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    • Remove facet Reduces heating and cooling loads
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Before specifying efficient heating and cooling equipment, it’s important to do what we can to reduce heating and cooling loads. Insulation is one of the key products to consider here, but because there are so many insulation products on the market, we look for additional benefits. Examples include cellulose insulation with recycled content, mineral wool insulation with no flame retardants, and fiberglass insulation with no formaldehyde binders. Other products in this area are high-performance windows and glazings, products that contribute to building airtight envelopes, products that reduce thermal bridging, and window-retrofit products.

With products in this area under constant development, we are always refining our approach. For example, as we have learned about insulation products with hazardous flame retardants and blowing agents that have high global warming potential, we have removed those products from GreenSpec, pending manufacturing changes. We encourage building professionals to pressure manufacturers for those changes through specification language and purchasing decisions.

Before specifying efficient heating and cooling equipment, it’s important to do what we can to reduce heating and cooling loads. Insulation is one of the key products to consider here, but because there are so many insulation products on the market, we look for additional benefits. Examples include cellulose insulation with recycled content, mineral wool insulation with no flame retardants, and fiberglass insulation with no formaldehyde binders. Other products in this area are high-performance windows and glazings, products that contribute to building airtight envelopes, products that reduce thermal bridging, and window-retrofit products.

With products in this area under constant development, we are always refining our approach. For example, as we have learned about insulation products with hazardous flame retardants and blowing agents that have high global warming potential, we have removed those products from GreenSpec, pending manufacturing changes. We encourage building professionals to pressure manufacturers for those changes through specification language and purchasing decisions.

  • 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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  • Gutex Multitherm Weather Resistant Wood Insulation
  • Gutex Multitherm Weather Resistant Wood Insulation
  • Four Seven Five
  • Gutex Multitherm Weather Resistant Wood Insulation
    Four Seven Five
    Multitherm is a moisture-resistant, breathable, rigid insulation and weather-resistive-barrier made from 95% wood fiber, 4% polyurethane binders, and 0.5% paraffin. Manufactured in Germany, these panels are intended for use on exterior walls under rainscreens, and are engineered with tongue and groove edges to improve weather resistance and ease installation, since the panels do not have to line up with studs. The 1-9/16"-thick, 43.3"-long, 31.5"-wide panels have an R-value of 3.7 per inch (R-5.5 per panel) and a perm rating of 27. Custom sizes are also 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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  • Stramit CAFboard
  • Stramit CAFboard
  • Stramit USA, LLC
  • Stramit CAFboard
    Stramit USA, LLC
    CAFboard is a compressed-fiber panel manufactured by Stramit from wheat straw. The company markets the boards for SIPs, door cores, interior sheathing, acoustical panels, and many other applications. CAFboard is processed under high heat and pressure, which convert lignin already present in the straw into a natural binder—no binder is added, and testing shows zero VOC emissions. The boards have a STC ratings of 32 (for thinner boards) and 45 (for thicker boards); and a one- or two-hour fire rating (depending on thickness) based on ASTM E119/UL263. The boards contain no added flame retardants. CAFboard is available in densities from 15.6 to 40.5 pounds per cubic foot, and Stramit USA claims that the R-value of these panels ranges from R-2.32 to R-3.03. However, the company couldn't provide a lab report backing those claims, and we think they are exaggerated—see our full review for more discussion.

