New Energy Saving Calculator for Airtight Building Design

Lido Beach Towers in Long Island,
N.Y., a condominium community, used air moisture barriers in a resilient design retrofit that resulted
in energy savings of up to 33 percent as
well as enhanced structural protection.

Lido Beach Towers in Long Island, N.Y., a condominium community, used air moisture barriers in a resilient design retrofit that resulted in energy savings of up to 33 percent as well as enhanced structural protection.

The Air Barrier Association of America (ABBA), in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) and the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) have developed a web based energy saving calculator for building airtightness. This valuable new resource will help the building industry quantify energy savings based on the use of air barriers that increase the airtightness of buildings.

We all know that uncontrolled heat, air, and moisture transfer through a building envelope has a significant impact on energy usage. A comprehensive strategy for concurrently regulating these factors can have a major impact on reducing energy consumption. Air moisture barriers (AMBs) have proven to be effective and economic but now these benefits can be better calculated in advance.

The hope is that there will be wider adoption of air barrier systems in building design thanks to this simple and credible tool that can be employed by architects, designers, and owners to accurately estimate anticipated energy savings if an air barrier system is added to the design. This new energy saving calculator is based on the best science available, it’s easy to use, available to everyone, and best of all – it’s free.


Using Design to Address Sea-Level Rise

The architectural, engineering and construction industries are looking at ways to mitigate sea level rise and climate change in coastal communities.

The architectural, engineering and construction industries are looking at ways to mitigate sea level rise and climate change in coastal communities.

People love being near the water — beach front homes, offices on the Bayfront, cultural and entertainment centers on an ocean or lakeside. The water’s edge is always alluring. In fact, 40% of today’s U.S. population lives on or near the water

Unfortunately, as recent climate-change experts point out, nature seems to have other ideas. What is now perched on the water in many areas, will likely be under water in the foreseeable future.

Even if carbon emission targets and other benchmarks set at the historic Paris Agreement in 2015 are met, sea levels will likely rise 20 inches by 2100. If we continue emitting greenhouse gases, it is more likely to be a 29-inch rise. And, according to a January, 2017 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, some US coastal areas, will experience as much as a 6-foot rise in sea levels by 2100.

If unaddressed, this phenomenon poses an unprecedented human and economic threat. Already, current sea level rise has contributed to more damage in extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy, causing massive flooding and infrastructure damage.

Mitigating the Effects of Sea Level Rise

While government and community agencies are now addressing sea level rise issues in coastal areas with plans for levies and sea walls and other means of circumventing water rise, the architectural and engineering community has begun to seriously develop strategies and tactics as well.

Fighting sea level rise from a design perspective boils down to either keeping the water out or designing around it.  Preserving views and water access and maintaining aesthetically pleasing design however can be challenging under the circumstances.

For new and/or existing buildings, resilient design is critical. Using materials that protect buildings from wind and water damage, even elevating buildings above water are certainly valid strategies for addressing sea level rise, but what about entire streets or neighborhoods that are submerged?

As Construction Dive points out, architects, engineers and contractors need to understand the issues and be on the forefront of advocating for design that anticipates and counters potential rising waters on our coasts.


Tallest Tower West of Chicago Topped Off in San Francisco

The 1,070-foot-tall, $1.1 billion Salesforce Tower in San Francisco will be the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago.

The 1,070-foot-tall, $1.1 billion Salesforce Tower in San Francisco will be the tallest skyscraper west of Chicago.

The 1,070-foot-tall, $1.1 billion Salesforce Tower was topped off in San Francisco last month making it the tallest skyscraper in the West, eclipsing the city’s Transamerica Pyramid. It also tops the charts as the most expensive building ever constructed in this City-by-the-Bay “with little cable cars climbing halfway to the stars…”Salesforce, the enterprise giant, will pay close to $560 million over 15 years for the naming rights in this landmark  real estate transaction.

The 62-story, 1.4-million-square-foot building, includes access to the new Transbay Transit Center which will connect 8 Bay Area counties through 11 transit systems. The tower features 13-foot-high ceilings, 10-foot glass panels and metal sun shades at each floor to help regulate the building’s temperature and lighting. Builders are aiming for LEED Platinum certification with sustainable features that include high-efficiency air handlers for increased natural ventilation, under-floor air distribution, and a sophisticated water recycling system.   salesforce-and-its-billionaire-ceo-marc-benioff-are-riding-high-these-days-1

So far, the skyscraper is 70% leased; Salesforce has taken the bottom 30 and top two floors; Bain & Company and Accenture are other tenants. The estimated completion date is late 2017. The signature project was developed by Boston Properties and Hines and is being managed by Clark Construction; the architects are Pelli Clarke Pelli.


