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ThermalBuck to Exhibit at Better Buildings by Design

When we think of leaders in energy-efficiency and sustainability, we think of Vermont. It’s no surprise Vermont ranks among the top 5 states in the nation for the advancement and support of energy efficiency, and has long maintained a pioneering role among the states in this arena.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) credits Vermont’s three energy efficiency utility companies as the driving force for Vermont’s ranking: Vermont Gas Systems, Burlington Electric, and Efficiency Vermont.

“Our statewide and coordinated efforts provide equity, fairness and transparency—ensuring that every Vermonter has access to affordable products and services to lower their energy use.”

– Karen Glitman, Director of Efficiency Vermont, as quoted on vermontbiz.com 

Efficiency Vermont was established in 1999, with the purpose of reducing energy costs and protecting the natural beauty of Vermont’s environment. It offers a number of opportunities for Vermont contractors, distributors, design professionals and homeowners to connect, and work together to save energy – and money.

One of their key initiatives is also the region’s leading design and construction conference, Better Buildings by Design.

 

Better Buildings by Design – February 7th & 8th

ThermalBuck extends, insulates, and flashes the rough opening. Integrated with Henry Blueskin WRB.
We sure get this whole “integrated design” concept. Recent ThermalBuck installation in Manchester Center, VT.

The Better Buildings by Design conference brings together over 1,000 attendees from all over the Northeast, and more than 50 exhibitors to Burlington, Vermont, February 7th & 8th, 2018.

Interactive learning is a focus of the 2018 Better Buildings by Design event, presenting practical information and the latest trends and technologies in the building industry.

Over 40 workshops are available for attendees, featuring five learning tracks: commercial, building systems, lighting, envelope, and healthy homes.

BRINC Building Products is proud to announce that we will be exhibiting ThermalBuck at this sold-out event, joining a select group of exhibitors that range from retailers like Curtis Lumber Co. and 475 Building Performance Supply, to manufactures of energy-efficient products like Roxul, Inc., Siga, and Smart Vent.

 

 

Putting It All Together – Integrated Design

This year’s theme “Putting It All Together – Integrated Design,” emphasizes the focus of the workshop content, and a key strategy of the presenters. Attendees can choose from a wide range of topics that include Integrated Teams, Integrated Project Delivery, and Integrated Design in a variety of scenarios.

Take a look at the full schedule of events, speakers, and listing of exhibitors here.

The opening session kicks off with awards honoring “Efficiency Vermont’s 2018 Best of the Best in Building Performance and Home Performance.” Attendees can view the plans, drawings, and photos of these award-winning homes and commercial buildings throughout the conference.

Wednesday evening, February 7th from 4:45 – 7:00 pm, attendees and exhibitors invite colleagues, clients and subcontractors to a reception in the exhibit hall that is open to the public. The reception features complimentary beverages and hors d’ oeuvres, as well as a cash bar. The exhibit hall will also be open to the public Thursday, February 8th from 1:30 – 3:30 pm.

While the exhibitor opportunities have sold out, you can still make plans to register and attend the conference. Or join us for the public reception Wednesday evening, and get a taste of what Better Buildings by Design is all about. Visit efficiencyvermont.com for more information.

 


The ACEEE published the most recent State Energy Efficiency Scorecard in September, 2017. This report ranks every state in the U.S. for their efforts in energy-efficiency, providing an extremely valuable tool for understanding how states handle and recover from severe weather related events such as hurricanes and flooding. The results guide state-level policymakers in their efforts to build more resilient local communities. To review key findings of this report, visit aceee.org

Hands-On Building Science with Matt Risinger & ThermalBuck

December 4, 2017 – Risinger & Co. Headquarters – Austin, TX
Don’t Miss this Event!

Risinger & Co. will present “Hands-On Building Science with ThermalBuck,” to the Austin green building community. You’ll see how easy it is to integrate ThermalBuck into a high-performance wall, to simplify the installation of windows with exterior insulation. Join your fellow architects, builders, energy consultants and more for this informative Lunch & Learn – just RSVP to save your space by December 1st!

December 4, 2017 @ 12 pm – Risinger & Co. Austin Headquarters 
Window Installation with Exterior Insulation featuring ThermalBuck 

Lunch & Learn with the Austin Green Building Community
5126 Burnet Rd, Austin TX 78756

RSVP required. Space is limited.

