Construction is underway on the Hilton Garden Inn, a 12-story high-rise on the University of Iowa campus. The team working on this 5110-m2 (55,000-sf) steel-framed hotel—including Cities Edge Architects and contractor Rushton Sheet Metal—has found a strong solution to the project’s variety of insulation-related challenges.
Increasing emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency has had a huge impact on the construction industry. Materials manufacturers scrambled to develop products that would allow builders to meet and exceed the new codes. At the same time, they harnessed that momentum and used it to create innovative solutions. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” was never more true than the situation in which the industry found itself during the mid-2000s, trying to figure out how to attach cladding to continuous insulation without using metal Z-grids. This need fueled studies to understand how to properly attach claddings through continuous insulation.
The roof assembly is an important aspect in achieving energy code compliance because it often accounts for a large portion of the building envelope. It becomes even more critical in single-story non-residential projects such as manufacturing plants, warehouses, distribution centers, retail stores, and offices.
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.
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.