Today’s Building Codes Call For Advanced Air & Moisture Barriers

Building codes today demand high-caliber, hi-tech  air & moisture barrier systems that are versatile and trustworthy.

Building codes today demand high-caliber, hi-tech air & moisture barrier systems that are versatile and trustworthy.

As building codes become more complex in their requirements for protection against moisture damage and unwanted air movement, contractors need systems that are quick and easy to install while still providing excellent performance over a building’s lifetime. Air and moisture barrier systems (AMBs) can offer seamless protection for entire wall assemblies, regardless of region or climate.

One such new and improved product is StoGuard® VaporSeal™. A high-build, vapor permeable, fluid-applied membrane, it is used to provide backup protection for porous cladding materials. It also protects joints and rough openings behind all types of claddings, and provides an air barrier beneath continuous insulation to meet prevailing energy codes.

The reformulated product offers the following:

  • A Class I Vapor Barrier (retarder) with high build at 40 mils DFT(dry film thickness)
  • A water-vapor permeance less than 0.1 perm
  • Easy and fast application with airless spray equipment up to 80 mils WFT (wet film thickness); it can also be roller-applied
  • Elongation greater than 500%
  • Enhanced low-temperature crack-bridging

VaporSeal is NFPA 285 compliant and resists mold growth. It boasts a water-based, low-VOC formulation that is environmentally friendly and easy to clean up. Designed for application over CMU and sheathing, it can also be used under claddings such as metal panels, cement board, vinyl, wood, brick and stone.

Research has shown that controlling moisture and air leakage through the building envelope is critical to achieving high building energy efficiency. Unlike building wrap barriers that are penetrated by staples and fasteners used for their attachment, so-called seamless systems utilizing products such as StoGuard® VaporSeal™, better control air and moisture to improve building performance and occupant comfort.


America’s Renaissance in Public Architecture

Public Safety Answering Center II, Bronx, New York.
Photo: Albert Vecerka / Courtesy of SOM Architects

Public Safety Answering Center II, Bronx, New York. Photo: Albert Vecerka / Courtesy of SOM Architects

One of the keynote addresses at the AIA Conference in Orlando this week is  “Anticipate Need: Architecture that Matters,” which focuses on the renowned architects who are creating iconic buildings that shape and serve a given community. The topic of designing exemplary public buildings is also trending in Architectural Digest right now.

In urban settings, municipal buildings often fail to live up to the high-minded ideals of their related institutions. Though these structures may be dedicated to justice, education, sanitation, or public safety, their designs usually reflect budget constraints and bureaucratic compromise more often than they do civic virtue.

In recent years, however, top architects have taken on modest municipal projects in the metropolitan New York area to apply their considerable talents to everything from police and fire stations to neighborhood libraries, sanitation garages, and recycling plants.

In Long Island City, Queens, NY, Steven Holl’s Hunters Point Community Library is likely to become the waterfront’s third landmark when it opens this summer, joining the local Pepsi-Cola sign and ferry gantries in drawing public attention. In the South Bronx, Denmark’s Bjarke Ingels Group is designing NYPD’s 40th police precinct headquarters—the second outer-borough police station done by a big-name architect. The Chicago-based Studio Gang is designing a firehouse in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and a proposed 911 call center in the Bronx will be the work of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM).

Such projects, though scattered and few, suggest that civic architecture, largely neglected since the urban flight of the 1960s and ’70s, is having a renaissance. Architectural pundits suggest that public projects such as these are important because they communicate an imaginative aesthetic to a large audience, allowing architects to adhere to their Hippocratic oath to improve the built environment, and to bring synthesis and integration into what could be a haphazard or bland urban infrastructure. Civic commissions are invariably modest compared to those for a luxury, high-rise condo or a corporate headquarters, but the municipal sites have a unique appeal in that they offer architects an opportunity to reach the public-at-large in a different and significant way. Such projects make the subtle case that public institutions serving the community still matter.