RSVP for Hands-On Building Science 12.4.17 in Austin – you will be contacted for confirmation:

[contact-form to=”thermalbuck@brincbp.com ” subject=”RVSP Hands On Building Science 12.4.17″][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Job Title” type=”text” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Contact Phone” type=”text” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Company Name & Number of Attendees: Please list job title” type=”textarea” required=”1″][/contact-form]

Please contact us for more details, and follow us on social for specifics about the materials that will be part of this high-performance wall demonstration. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this event for the Austin green building community!

Risinger & ThermalBuck: A High-Performance Duo

It was just about a year ago when Matt Risinger introduced ThermalBuck to his thousands of YouTube followers. We had recently met Matt in 2016 at the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) Conference in Dallas, TX, and he took home our tabletop displays to show to his loyal building science fans through a short video on Risinger Goes Rogue.

“Check out this brand-new product a builder in Pennsylvania invented – very cool.”

-Matt Risinger, Risinger & Co., The Build Show   

 

Matt recognized ThermalBuck as a smart, simple solution to the challenges builders face when installing windows with continuous insulation. He also taught us about the importance of using only high-performance products in the building envelope (bye-bye, junky housewrap).

A ROESE between two…Matt Risinger & John Brooks at the 2016 EEBA conference.

WATCH:  Risinger Goes Rogue featuring ThermalBuck 

Matt is well-known for his expertise in building science, and his comfortable way of teaching others how to use to become better builders. Now we’re teaming up with Risinger & Co. at their Austin headquarters for a ThermalBuck installation demo – and we’re inviting you to join us.  

 

Risinger & Co.

Matt’s company, Risinger & Co. is a sought-after Austin builder known for beautiful craftsmanship and attention to detail. But they’re also recognized for building some of the highest performing homes in Texas, and utilize a building science based approach to every project.

“Every project we take on includes our goal of delivering a home that provides for improved health, enhanced durability, increased efficiency and greater comfort than any home you’ve lived in before.”

-Matt Risinger, Risinger & Co., The Build Show

After many years of production homebuilding, and continually honing his skills and knowledge, Matt’s  outstanding reputation has led him to now work primarily on architect driven projects, many of them award-winning. Most recently, for their work on a Design Office by Alterstudio Architecture, LLP – awarded a 2017 AIA Austin Design Award.

For more information about all of the 2017 award winners, visit aiaaustin.org.

We appreciate Matt sharing ThermalBuck with his avid followers, and look forward to our demonstration in Austin with Risinger Homes. One thing we can be certain of, is that everyone (including us) will learn a thing, or two.


Risinger Homes (now Risinger & Co.) started building exclusively for architects in 2005. Matt’s building science expertise has been documented in Fine Homebuilding, The Journal of Light Construction, and Custom Home Magazine, to name a few. He is also an award winning blogger, the two-time winner of the JDR Best Blogger Award. Enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of Matt’s work through his instagram account, twitter, or facebook. The Texas building statistics sourced for this post were found at investopedia.com. 

ThermalBuck to Exhibit at Greenbuild 2017 – Join Us!

The Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is a powerhouse event in the building community, bringing together a diverse community of professionals from all over the world to learn about sustainable building practices, and the latest technologies for the built environment.

BRINC Building Products is proud to announce that we will be exhibiting ThermalBuck this year, joining hundreds of building material manufacturers committed to the rapid expansion of the green building community.

 

Together in Boston – WE ARE ALL IN

2017 Greenbuild has more to offer than ever, as it co-locates with the largest building event in the Northeastern U.S., the Architecture Boston Expo. Commonly known as ABX, and sponsored by the Boston Society of Architects, the Architecture Boston Expo has traditionally seen attendance in the 15,000 range, and Greenbuild 18,000. The two events run simultaneously under one roof at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, present an outstanding opportunity to broaden the experience to an estimated 25,000 attendees and exhibitors.

 

 

ABX 2017

Hosted by the Boston Society of Architects (one of the oldest and largest AIA chapters), this particular event has been advancing the green building community in the Northeast for over 150 years. ABX is valued for it’s regional focus, building relationships and a local network in New England, with shared climate, economics, and politics. 

