Tag Archives: insulation

Specifying NFPA 285 Testing

By Joseph Berchenko AIA, CSI, CCS

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Flames can blast through windows to climb along exterior walls—a fact replicated by a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) test.
Photo © BigStockPhoto/Anne-Louise Quarfoth

For testing certain wall assemblies, the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) requires National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 285, Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-load-bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components. (That standard’s title notwithstanding, the test is performed on both load-bearing and non-load-bearing wall assemblies.) Its successful completion demonstrates the ability of an exterior wall mockup to contain vertical and horizontal flame spread across the face and through the wall’s core. Continue reading

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

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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

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 © www.energydetectivetn.com

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 © www.energydetectivetn.com

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