Structural insulated panels help builders meet tough energy codes

Structural insulated panels help builders meet tough energy codes

Originally published in the Industry Trends section of Buildings Products Digest

industry trendsThe vast majority of builders in the U.S.  now face demanding energy codes.  As of May 2015, 39 states have adopted codes equivalent to or more energy efficient than the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  Those 39 states account for 89% of the country’s population, and include the top 5 most populous states- California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois.

As an LBM dealer, your builder customers are always looking for ways to meet the tough requirements of ever-stricter energy codes.  Among their challenges are how to better seal the building envelope against air leaks and provide continuous insulation.  California’s Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Program requirements, which are likely to find their way into other state codes int he coming years, specifically require:  “all joints, penetrations and other openings in the building envelope that are potential sources of air leakage shall be caulked, gasket, weatherstripped or others sealed to limit infiltration and exfiltration.”

The IECC likewise sets tough standards against air leakage.  As of the 2012 IECC, builders must demonstrate code compliance with a blower door test that achieves three to five air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of pressure (ACH-50), depending on the jurisdiction.

Energy codes focus on creating an airtight envelope as air leakage accounts for up to 40% of a home’s energy load according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Meeting these code requirements with traditional building methods like stick framing requires builders to undertake heroic measures to search out and seal all gaps using caulks, expanding foams, and other sealants.  Since homes, apartments, and other light construction have hundreds of interfaces between framing members, this is no small feat.

Continue reading in Buildings Products Digest on meeting code requirements airtight systems such as Structural Insulated Panels:  Airtight Building Envelope Made Simple, Outstanding Insulation Performance, What’s in it for Dealers.