Even those best-designed, well-constructed buildings degrade if the appropriate exterior coating and finishes are not applied and maintained in a timely manner—this is especially true for demanding environments.
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.
When it comes to a leak-free building, the sealants are the backbone of the whole cladding system. Even the best exterior aluminum, masonry, glass, steel, or exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) are only as good as the sealants used to weatherproof the joints, penetrations, and transitions.
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.