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.

Cladding Confusion: EIFS Versus Stucco

Stucco or EIFS? The continuous insulation on this Hilton Suites answers the question.

As popular building materials, Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) and stucco often appear similar — if not the same. However, EIFS and stucco couldn’t be more different. Stucco, dating back to the Greeks and Romans, is composed of Portland cement, sand and water. EIFS, a lightweight cladding system, is comprised of a polystyrene insulation board secured to the exterior wall with an adhesive or mechanical fasteners, then reinforced with an acrylic plaster and fiberglass mesh on top, and finished with an acrylic and polymer coat that is both colorfast and crack-resistant. Some of the most notable differences between the two can be detected in energy and thermal efficiency. Unlike stucco, EIFS serves as a continuous insulation system with no thermal bridging due to fasteners, which helps reduce building operation costs as well as air infiltration. EIFS also has the ability to achieve infinite design options with its wide array of aesthetic choices. EIFS can can look like nearly any material on the market; something stucco cannot achieve.

FAQs: Exterior Insulation and Finishing System (EIFS)

EIFS, continuous insulation

The Shops at 5th and Alton in Miami Beach, Florida show the commercial design potential of today's continuous insulation systems.

In the U.S., the International Building Code and ASTM International define Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) as a non-load-bearing, exterior wall cladding system that consists of the following: an insulation board attached either adhesively or mechanically, or both, to the substrate; an integrally reinforced base coat; and a textured protective finish coat. Prior to 2000, EIFS were barrier systems, meaning that the EIFS itself was the weather barrier. After 2000 the EIFS industry introduced the air/moisture barrier that resides behind the foam. Today, EIFS is one of the most tested claddings in the construction industry. Research conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and supported by the Department of Energy, has validated that EIFS is the “best performing cladding” in relation to thermal and moisture control when compared to brick, stucco, and fiber cement siding. In addition EIFS is in full compliance with modern building codes, which emphasize energy conservation through the use of ci (continuous insulation) and a continuous air barrier. Their growing popularity is related to the desire for energy efficiency combined with design flexibility.