Insulation manufacturers have devised numerous ways to improve the thermal performance of their products. Adding carbon or alumina particles to expanded polystyrene (EPS) increases infrared reflectance, and hence boosts R-value. For buildings that need heat stopped during the day and released at night, there are phase-change materials.
There are many different metal composite panel (MCP) assemblies with varying strengths. Traditionally, these claddings are simply fastened without insulation to the structural wall, through membrane water-resistive barriers (WRBs) and gypsum sheathing. However, some proprietary MCPs are fastened through continuous insulation (ci) to the structural wall. What advantages can this provide, not only with respect to thermal performance, but also durability and life safety?
Continuous insulation (ci) has been a component of exterior wall assemblies for almost a half-century in North America. By minimizing energy loss caused by thermal bridging and the risk of condensation caused by water vapor diffusion, exterior ci can improve building durability and benefit the environment. However, using rigid foam plastic comes with certain design considerations that must be reviewed early in the design process.
A material’s thermal mass denotes its ability to store heat within a cycle of time. K-values, generally calculated on a 24-hour cycle, are important because they give general references to a material’s capabilities for storing heat. All materials may be considered for use in a thermal mass calculation, but steel, aluminum, and other metal claddings tend to cycle too quickly, while wood tends to cycle too slowly to offer desirable design values.
The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will bring tremendous change to the way buildings are designed, constructed, and renovated. For example, the insulation requirements for masonry construction have been written to higher performance levels. The prescriptive energy code for the masonry industry is based primarily on the requirement for continuous insulation (ci) within the wall envelope. This becomes an issue when one looks at the standard concrete masonry unit.