Integrated wall retrofits: Solutions for existing masonry construction for commercial buildings

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Sixty percent of U.S. commercial buildings were constructed before 1980. Retrofitting them for energy efficiency is essential to achieve the Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office’s (BTO) goal of halving building energy use by 2030. Most existing buildings have masonry construction with uninsulated wall assemblies, which offer good potential for wall improvement strategies.

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Choosing fiberglass or stone wool for fire and acoustics

This blown-in-blanket fiberglass system was specifically designed for closed cavity applications. It fills all voids and gaps, significantly reducing unwanted noise.
Photos courtesy CertainTeed

Both fiberglass and stone wool insulation have merit, promote fire protection and sustainability, and offer value to architects, contractors, and property owners alike. This article’s intent is to present a scientific examination of the benefits of using each, in particular with respect to meeting fire and acoustic requirements and codes.

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Masonry wall systems and insulation


Today’s high-performance building market is driven by increasingly stringent energy codes and a growing demand for greater building efficiency, sustainability, and affordability—meaning specifying and building masonry cavity walls and adhered masonry walls with materials that work together as a functioning system is more critical than ever.

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Fluid-applied thermal break coatings 101


Architects designing with concrete balconies, cantilevered beams, roof penetrations, parapets, canopies, spandrel glass, and other ornamental architectural features are often limited in executing these design elements because they can create thermal bridges that extend beyond the insulation systems within the building envelope. This can cause condensation buildup in exterior systems and significant loss of energy performance for the whole building.

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