Plastic foams for thermal insulation have been available for more than 70 years. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) was introduced in 1943, followed by expanded polystyrene (EPS) in 1950, and polyisocyanurate (polyiso) in 1954.
Many designers and specifiers understand controlling air, vapor, and thermal transfer helps mitigate moisture problems within the building envelope. Moisture accumulation is a performance adversary that can lead to structural deterioration, finish damage, organic growth, and reduced building longevity.
Designers are creating new and exciting contemporary masonry designs that demand clean, smooth wall plane elevations. One challenge that can interfere with unobstructed aesthetics is the visual effects of masonry drip-edge flashing. This potential obstacle has also carried through to traditional masonry design. Designers and specifiers can find it difficult to balance design and functional water management requirements.
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.
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.
Modern curtain wall systems require structural supports as strong as they are versatile to keep pace with today’s increasingly large free spans, challenging angles, and sophisticated glass-clad aesthetics. While steel curtain wall frames have long met strength criteria, they have only recently provided the necessary design flexibility.