the best protection while actually saving time and hassle on installation since it includes multiple protective layers in a single product.”

And the finished product speaks for itself:

Aerial views: www.rmax.com/aerial-videos

Project Gallery: www.rmax.com/shiloh-house-project-gallery

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Tags:  energy efficiency  insulation  NFPA 285  Polyiso  thermal efficiency  wall 

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Chicago Area Cold Storage Facility Looks to Polyiso & TPO for a Massive 236,000 SF Roof Upgrade

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 29, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2018
When a 1979 Chicago area cold-storage warehouse needed a roof upgrade, Polyiso insulation was a critical component of the new roof system.

Owned by CenterPoint Properties, the largest owner/developer of industrial real estate in the greater Chicago area, the building required a roof system that replaced the15 year old 236,000-square-foot BUR roof system with efficiency and longevity in mind.

The old roofing system leaked, including at the drains and field seams. The roof had overlay work from several past repairs and an uneven surface with obsolete mechanical units, which were removed.

The building is located in Hodgkins, Ill., where the tenant, Fresh Logistics, consolidates daily rail shipments of produce from key agricultural areas in California and Washington for distribution. Along with the new roof, an efficient and consistent temperature-controlled facility was critical to Fresh Logistics daily operations.

After the existing roof was torn off, two staggered layers of 2” Polyiso insulation, was topped with 60-mil energy efficient TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) membrane. This system allowed the contractor to use 70 percent fewer seams than the previous roof.

The roof system offers a cost-effective solution that provides a flat, clean, energy efficient roofing solution. Since the building has a temperature-controlled environment, the reflectivity of the 60-mil TPO keeps the building cooler and the four inches of insulation provide the proper R-value.

The roof was installed by Northcross Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc.

You can read more about this project here.

Tags:  Efficiency  insulation  Polyiso  roofing 

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The Far-Reaching Impact of the Insulation Industry

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Monday, September 10, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2018

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 2017,” 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 500,000 jobs and $30 billion a year in payrolls.

“This report makes clear that the business of manufacturing, distributing and installing insulation generates significant economic output and creates jobs across the country,” says Martha Gilchrist Moore, senior director of policy analysis and economics at ACC and author of the report. The impact is significant and key findings about the insulation industry’s contributions to the U.S. economy are detailed in the infographic below.

For extended details on the economic contributions, insulation industry segments, and more view the full study here.

Tags:  buildings  insulation  jobs  manufacturing  payroll  tax revenue 

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Insulation Manufacturing Facts

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Monday, September 10, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2018

The report, “The Contributions of Insulation to the U.S. Economy in 2017,” 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.

As a key segment of the insulation manufacturing industry, PIMA is proud of our members who manufacture polyisocyanurate insulation in more than 30 U.S. plants located in 16 states.

To learn more about the manufacturing aspects of the insulation industry, view the full study here.

Tags:  insulation  jobs  manufacturing 

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National Insulation Fly-In Day a Success

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Thursday, May 31, 2018

More than 130 insulation industry professionals recently gathered in Washington, DC for the second-annual Insulation Industry National Policy Forum. They met with 82 Congressional offices and Members of Congress – including Senator Rob Portman (Ohio) who has introduced a bill that would strengthen the nation’s commitment to energy efficiency – S. 385 The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. In addition, leaders from the Department of Energy, White House and U.S. Congress addressed the industry – including Representative Adam Kinzinger (IL), a leader on energy efficiency issues in Congress.  This year’s event included nearly 50 percent more attendees when compared to 2017 attendance numbers.

PIMA was a lead organizer of the fly-in event and some of the key points the association and it members made to lawmakers included:

  • The insulation industry employs more than 529,000 people and creates over $30 billion in annual payrolls.
  • The insulation manufacturing sector employs 37,000 Americans in 42 states with the largest number of manufacturing jobs located in Ohio.
  • Building energy codes – a driver for the use of insulation – are projected to save the US economy $126 billion in energy cost savings between 2010 and 2040.
  • Federal investments to resilient buildings provides a positive ROI for taxpayer dollars – a recent study demonstrates that exceeding the 2015 International Building Codes can save the nation $4 for every $1 spent. The insulation industry produces technology that contributes toward the value of these mitigation efforts.