    Stramit also claims high resistance to mold and mildew without added chemicals, low moisture absorption, natural termite resistance, and a negative carbon footprint. CAFboard panels range in thickness from 1.000" to 3.125" and are available in two standard widths—31.50" and 42.24". The company also incorporates CAFboard into two other Stramit products: the CAFsteel panelized building system and the CAFquiet interior partition system, which features an STC rating of 50.
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  • Earth Dwell Rammed Earth
  • Earth Dwell Rammed Earth
  • Earth Dwell, Ltd
  • Earth Dwell Rammed Earth
    Earth Dwell, Ltd
    Earth Dwell is a stabilized rammed earth (SRE) wall system that uses traditional rammed earth technology but is bolstered by rigid insulation and structural supports to form a wall with higher R-value and compressive strength. Appropriate for residential or light commercial applications, Earth Dwell is made from local soils and varying percentages of portland cement or other pozzolans (8%–10%) that are tamped down on either side of rigid insulation and reinforced with rebar. The company typically uses rigid foam insulation such as XPS, but can work with mineral wool, cellular glass, and other less-toxic insulation types. The walls provide a minimum R-value of 25, according to the company, and the insulation sandwiched in the wall allows the thermal mass of the interior portion to gain and release heat, helping to moderate interior temperatures. Walls have the color of local soils, though iron oxide can be added to vary the tint.
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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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  • RavenWindow Thermochromic Glazing
  • RavenWindow Thermochromic Glazing
  • RavenBrick LLC
  • RavenWindow Thermochromic Glazing
    RavenBrick LLC
    RavenWindow is a filter that can be added by fabricators to standard insulated glass units (IGUs) and will tint at a certain temperature, reducing glare and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC)—with projects seeing up to 30% energy savings, according to the company. RavenBrick can set the glass temperature at which the tinting occurs—anywhere from 40°F to 120°F, with the typical setpoint being 90°F. When tinted, the window’s energy performance can change dramatically, reducing SHGC by more than 20 points and dropping visible light transmittance (Tvis) from over 30% to 3.5%. The transition from clear to tinted occurs in less than 10 minutes, with the tinted area spreading across the window like an inkblot. The company offers a 10-year warranty through its fabricators, and the design life for the product is 30 years.
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  • EcoClad Composite Windows
  • EcoClad Composite Windows
  • Klearwall Industries
  • EcoClad Composite Windows
    Klearwall Industries
    Klearwall offers EcoClad, a line of composite windows and doors that are manufactured in Ireland. These windows have a powder-coated aluminum exterior, a PVC-encased polyurethane insulating core, and a wood frame interior. The windows can achieve whole-unit U-factors as low as 0.13 (R-7.5) and are available double- or triple-glazed with a krypton or argon gas fill.
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  • Groke Aluminum Entry Doors
  • Groke Aluminum Entry Doors
  • Sommer USA
  • Groke Aluminum Entry Doors
    Sommer USA
    Groke doors are all-aluminum, powder coated, and achieve a whole-unit U-factor that ranges from U-0.257 (R-3.9) down to U-0.13 (R-7.7). Doors are available in three thicknesses based on how much extruded polystyrene insulation they contain—0.94" (24mm), 2.52" (64mm), or 3.70" (94mm)—with triple glazing that comes standard on the upper two thicknesses. Models with 64mm of insulation have an overlay panel on the outer skin of the door, and the 90mm doors have overlay panels on both sides. All doors come with three-latch multipoint locking and most are rated class 4 in the air permeability test DIN 12207.
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  • Makrowin Wood Windows
  • Makrowin Wood Windows
  • European Architectural Supply, Inc.
  • Makrowin Wood Windows
    European Architectural Supply, Inc.
    Makrowin wood windows are made from European spruce, oak, and mahogany, and can be double- or triple- glazed. With aluminum cladding on the exterior, whole-window U-values range from 0.12 to 0.13 with a center of glass U-factor of 0.88. Wood certified by FSC is available upon request. The highest-performing Makrowin window, the MW88G2, meets the strict energy and air-tightness requirements of the Passivhaus Institut and uses cork to insulate the frame. The company claims these windows are the thinnest PHI-certified wood windows at 3.46 inches thick (88mm). In addition to tilt-turn windows, Makrowin also offers a variety of entry, lift-slide, and patio doors.
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  • Willmar Windows
  • Willmar Windows
  • Jeld-Wen - Canada
  • Willmar Windows
    Jeld-Wen - Canada
    Willmar Windows, part of the Jeld-Wen family, manufactures the vinyl Ener-smart 7000 (Es7000) line. Included in Willmar's selection are a number of double- and triple-glazed options available with Solar Gain and Solar Shield low-e coatings featuring warm-edge Intercept spacers, and argon fill. Unit U-factors are offered as low as 0.16.
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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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  • Myco Foam Insulating Sheathing
  • Myco Foam Insulating Sheathing
  • Ecovative Design LLC
  • Myco Foam Insulating Sheathing
    Ecovative Design LLC
    Myco Foam insulating sheathing is an insulation board made of Ecovative's Mushroom Insulation bonded to Fortifiber's waterproof facing. The insulation board has comparable performance to foam insulation with a compressive strength of 0.3–6.7 psi at 10% compression (ASTM D695), R-value of R-3.6/inch (ASTM C518), and water vapor transmission of 0.02–0.03 perms (ASTM E96). The foam achieves a Class A fire rating with no added flame retardants.
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  • Marvin Exterior Roller Shades
  • Marvin Exterior Roller Shades
  • Marvin Windows and Doors
  • Marvin Exterior Roller Shades
    Marvin Windows and Doors
    Marvin exterior roller shades are completely integrated into its windows and can be operated remotely from indoors. Each blind rolls up into a hidden, integral “head box” at the top of the window, so the blind is fully concealed when not in use. The motorized openers can be programmed to operate automatically based on time of day or controlled by occupants as needed from a building control, or mobile device.The shades consist of semi-rigid PVC slats either connected by a flexible, exterior-grade, acrylic fabric backing or as separate louvers attached to insect-screen backing (the latter allowing some visibility through the shade). The slats or louvers are available in five colors, and in the case of the version with fabric backing, there are corresponding fabric colors.
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