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 and IBEE 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.


When it Comes to EIFS, Mesh Matters

Mesh is one of the most important components in an effective EIFS installation.

Mesh is one of the most important components in an effective EIFS installation.

We’re all familiar with the power that comes from teamwork, including the teamwork involved in constructing buildings. Whether its design, systems, skilled labor or the products used in construction – all the pieces need to fit together to form a cohesive structure.  Like all teams, there is always a member that helps strengthen the group and allows contributors to perform better. For EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) that critical impact player, providing additional team support, comes in the form of reinforcing mesh.

EIFS are typically made up of several different layers, and reinforcing mesh is one of the strongest components enhancing the performance, durability and aesthetics of the system. Mesh works a bit like a bulletproof vest:  the network of fibers in the vest works together to redistribute and absorb the impact of a bullet. Mesh helps redistribute stresses on a wall surface more evenly, thus providing additional strength.

Mesh forms the center of the EIFS defense in a fire or a Category 5 hurricane, assuming it is mesh that has passed a barrage of third-party EIFS testing — from NFPA 285 (fire performance testing) to Miami-Dade County Hurricane testing. It is incumbent on EIFS manufacturers to test and qualify all components of their systems to ensure the safety compliance and performance resilience of a building. And it’s just as important for EIFS installers to be a part of the team, to only use tested,  proven mesh products and to follow instructions for proper installation of the mesh.


A Useful Primer on Construction Drones

Construction drones are one of the biggest trends in the industry today and now there's a primer that makes this new technology more accessible.

Construction drones are one of the biggest trends in the industry today and now there's a primer that makes this new technology more accessible.

Not that you haven’t already heard a lot about drones, on this blog site as well as elsewhere, but Construction Dive just published a handy comprehensive primer on the use of drones in the construction industry. Their series of articles covers all the critical issues that can mitigate the fear of flying: from getting licensed to analyzing aerial imagery data. It also addresses top trends influencing drone use on the jobsite and tips from drone pros on running a drone business. The FAA regulations and new rules that are impacting UAV use in construction are also covered to insure contractors have a smooth take-off and landing with their new aerial robots.

The FAA expects commercial drone usage to expand 10-fold in the next 5 years, so it behooves leaders in the construction industry to stay on the cutting edge of this new technology trend.


Green Building Trends in Interior Office Design

The right interior office design can have a positive impact on employee attitude and productivity.

The right interior office design can have a positive impact on employee attitude and productivity.

Even though office workers spend a large proportion of their time indoors, companies don’t always place a high priority on the design and interior features of their work space. Lobbies and meeting rooms typically get the most attention because they are used to impress clients or customers, while the more functional workspaces may be ignored.

As a result, research has shown that office workers’ productivity can be impacted; some environment’s are so poor, it’s estimated that workers only spend three days out of five actually working. A dull, poorly lit, uncomfortable work space can lead to lack of focus, even depression, that is not conducive to productivity. The right office space design can have positive benefits on health and performance so here are some office design trends to consider for the year, as forecast by Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation at Ambius.

  • A splash of color can be an inexpensive way to brighten up an office space and can stimulate creativity and productivity; color experts claim shades of green are “the color” for 2017.
  • Office plants can increase productivity by 15 percent, which may be another benefit of the color green! Air plants and succulents are trending for office use right now as they are robust and long-lasting.
  • Adoption of the WELL Building Standard: a certification to support the health and well-being of employees based on air, light, and comfort is driving workspace design that is more compatible with long hours behind a desk.
  • Flexible design. While not a new concept for enhancing working environments, is gaining in popularity — with modular soft seating, desk pods, meet-point tables and breakout furniture.
  • Since 75% of all emotion is triggered by scent/smell; fragrant environments can not only provide a powerful customer experience but also make staff more productive. Or so they say!

How is your work space looking,feeling  and smelling these days?!?


Minimalist Architecture Celebrated in Stunning Photos

Patryk Kuleta's photograph of  Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum was selected as one of the top photographs of minimalist architecture.

Patryk Kuleta's photograph of Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum was selected as one of the top photographs of minimalist architecture.

As we have noted in previous posts, architectural photography is an art.  Taking photographs of buildings is much more than point-and-click. Isolating a sunlit corner of a building, or the particular way a wall curves, or revealing its surprising geometries creates new ways of looking and appreciating the built environment.

EyeEm (a photography resource) and We And The Color (a design blog) sponsored a competition for photos that capture the beauty of minimalism in architecture. A week and 45,000 submissions later, 20 winners were selected, handpicked by German photographer Matthias Heiderich, including a shot of Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum in Italy, which won second place.


Spectacular Apple Campus Opening in April

Futuristic Apple campus in Cupertino, CA to open in April.

Futuristic Apple campus in Cupertino, CA to open in April.

Apple has announced that its new “space ship” headquarters in Cupertino, California – Apple Park — will be ready for occupancy in mid-April. Designed by London’s Foster + Partners, the jaw-dropping corporate headquarters will one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world with breakthrough, hi-tech interior design elements.

The campus’ ring-shaped, 2.8 million-square-foot main building is clad in the world’s largest panels of curved glass. It will run entirely on renewable energy, and boasts one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world.

The campus, which is set on 175 acres of manicured greenspace, will include a theater named for co-founder Steve Jobs and a visitor center with an Apple Store and cafe that will be open to the public. Envisioned by Steve Jobs as a center for creativity and collaboration, the project has transformed miles of asphalt sprawl into a haven of green space in the heart of the Santa Clara Valley.