The fly-in, and events like it, provide opportunities to ensure elected officials hear from and understand the importance of both the roofing and insulation industries to the overall U.S. economy. During our meetings on Capitol Hill with key lawmakers we also discussed workforce issues, funding for Department of Energy programs that support building energy efficiency, and buildings as key components of a resilient national infrastructure.

To view images from the fly-in, click here!

Tags:  Adam Kinzinger  building codes  buildings  Congress  Efficiency  energy codes  energy efficiency  fire performance  insulation  jobs  manufacturing  Polyiso 

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Understanding NFPA 285: Harmonizing Fire Performance and Energy Efficiency in Exterior Wall Assemblies

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Commercial building codes have been modified to require the construction of more energy-efficient buildings. Improvements to the building envelope, using continuous insulation solutions incorporating polyisocyanurate (or Polyiso) insulation, have played a major role in mainstreaming high-performance construction practices. To meet the demands of today’s buildings, architectural and design professionals must balance energy efficiency with whole building performance considerations, including fire safety. All construction materials, including foam plastics materials such as polyiso insulation, must provide a suitable margin of fire safety. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 285 fire test is a large-scale wall assembly test used to determine the potential for flame spread from one story of a building to another through the exterior wall. With respect to wall assemblies in Type I-IV Construction, understanding and properly implementing NFPA 285 is a critical component for designing a compliant, high-performance building envelope.  

To learn more about NFPA 285, check out this free webinar which can help you:
1.    Understand the development history of the NFPA 285 standard fire test procedure for exterior wall assemblies containing combustible materials.
2.    Identify the NFPA 285 related requirements in the 2012 and 2015 editions of the International Building Code.
3.    Explain how engineering analysis of NFPA 285 test assemblies may be used to specify alternative materials.  
4.    Determine how Polyiso insulation can be used as an integral component of NFPA 285 tested and compliant wall assemblies.

Tags:  building codes  buildings  energy efficiency  insulation  NFPA 285  Polyiso  Type I-IV  walls 

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Polyiso’s Trusted Fire Performance Brings Benefits to Wall Market

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Thursday, May 17, 2018

Polyiso roof insulation has long been championed by the construction industry for its excellent fire and thermal performance. As the most widely used insulation product for low-slope commercials roofs, polyiso remains the only foam plastic insulation product for direct application to steel decks to earn FM Approval for Class 1 Roof System. Polyiso’s inherent fire resistance characteristics are due to its unique structure of strong isocyanate chemical bonds. This produces a versatile product that roofing contractors have come to rely on for all types of roof systems.

The same physical properties that make polyiso a top choice for roofs also make the product an excellent option for continuous insulation applications for both commercial and residential walls. Thousands of exterior wall assemblies with polyiso insulation meet the stringent NFPA 285 test standard. This enables polyiso insulation to be used in buildings of any type and any height. And offers design professional flexibility to combine polyiso with a wide variety of other wall components to construct attractive and resilient building envelopes.  

Polyiso wall insulation products also share the roofing products’ characteristic for high thermal resistance. Packing more R-value into every inch of product allows architects to reduce the thickness of wall assemblies. This creates advantages for the installation process and also can reduce the cost of other components like fastener and attachment systems. Furthermore, polyiso products can also serve as air, moisture and weather barriers in wall assemblies.  

Whether you are designing roofs or walls, polyiso insulation products check all the boxes for fire and thermal performance and overall versatility.

The following resources provide additional information on polyiso insulation’s excellent fire performance:

Tags:  fire performance  insulation  polyiso  r-value  walls 

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The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act – Saving Small Businesses up to 30% on Energy Efficient Commercial Roof Retrofits

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Thursday, April 12, 2018

There has been a great deal of news coverage about the recent Tax Cut and Jobs Act. But as with all things related to the tax code, getting to what matters can be a long and arduous hunt. The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association made an assessment of the impacts this legislation will have on the building and roofing industries. It found that new reforms allow qualifying building owners to expense, or deduct, up to $1 million for the cost of certain building improvements in the year the work is performed, including adding insulation during roof replacement projects to meet or go beyond modern building energy code requirements. The impact can be significant for capital improvement projects. For example, a building owner that expenses the cost of a full roof replacement can reduce the net cost of the entire project by 25% to 30%. You can find our one-pager with more detail [here].

Tags:  buildings  energy codes  insulation  jobs  roofing  tax  taxreform 

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