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  • Remove facet 07 00 00: Thermal and Moisture Protection
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The energy efficiency of the building envelope is critical to the overall energy efficiency of a building—especially in homes and smaller commercial buildings, in which heating and cooling loads come primarily from heat loss or gain through the skin.

Energy efficiency is also linked closely with moisture management. As we reduce the amount of heat and air moving through the building envelope we reduce the ability for the envelope to dry out after getting wet. Our choices of materials—insulation, cladding, vapor retarders, flashing—are important, but even more critical in terms of overall performance is how all those materials are combined into a high-performing assembly.

Insulation products

Some insulation products do a better job than others at blocking air leakage, while others are less expensive or easier to install without specialized equipment. Insulation products come in many forms, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. How well the insulation does the job of slowing heat transfer is the critical variable (commonly known as R-value), but what it’s made of and how those ingredients affect the environment are important as well.

Cladding options

Cladding options vary widely, offering a range of environmental and functional performance choices. The best systems are mounted as part of a rain screen assembly, in which an air space is behind the cladding helps protect the wall assembly from rain penetration.

Roofing (sloped and low-slope, including green roofs)

Roofing choices are generally divided into those intended for low-slope roofs, and those designed to go on pitched roofs, although there is some overlap between the two.

In addition to shedding water and withstanding the attack of ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, roofing might be called upon to allow foot traffic (for maintenance of equipment), to reflect heat, and even to generate power. Rainwater collecting on roof surfaces might also be stored, typically only for irrigation or toilet flushing. All these functions affect the optimal choice of roofing material.

Water running off of roofs is a major source of stormwater, which can cause erosion and flooding, so cisterns that can store runoff or vegetated roof systems that hold some water and delay the flow of runoff offer important benefits in densely populated areas.

Foundation waterproofing

Below-grade water is also a significant source of moisture problems in buildings, and a combination of good drainage around the foundation and effective waterproofing on walls below grade are important to keep that moisture out. Tar is commonly used for that purpose, but it’s better to use products that don’t release toxic chemicals to the air or water.

Joint sealants

Any weather barrier is only as good as its weakest link, and that weak link is often at the joints. Joint sealants have to keep water out while allowing for expansion and contraction of the surrounding materials.

The energy efficiency of the building envelope is critical to the overall energy efficiency of a building—especially in homes and smaller commercial buildings, in which heating and cooling loads come primarily from heat loss or gain through the skin.

