Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Do You Know How to Properly Insulate a Building?

Little Diversified Architect Beth Buffington gives insight on choosing the best insulating system

With the wide variety of insulating materials and techniques on the market today, Beth Buffington, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Studio Principal for Community at Little Diversified Architectural Consulting in Arlington, Va., offers food for thought in the selection of the appropriate insulation.

She discusses the effect of local climate conditions as it relates to insulation-performance requirements, takes the reader inside the wall cavity and illustrates different exterior cladding options with post construction thermal images which reveal thermal breaks in insulation continuity.

Thermal image of Millennium Hall at CUA, a veneer
masonry building with EPS insulation in the cavity, shows
where heat can escape through penetrations in the wall cavity
Thermal image of precast concrete wall system at Opus Hall
at Catholic Univ. of America indicates that little heat is escaping.

The precast concrete walls at Opus Hall are composed of 4" of structural precast, 2 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation and 3 inches of veneer precast. The panels create edge-to-edge insulation with a Performance R-value of 26. The insulation is wrapped in a vapor barrier to prevent moisture transmission.

Click to read more about Opus Hall's well insulated high performance building design.

Click to read the entirety of Beth's article in the Fall 2011 Ascent magazine and discover how to improve building performance.

Ascent is published by The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.

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