ABX 2017 features traditional educational sessions, tours, and an extensive exhibit hall, but also special events like the QUAD Social Space exhibition, Design Technology Throwdown, and an Immersive Visualization demonstration. Something truly unique being offered at this year’s show, are the Marketing Collateral Audits, which provide an opportunity to have your architectural firm’s marketing reviewed by a professional in the field.

For a full schedule of events, check out abxexpo.com


Greenbuild 

Greenbuild is THE International building event of the year. What began back in Austin, TX in 2002 as a small event with 4,000 attendees, has grown into a truly global force (and award-winning event) to promote sustainability. The schedule for Greenbuild 2017 begins on November 6th, with green building tours, workshops, and special event such as the Communities & Affordable Home Summit. The first official day of the show, November 8th, ends in the traditional ( and usually sold-out) Greenbuild Celebration, a don’t-miss event featuring locally sourced food, drinks, networking, and live entertainment by The Revivalists. One of the most anticipated events on the Greenbuild schedule will be the following day at the opening plenary, featuring former President Bill Clinton.

Not only does Greenbuild offer the highest quality of educational and collaborative opportunities for attendees, it also significantly impacts the local environment where the show is held. The conference encourages sustainable practices and behaviors from attendees and exhibitors alike, proactively pursuing goals of reducing waste and offsetting carbon emissions. To read more about sustainability at Greenbuild, click here.

 

Join ThermalBuck on the Exhibit Floor

Greenbuild is a special show for us. It’s where we launched ThermalBuck back in 2015 in Washington, D.C, and were recognized by Building Green as one of the “Greenest of the Green” top ten best new products at the show. Consider attending the 2017 ABX2017/Greenbuild, and see for yourself how this event provides unique opportunities for green building professionals to connect and advance the goals of sustainability for our built environment.

Get your FREE exhibit floor pass (use promotional code THER0MC711), and visit us at Booth #871 on November 8th & 9th. You’ll leave ABX2017/Greenbuild feeling inspired about the future of energy-efficient building.


View a complete schedule of events for Greenbuild, and for ABX 2017. For more about the Boston Society of Architects, visit architects.org. Not sure which show you should register for? You’re not alone. Start here, and be sure and register before the early bird discount expires October 16, 2017. The exhibit halls for both shows are open to all attendees. 

New ThermalBuck Sizes Available – Up to 4″

NEW BETHLEHEM, P.A. — (September 2017) — BRINC Building Products, Inc. has recently expanded it’s ThermalBuck product offerings to include additional sizes up to 4.0″, to meet the needs of architects and builders constructing walls with greater depths of continuous insulation.

With the rapid adoption of advanced energy codes across the U.S., and the increasing demand by consumers for energy-efficient homes, the market for exterior insulation and higher R-value wall assemblies is growing exponentially. 

 

ThermalBuck Continuous Insulation

“Builders have been so receptive to ThermalBuck because it’s such a simple, effective solution to the challenges of installing windows with foam,” said BRINC President, John Brooks. “But we kept hearing from customers in the net-zero and passive house markets who wanted to use ThermalBuck, yet are building walls with above-code exterior insulation and needed more sizes.” High-performance builders generally utilize a combination of interior and exterior insulation to achieve the desired R-value of the wall assembly.  

ThermalBuck is a proven solution for builders trying to solve the challenges associated with installing nail flange windows with continuous insulation. It extends and insulates the mounting points of windows & doors to create a flush plane for cladding.

The unique “L” shape goes inside the rough opening, and extends outward to match the continuous insulation and/or rainscreen depth. It supports the window and allows structural attachment, transferring shear and wind loads to the framing. Made of a high-density EPS with a waterproof coating, ThermalBuck comes in 8′ lengths and is cut to fit on site. ThermalBuck also acts as an additional air & water barrier at the rough opening, simplifying flashing with exterior insulation.

 

Expanding our product line up to 4″ to accommodate wall assemblies with thicker insulation allows us to better serve high-performance builders.”

