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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.


PACE Spurs Building Upgrades for Energy Savings

Now there's financing available to cut energy waste in buildings of all types and sizes.

PACE, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a simple and effective mechanism for financing energy-efficiency retrofits and renewable energy upgrades that might not otherwise be affordable for commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural buildings. PACE financing overcomes the upfront cost barrier these upgrades can pose by providing 100% of the financing for such projects.

The financing is paid back via property tax assessments that can stretch as long as 20 years. In most instances, the related energy savings more than pay for the assessment. Through the use of innovative PACE funding, new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, insulation, solar and lighting improvements can be immediately rendered cash flow positive.

PACE funding has soared, as owners recognize the opportunity to increase their bottom line by reducing energy costs, to enhance the value of their property and do their part to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Since three quarters of the electricity generated in America is used to heat, cool, illuminate, and otherwise operate buildings, it’s not surprising that Scientific American magazine named PACE one of 20 “world changing” ideas.

http://https://youtu.be/R3Ota3uvM1E


Can Green Buildings Make Us Smarter?

Green is good -- outside or inside an occupied building.

A recent study published by Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) suggests that Green Buildings create optimized conditions for health and productivity. In a series of experiments, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors for both “green” and “conventional” buildings were simulated in a controlled environment that included office workers, and the researchers measured variables such as carbon dioxide variation, ventilation and exposure to volatile organic compounds in the building atmosphere.

The results? On average, cognitive scores for the two groups of workers were 61% higher for those working in a building with green features than with conventional construction.  In other words, green building can potentially deliver a smarter workforce.


New Boys and Girls Club Showcases Sto EIFS

EIFS projects

The newly-completed Boys & Girls Club is a handsome new community asset in Hobbs, New Mexico.

The recently completed Boys & Girls Club of America in Hobbs, New Mexico was built with a continuous insulation system that combines energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. The attractive 28,000-square-foot project is a study in green technology thanks to the use of StoTherm ci Essence, a water-drainage system that includes an air and moisture barrier beneath it.

The full system consists of six components: air and moisture barrier, adhesive, continuous insulation, reinforcing mesh, base coat and finish coat. The project was recently featured as an “EIFS in the Spotlight” posted by the EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA), demonstrating that even community-based non-profits can benefit from a quality exterior insulation and finish system!

Here’s a cool video that provides a virtual tour of the design for the new Club.