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Online calculator updated

National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA’s) EnergyWise Roof Calculator Online now includes 2012 International Energy Conservation Code

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(IECC) and International Green Construction Code (IgCC) information. The updated online tool also now includes the new minimum long-term thermal resistance (LTTR) values for polyisocyanurate insulation. The calculator allows users to enter specific roof assembly information including area, climate region, heating appliance type, roof openings, and materials. Then, a report is generated including the estimated heating and cooling costs and minimum thermal requirements. The tool can be accessed at

NIBS ebook released

The national standard for building information modelling (BIM) has been released on ebook by National Institute of Building

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Sciences (NIBS) buildingSMART alliance. The National BIM Standard–United States (NBIMS-US) Version 2 (V2) is the first consensus-based standard governing BIM in the United States. Originally released as an online standard, the mobile version will allow users to access the document anywhere. Links to reference supporting material are included throughout, and the standard covers the full lifecycle of the building and is arranged into reference standards, information exchange standards, and best practice guidelines. Visit for more information.

R-values: Controversy and performance values (cont’d)


Photo © BigStockPhoto/ Leung Cho Pan

The first article in this two-part series lays the groundwork for this discussion on R-values and their use as a metric for thermal insulation performance. Now, in this second part, the author examines the real-world use of it as a gauge for ensuring insulation products function as intended.1

When it was created, R-value was really the only useful tool in evaluating the effectiveness of the available building insulations, among other materials. After the R-value rule was instituted, the energy efficiency of buildings improved, as well as the nation’s energy conservation effort and the marketplace and technology for insulations. Today, though, most of the insulation industry knows better, and R-values may well be dismissed as meaningless numbers on an insulation package that help to better organize warehouses. Continue reading

EIFS: Then and now

Our September 2013 article on entrapped moisture touched on issues related to early iterations of exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS). It led to this letter to the editor from Scott Robinson, of the EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA).

While going through the September 2013 issue of The Construction Specifier, I read, “Claddings and Entrapped Moisture: Lessons Learned from Early EIFS,” by John Koester. As manager of public affairs with EIMA—a national non-profit technical trade association comprising EIFS manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and applicators—the article gave me pause. Continue reading

R-values: Controversy and performance values

by Ken Wells

Insulated floors, walls, and ceilings resulting in the highest percentage of air infiltration—which greatly affects R-value—it is imperative these areas have an accurate gauge of performance.  Image ©

Insulated floors, walls, and ceilings resulting in the highest percentage of air infiltration—which greatly affects R-value—it is imperative these areas have an accurate gauge of performance.
Image ©

What exactly is R-value? This question is not asked often enough in today’s environmentally conscious design/construction industry. However, an even better question may be, whether R-value is still a valid unit of measurement for the performance of insulation products. (And, if not, why is it being used as the predominate gauge to compare them.) To answer these questions, this two-part series discusses how R-value came to be and how it is used.1 Continue reading