Smarter approaches to energy efficiency

New approaches to sealing up the building envelope

Pictures don’t lie, and anyone who has ever looked at a thermogram can tell you that there are some serious performance gaps in most residential and light commercial buildings. According to studies at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, it only takes 5 percent air infiltration to lower the effective R-value of an entire wall system by about 15 percent.

“What really drives energy loss is the inability of building elements to stop air leakage and air infiltration,” says Tony Camarota of Advanced Materials & Composites Research Group. “We have developed an insulation that is very flexible with very high density, because density is the key to stopping air infiltration.”

The product, dubbed ATI (Advanced Thermal Insulation), is supplied in 25 foot flexible rolls that are 30” wide by 1” thick. It’s made from 100 percent recycled fiberglass, and it contains no hazardous substances such as VOCs or formaldehyde. “Because we use uniform long fibers you don’t get that scratchy feel that everyone relates to about fiberglass batts,” said Camarota. “The fibers are 9 microns and basically non-respirable, so people don’t have to worry about inhaling the fibers. The applicator will find it much easier to work with.”

A single layer of ATI provides an R-value of 5.0, which means you can achieve R-20 in a 4” deep cavity. Camarota advises that it also can be applied outside the sheathing to help eliminate thermal bridging, both in new construction and as older structures are being retrofitted for higher energy efficiency. And the material can be compressed without loss of R-value, so it can also be mounted between the studs and the interior drywall.

Camarota contends that compressibility gives ATI a key advantage for use in tight spaces around electrical conduit, water pipes, and the like. “It will go under the sole plate, under the joist, around the penetrations, without losing its R-value,” he said. “ATI is not affected by compression. It has been tested at 1,500 pounds per square foot and our thermal values are the same when compressed as they are when they are non-compressed.”

Other commonly used solutions are not as effective, he claims. Stuffing conventional fiberglass batts may stop the air infiltration but it loses its R-value when compressed. Spray-in foam insulation that contains VOCs or isocyanates will outgas, and as that happens the product can shrink, resulting in air infiltration.

The total installed cost of using ATI in the interior wall cavities is projected to come in slightly under the price of spray in polyurethane foam. At present, AMCRG is supplying the product through 2-step distribution. Because of its high level of recycled content, it may contribute to LEED or NAHB-Green certification.

Get More Info! • 248-535-9576

Borax-treated recycled cellulose insulation
Applegate Bora-Spray is a high-borate, sulfate-free insulation designed for damp blow-in installation in attics and side-wall cavities. It provides an R-value of 3.8 per inch plus accoustic dampening, while meeting CPSC standards for flame resistance and corrosiveness. It is manufactured from 85% recycled paper materials and also includes a dry adhesive, natural dust inhibiting additives, and fire retardants.
The product is part of the ENERGY STAR home sealing program and qualifies for credit under the LEED-H and NAHB-Green certification systems.
Get More Info! • 800-627-7536

Soy-based spray foam sealer
Fomo Products’ new ‘eco foam’ line consists of Handi-Foam, a one-component spray polyurethane foam designed to fill gaps and penetrations around wires, plumbing, and electrical boxes; and Handi-Seal, a one-component spray foam designed specifically to seal rough openings around windows and doors. Each pound of soy-based polyol used in these products replaces one pound of petroleum based polyols, and results in a 5.6 pound CO2 benefit to the atmosphere.
According to Fomo, the products’ Dry Seal Technology™ is the only patented window and door technology designed to prevent moisture and mold problems by repelling water, unlike open cell formulas that trap and absorb water. This technology decreases the risk of mold development within the structure.
Get More Info! • 330-753-4585


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