  • Siga Air Barrier Tapes
  • Siga Air Barrier Tapes
  • Small Planet Workshop
  • Siga Air Barrier Tapes
    Small Planet Workshop
    Small Planet Workshop imports and distributes Siga air barrier tapes. Siga offers single- and double-sided tapes that range in width from 20–170 mm, and that are designed for use on the exterior and interior of wall assemblies. Pre-folded tapes are available for use in corners. Siga tapes adhere to many substrates, although Siga recommends the use of its Dockskin primer in some cases. Siga tapes contain no solvents, plasticizers, or VOCs. According to Small Planet Workshop, it is not uncommon for Siga tapes to last more than 20 years, and they have a strong reputation for durability, although GreenSpec hasn't seen hard data to support this.
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  • Ardicoat Plus Cement Waterproofing
  • Ardicoat Plus Cement Waterproofing
  • ARDEX Americas
  • Ardicoat Plus Cement Waterproofing
    ARDEX Americas
    Ardex Ardicoat Plus uses fine portland cement powder and liquid acrylic to form a waterproof coating. Ardicoat Plus is typically used on balcony restoration, on the top side of weathered slabs, and for waterproofing foundations in place of asphaltic damproofing and bitumens, and is appropriate for commercial or residential applications. The emulsion is fiber-reinforced, but the company recommends using propylene mesh during installation for added reinforcement and to make sure the coating is applied at the proper thickness. Ardicoat Plus is available in a kit, with 25 pounds of the powder and 2.3 gallons of the liquid included.
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  • Pro Clima Air Barrier Tapes
  • Pro Clima Air Barrier Tapes
  • Four Seven Five
  • Pro Clima Air Barrier Tapes
    Four Seven Five
    Distributed in the U.S. by Four Seven Five, Pro Clima offers a full line of VOC-free, pressure-sensitive air barrier tapes designed for interior and exterior use in wall assemblies marketed toward Passive House construction projects. Most tapes are 2-3/8" (60 mm) wide, but the tapes range in width from 1"–3-3/8" (25–85 mm). Tapes with separate backing papers for use in corners are available. Pro Clima tapes adhere to a wide range of substrates, including OSB, soft wood, and masonry, although Pro Clima recommends the use of its Tescon Primer in some cases. Tescon RP primer is fluid-applied and requires no drying time before the tapes can be applied over it. According to Four Seven Five, Pro Clima tapes bond in several hours and, once dry, adhere extremely well. However, long-term testing data to support their durability is not available.
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  • ENRGY 3.E Polyisocyanurate Board Insulation
  • ENRGY 3.E Polyisocyanurate Board Insulation
  • Johns Manville Corporation
  • ENRGY 3.E Polyisocyanurate Board Insulation
    Johns Manville Corporation
    ENRGY 3.E is a polyisocyanurate foam board insulation with no halogenated flame retardants—the first in the industry. Instead of using the standard TCPP, or Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate, ENRGY 3.E uses a non-halogenated organo-phosphorus monomer to provide an insulation board with a Class A fire rating. The chemistry of this is proprietary and has not been evaluated by third-party groups, but Johns-Manville has provided information indicating that it is a safer alternative to TCPP and binds much more directly to the foam insulation. This roofing insulation has glass reinforced faces, an aged R-value of 5.7 per inch, and is available in Grade 2 (20 PSI) and Grade 3 (25 PSI) densities.
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  • Ekoroof Roofing Tile
  • Ekoroof Roofing Tile
  • Ekoroof
  • Ekoroof Roofing Tile
    Ekoroof
    Ekoroof tiles are made from 100% post-consumer plastic, sourced from sheets used in agriculture to protect young crops from extreme heat and sunlight. The tile meets flexural test and tensile strength requirements in the Miami-Dade building code and the HVHZ hurricane code, and a Class A fire rating is available. EkoRoof comes in three standard colors and has a 50-year limited warranty. At the end of their service life, EkoRook tiles can be re-ground to make new tiles.
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  • Fixit 222 Insulating Plaster
  • Fixit 222 Insulating Plaster
  • Fixit, AG
  • Fixit 222 Insulating Plaster
    Fixit, AG
    Fixit 222 is an insulating, lime plaster with granulized silica aerogel. It can be sprayed or troweled onto a wall and provides an insulating value of R-5.15 per inch (0.028 W/mK). Fixit 222 is permeable to water vapor and can be used indoors or, if coated with a harder surface plaster, used on the exterior as a stucco cladding. The composition is silica aerogel granulate, lightweight mineral aggregate, natural hydraulic lime, chromate-free white cement, and white calcium hydroxide (slaked lime). As a 100% inorganic material, Fixit is nonflammable without added flame retardants. Fixit is not currently distributed in North America.
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  • Apex Siding
  • Apex Siding
  • APEX Siding Systems
  • Apex Siding
    APEX Siding Systems
    Apex siding is a low-maintenance, durable alternative to vinyl siding. Made with Ultrex fiberglass (which is also used in Marvin windows), the company claims Apex is significantly stronger and more impact resistant than vinyl, has almost no thermal expansion or contraction, and is not damaged by moisture. It is installed using the company’s clip system that allows drainage and ventilation between the siding and moisture barrier, and comes with a fade-resistant acrylic finish incorporated into the material. Apex is available in ten colors and in 4" and 7" sizes with smooth or wood grain finishes. It comes with a limited 50-year warranty on the substrate and 15-year warranty on the finish.