How to Meet Today’s Building Codes with the Right Continuous Insulation

A cutaway drawing of the protective layers of StoTherm ci XPS insulation with  an exterior Lotusan coating.

A cutaway drawing of the protective layers of StoTherm ci XPS insulation with an exterior Lotusan coating.

Many of today’s building designers and owners find themselves contending with the need for an advanced insulated wall cladding that meets the country’s increasingly rigorous IBC building codes such as Title 24, IBC, IECC and ASHRAE 90.1. What they want is efficiency, durability and a flexible range of exterior appearances. Sto’s answer? StoTherm® ci XPS continuous insulation.

StoTherm ci XPS is an integrated, continuous-insulation wall system that is air & moisture-controlled, thermally-efficient and highly durable. It helps cut energy costs, reduces maintenance expenses by extending the building life cycle and adds value by offering designers a variety of aesthetic options thanks to a wide range of decorative and protective finishes available in virtually unlimited colors. It checks all the boxes on today’s exterior specifications requirements list.

You’ll find more specification information on both ARCOM Masterspec Section 072419: Water-Drainage Exterior Insulation and Finish System (StoTherm ci Wall Systems – EIFS) and BSD Speclink-E Section 072400: Exterior Insulation and Finishing System (StoTherm ci systems).

The newly-renovated Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati incorporated StoTherm ci XPS in several of the wall structures.

The newly-renovated Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati incorporated StoTherm ci XPS in several of the wall structures.

StoTherm ci XPS is a highly energy-efficient system thanks to the combination of a fluid-applied StoGuard air & moisture barrier and extruded polystyrene insulation with installation-friendly components that eliminate heat-dissipating thermal bridging from mechanical fasteners and minimizes heating and cooling costs. It requires only one trade to install the entire system, which both cuts the time to build and lowers overall construction costs. And its low allowable deflection value of L/240 compared to L/360 for stucco and L/620 for brick facilitates lightweight construction and produces a lower cost per square foot.

This makes the StoTherm ci XPS system an ideal alternative to stucco and brick systems. Why? Faster, easier installation; high durability with a maintenance-friendly exterior finish that looks great and lasts. The economics are favorable, too; XPS material costs are typically lower than insulated stucco, brick or metal panel.

StoTherm ci XPS is part of StoCorp’s range of continuous insulation systems including EIFS, Stucco, Cement board stucco and Sto Panel (prefabricated) wall systems. The latest news is that the company is now partnered with two of the insulation industry’s leading vendors, Owens Corning and Dow as suppliers for a key component of the StoTherm ci XPS system. This now means that Sto customers will have two options when choosing the durable, high-R-value rigid foam insulation that resists water absorption and significantly contributes to the Sto ci wall.

This development makes it even more apparent that today’s StoTherm ci XPS is a true problem-solver. The news for architects and contractors is that the product now deserves a second look.


Brazilian Museum of Tomorrow Wins Innovative Green Building Award

The Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, recently won the MIPIM award for “Best Innovative Green Building”. PHOTO: © Sérgio Huoliver 2015

The Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, recently won the MIPIM award for “Best Innovative Green Building”. PHOTO: © Sérgio Huoliver 2015

The Rio de Janeiro Museum of Tomorrow, designed by architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, recently won the MIPIM award for “Best Innovative Green Building”. The stunning structure was recognized for its sustainable building design and architecture, as well as its “commitment to creating a better future”.  Since the museum opened in 2015 for the Brazilian Olympics, it has become a symbol of urban recovery in the Puerto Maravilha neighborhood in Rio, providing the area with new infrastructure and transforming the neighborhood into an attractive destination.

The building’s innovative and sustainable features include solar panels that move with the sun to maximize energy absorption, the collection of reusable rainwater, and an air conditioning system that uses water funneled from Guanabara Bay. This water is filtered, cleaned and returned to the Bay through a small waterfall. Water conservation efforts alone have saved an estimated 9.6 million liters of water and 2,400 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year ­– enough to supply over 1,200 homes. It is the first museum in Brazil to receive LEED Gold certification.

Designed to be a place where science and technology meet art and culture, the Museum of Tomorrow attracted 1.4 million visitors in its first year of operation, far exceeding expectations.

MIPIM (Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’Immobilier) is an international real estate conference and exhibition in Cannes, France every March, bringing together real estate professionals, property investors, architects and other industry leaders. The award is part of an international competition that MIPIM sponsors.