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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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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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Advantages of High-Density Polyiso Cover Boards Compared to Other Options

Posted By Nathan Pobre, Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 6, 2017

High-Density Polyiso cover boards are an important component in roof systems, providing a substrate for roofing membranes and protection for underlying insulation. When compared to other options, High-Density Polyiso cover boards offer many advantages:

  • Can be shipped with approximately three times more square feet per truck load;
  • Are significantly lighter than alternatives of the same thickness;
  • Require less crane time and are easier to maneuver around the roof which can decrease the hoisting, loading and staging costs;
  • Are virtually dust-free during the cutting process, eliminating itchy residue;
  • Can be cut without specialized tools; and
  • Can be lifted by a single worker.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  insulation  Polyiso 

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Plastics Are Critical To Creating a Sustainable Built Environment

Posted By Alex Wellman, Friday, February 5, 2016
Updated: Thursday, February 11, 2016

Last week at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), which bills itself as the trade association for the plastics industry, announced a new report titled Plastics Market Watch: Building and Construction. The report is the fourth in a series from SPI that looks at the consumer uses of plastics, of which the construction industry is the second largest behind only packaging materials.

Speaking to industry publication Plastics Technology, SPI President and CEO William Carteaux said,

“From floors to roofs, inside and outside of walls, plastics are a go-to product on construction sites, innovation in the plastics industry to improve and diversify products is matched by the building and construction sector’s pace to find, and use, new solutions to address fundamental issues like structural integrity, energy savings, recycling, and cost saving.”

The report highlights the many applications of plastic based materials in construction including insulation, roofing, plumbing, wall coverings, windows, composite lumber, house wrap, and many more. In the section discussing insulation, the report says, “whether its spray polyurethane foam (SPF) in the attic or rigid foam polyiso board in the walls, polyurethane based systems offer durability, energy savings and moisture control. When used for retrofit, situations they also help reduce the amount of building waste sent to landfills. In walls, behind walls and under floors, the use of polystyrene foams can provide significant energy efficiency.”

SPI is not the only one extolling the benefits of plastic building materials to improve the comfort and efficiency of the built environment. Last year, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) built an energy efficient tiny house as part of its Plastics Make it Possible campaign. The tiny house was built almost exclusively using plastic materials including vinyl windows, solar shingles, and polyiso insulation in the walls. Discussing the use of polyiso in the tiny hose, ACC said “this stiff plastic foam board (polyiso) was applied to the outside of the tiny house walls (under the siding) to help prevent untreated air from even touching the wall materials/framing. Rmax’s Thermasheath-3 insulates the house and can reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling.”

Despite the obvious energy efficient and green benefits of plastic based materials, not everyone is on board with their expanded market share.  Some in the green building industry feel the petrochemical nature of plastic materials automatically lends them dubious environmental qualities. While there are concerns with the recyclability and disposal of plastic building materials, overall they have contributed a net positive benefit to the goal of making our homes and businesses more efficient and sustainable.  In fact, the environmental benefits of Polyiso have been well documented in PIMA’s Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) published last year.  According to the EPD,“the energy savings potential of polyiso roof and wall insulation over a typical 60-year building life span is equal to up to 47 times the initial energy required to produce, transport, install, maintain, and eventually remove and dispose of the insulation.”

It is obvious that we are only on the cusp of what is possible to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly built environment and to achieve this goal, architects and specifiers will need to use both plastic and traditional construction materials to design high performance buildings. 

Tags:  Efficiency  EPD  Plastics  Polyiso  SPI 

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Passive House Design for Multi Family Housing

Posted By Alex Wellman, Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Passive House design, a growing trend in the building world, seeks to achieve high levels of energy efficiency through design choices such as super insulation, solar exposure planning and natural ventilation. The first passive house concept was developed at the University of Lund in Sweden in 1988. Now, there are estimated 40,000 – 50,000 passive homes around the world, with the first one being built in the United States in 2003.

Although the return on investment for a passive home has been well documented, the increased costs associated with its design and construction has raised the barriers to entry. This means that most passive house buildings have mainly been single family homes built in affluent areas.