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  • Gutex Ultratherm Roof Insulation and Underlayment
  • Gutex Ultratherm Roof Insulation and Underlayment
  • Four Seven Five
  • Gutex Ultratherm Roof Insulation and Underlayment
    Four Seven Five
    Ultratherm is a moisture-resistant, rigid roof insulation and underlayment made from 95% wood fiber, 4% polyurethane binders, and 0.5% paraffin. Manufactured in Germany, these panels are engineered with tongue and groove edges to improve weather resistance and ease of installation. These panels act as a subroof for pitches greater than 15° without need for taping the tongue and groove or sealing nails, according to the company. The 2-3/8"-thick, 86.6"-long, 29.5"-wide panels have an R-value of 3.4 per inch and a perm rating of 18. Custom sizes are available.
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  • Thermostat Plywood Radiant Barrier Sheathing
  • Thermostat Plywood Radiant Barrier Sheathing
  • Georgia-Pacific Building Products
  • Thermostat Plywood Radiant Barrier Sheathing
    Georgia-Pacific Building Products
    Thermostat incorporates a radiant barrier onto Georgia-Pacific's Plytanium plywood sheathing, combining the performance of plywood and an emissivity of 0.03 (97% reflectance) to help keep attics cooler. These 4'x8' sheathing panels are available in 15/32" and 19/32" thicknesses.
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  • Weyerhaeuser Radiant Barrier Sheathing
  • Weyerhaeuser Radiant Barrier Sheathing
  • Weyerhaeuser
  • Weyerhaeuser Radiant Barrier Sheathing
    Weyerhaeuser
    Weyerhaeuser’s Radiant Barrier Sheathing (RBS) is an OSB roof sheathing with a radiant-foil overlay to minimize radiant heat gain. This sheathing is typically placed under the outer layer of wood and shingles on a roof. Similar to most sheathing products, RBS uses low-emitting phenol formaldehyde resins. RBS comes in 4'x8' sheets and is available in 7/16", 15/32", and 19/32" thicknesses.
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  • Ecocell Cellulose Batts and Blanket Insulation
  • Ecocell Cellulose Batts and Blanket Insulation
  • Cellulose Material Solutions
  • Ecocell Cellulose Batts and Blanket Insulation
    Cellulose Material Solutions
    Cellulose Material Solutions offers Ecocell batts and blankets that are made of 60% cellulose from recycled paper, along with cotton, and jute with a polyethylene binder. Ecocell achieves a Class A fire rating (ASTM E-84 Standard) using borates, which also prevent pest intrusion. Ecocell blankets are R-3.7 while the batts are R-3.6, with a density of 2.5 pcf. The batts also achieve an acoustical rating of STC 50. Batts are available in 16" and 24" widths (0.4m and 0.6m) and 94" and 96" (2.4m) lengths. Blankets are 48" x 96" (1.2m x 2.4m) or 48" x 108" (1.2m x 2.7m).
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  • Xero Flor Green Roofs
  • Xero Flor Green Roofs
  • Xero Flor America
  • Xero Flor Green Roofs
    Xero Flor America
    Xero Flor green roofs utilize pre-vegetated mats on a textile base so that the mats roll out like sod. The system's components consist of a geotextile carrier, a water retention fleece, drain mat, and root barrier, all made of 90% recycled fiber content. Vegetation is regionally sourced. The system weighs 8–10 psf and can be installed on slopes of up to 45 degrees. Xero Flor mats can be custom sized.
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  • Grow-In-Place Mushroom Insulation
  • Grow-In-Place Mushroom Insulation
  • Ecovative Design LLC
  • Grow-In-Place Mushroom Insulation
    Ecovative Design LLC
    Ecovative offers Grow-In-Place Mushroom Insulation for pre-fabricated, controlled conditions. The foam, which consists of mycelium (mushroom “roots”) bonded to agricultural byproducts, takes about a month to grow in a factory setting, according to the company. Then it is allowed to dry out, producing a solidified, airtight, structural wall assembly. The insulation is Class A fire rated without any added flame retardants, has an R-vale of 3.6 per inch, and a compressive strength of 0.3–6.7 psi at 10% (ASTM D695). Growing the insulation allows it to be self-sealing and reduces thermal bridging.
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  • Dow Corning Building Insulation Blanket
  • Dow Corning Building Insulation Blanket
  • Dow Corning Corp.
  • Dow Corning Building Insulation Blanket
    Dow Corning Corp.
    Dow Corning's Building Insulation Blanket is a flexible sheet impregnated with aerogel particles that imparts very high insulation value relative to its thin profile. The HPI-1000 Building Insulation Blanket offers R-9.6 per inch in a 10 mm (0.4") thickness, for a unit value of R-3.84, and a Class A fire rating. The silica aerogel particles are embedded in a proprietary polymer that contains neither PVC nor flame retardant chemicals, according to Dow Corning. The HPI-1100 Building Insulation Blanket offers R-8.1/inch for the same thickness, and its aerogel is embedded in a nonwoven glass substrate, making it noncombustible. Both products are relatively expensive, at about $10/ft2, and are intended as thermal breaks in difficult-to-insulate applications like slab edges. According to Dow Corning, the blankets are easy to cut, bend, and glue, and are hydrophobic, while being vapor-permeable.
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  • MM6125-EV Modified Bituminous Membrane
  • MM6125-EV Modified Bituminous Membrane
  • American Hydrotech, Inc.
  • MM6125-EV Modified Bituminous Membrane
    American Hydrotech, Inc.
    MM6125-EV is a roofing membrane consisting of reclaimed rubber and recycled oil. This membrane is most often used in an insulated roof membrane assembly (IRMA). It can also be applied to foundation walls, parking decks, tunnels or planters, but is not intended to be exposed or traffic-bearing. Weight of the installed membrane is 1.17 psf for the standard assembly.
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