The tide is changing however as several multifamily passive house buildings have been built or are in the planning stages around the United States. One example is the recently completed Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Commons project in Washington, D.C. which according to the developers is the first time that Passive House criteria has been used to retrofit a multifamily building in the United States. This 36 unit housing development is intended for low income and homeless families.

At the recent ribbon cutting for Weinberg Commons a new resident spoke, saying:

“Before I was at Weinberg, I was staying with family and friends, and bouncing from hotel to hotel. At the time, I was finishing a job training program, starting a new job, and trying to raise my son. The added stress of staying with a lot of people and not knowing where I was going to stay was overwhelming and depressing. When I found out I was approved for Weinberg, I was overcome with an incredible feeling. It felt as though I had been holding my breath for years, and I now I could finally breathe. Now that I have a safe and secure home at Weinberg Commons, I can focus all my strength and energy on taking care of my son and furthering my education so that I can find a job in which I can help and inspire others. I would like to thank the Transitional Housing Corporation and Inner City Family Services for all their support.”

After rent or a mortgage, utility costs can be some of the largest expenses faced by a family. Passive House design allows people to redirect the money saved on utilities to other things such as education, food and family enrichment. The Weinberg Commons project, sponsored in part by PIMA and its members companies, is the first of its kind in Washington, D.C. and was awarded the First Annual Maryland Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Real Estate Awards by the University of Maryland’s Colvin Real Estate Institute.

A similar project recently completed in Philadelphia, the Belfield Avenue Townhomes, is another example of Passive House design being incorporated into a multi family, low and moderate income housing complex. According to an article published by Dwell, “like most Passive Houses, Belfield Avenue incorporates supercharged wall insulation (in this case, nearly eight inches of densely packed cellulose and Polyiso, a type of rigid foam board), triple-pane windows, and an energy-recovery ventilator, which draws fresh air into the house while expelling kitchen and bathroom exhaust.”

According to the U.S. based Passive House Institute, of the 121 passive homes in the United States that they have certified, 100 are private, single family residences. It’s encouraging to see this innovative design technique being used more and more in multifamily construction, especially in projects aimed at low income residents. When people can save money on energy costs, they have more to spend on other things that can greatly improve the quality of their lives. PIMA is proud to be a part of projects like the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Commons building in Washington, D.C. and will continue to support research for further applications of passive house and net zero energy design.

For more information on the Weinberg Commons project, please check out this press release from the Transitional Housing Corporation, this article from Passive to Positive, and this article from The Washington Post. A video discussing the project is also available on the THC website. 

Tags:  DC  Multifamily  Passive  Polyiso  Weinberg 

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New Study Shows 90% of Homes are Under Insulated

Posted By Alex Wellman, Thursday, October 15, 2015

According to a new study released by the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) roughly 90% of homes in the United States are under insulated. The study drew on numbers derived from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey and other research completed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Boston University. Speaking about the study, Dr. Jonathan Levy, professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, said; “If all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than 10 percent.”

According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling costs comprise more than 44 percent of the energy consumed in a single family home. Homes containing adequate levels of insulation help consumers achieve lower energy costs and reduce the amount of harmful carbon emissions created as a result of electricity generation.

While Polyiso foam insulation is the market leader for commercial roofing applications, it can also be used in residential wall applications. When properly specified and installed, Polyiso sheathing insulation offers one of the best values available for residential construction. Benefits include:

  • A residential wall system with a high R-value increases the energy efficiency of the home and significantly reduces heat loss.
  • A reduction in air infiltration and exfiltration, which increases the overall performance of the wall and reduces heat loss.
  • A reduction in the risk of water condensation/intrusion, which increases thermal and structural performance and reduces builder call backs.
  • Insulation over the entire framing members, known as a continuous insulation system, which reduces the overall home energy loss.
  • Increased confidence with an assurance the home builder is providing a quality product.
  • More confidence that your home was built with state-of-the-art energy-efficient techniques.

PIMA has also recently published a “Wall Insulation Knowledge Base” that includes dozens of technical bulletins and articles on topics such as code compliance and environmental performance regarding Polyiso insulation wall assemblies. The knowledge base can be accessed on the PIMA website here

Tags:  polyiso  residential  wall 

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