-John Brooks, President, BRINC

ThermalBuck R-Value Range 4.4 – 17.6

ThermalBuck originally launched in the fall of 2015 with depths of 1.0 ”, 1.5”, 2.0”, and 2.5”.  The additional sizes, 3.0”, 3.5”, and 4.0”, allow more architects and builders to incorporate ThermalBuck into their plans for high-performance wall assemblies. To view detailed drawings of each of the seven sizes of ThermalBuck, see product dimensions

“Our customers appreciate the additional opportunity to increase the R-value of their wall assemblies by adding up to 17.6 (R-value) around rough openings”, Brooks continued. “Utilizing ThermalBuck has significant impact on the energy-efficiency of the entire building envelope, reducing the thermal transfer through rough openings by 2:1 over traditional wood bucks.”


To learn more about energy-code adoption by state, visit the Building Codes Assistance Project. To read more about continuous exterior insulation, see what the experts at JLC online recommend as best practices. For great advice on choosing the right wall assembly, visit greenbuildingadvisor.com.

 

Map of six regional energy efficiency organizations REEOS

Advancing the Energy Codes

You may have heard of NEEA, or you might be more familiar with NEEP. Different names, but they both share the same vision as part of a larger network, the Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations (REEOS). These organizations are all working together to advance energy-efficient initiatives in across the U.S. With the growing importance (and complexity) of energy codes, the work of these groups is becoming more impactful every year.

 

Regional Energy Efficiency Organizations (REEOS)

The six REEOS provide technical support to states and municipalities to assist with energy efficiency policy development and adoption. They also help with planning and execution, critical elements of success. A number of organizations support the work of REEOS, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), utilities, third‐party program administrators, public officials, advocacy groups, businesses and foundations. To determine which REEOS is advocating for your region, take a look at the states that comprise each organization.


Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – NEEA

NEEA is comprised of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations, serving 13 million energy consumers. Based in Portland, Oregon since it’s inception in 1997, this region (through the work of NEEA) has increased energy efficiency significantly enough to power more than 900,000 homes annually. neea.org 

  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Oregon

Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – MEEA

Chicago, Illinois is the home of MEEA, which is focused on increasing and sustaining the level of energy efficiency across 13 states. MEEA designs and/or facilitates a number of regional energy efficiency programs, such as the Building Operator Certification (BOC) program. Upcoming events for MEEA include The 8th Annual Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference, November 15th-16th in Ann Arbor, MI. mwalliance.org

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • 
Iowa
  • 
Kansas
  • 
Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership – NEEP

NEEP was founded in 1996, in Lexington, Massachusetts. Their long-term goal is to assist the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Region in reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2050 (relative to 2001). One of the many initiatives NEEP has led the development is the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS) Criteria, available as a standard for school construction & major renovation projects throughout the Northeast. neep.org 

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Southwest Energy Efficiency Project – SWEEP

Based in Boulder, Colorado, the region served by SWEEP had traditionally not kept pace with energy-efficiency efforts of other parts of the U.S. However, significant progress in improving energy-efficiency in the industrial sector was made in 2010, bringing the region in line with the efforts of other REEOS. Funding for electric utility energy efficiency and demand-side management programs in the region has grown significantly – from $21 million in 2001 to approximately $390 million as of 2016. swenergy.org 

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Southcentral Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource – SPEER

Austin, Texas is the home to SPEER headquarters, which just announced it’s distinction as a 2030 District city this past January. SPEER has has prior success with Dallas and San Antonio as 2030 Districts as well. Although SPEER only serves two states, that includes over 30 million people. SPEER is focused on increasing the adoption of advanced building systems, as well as energy-efficient products and services. eepartnership.org 

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma

Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance – SEEA

Founded in 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia, SEEA is the most recently established of the six REEOS. It specifically advocates for energy efficiency as a way of encouraging economic growth & workforce development, as well as the optimization of energy use for security. SEEA hosts a multitude of webinars and breakfast series throughout the year, and an annual conference each fall. seealliance.org

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

Each of these organizations is a great resource for energy efficiency stakeholders, providing resources, training, and a number of initiatives and events. Check out the websites for each of the organizations, and learn more about how they can help you achieve your energy efficiency goals. 

ThermalBuck Performs at the 2017 PCBC

The biggest builder’s show on the west coast lived up to the hype – we had an amazing experience in San Diego at the 2017 PCBC. ThermalBuck was fortunate to head into the show a Parade of Products award winner (featured in the Ma2017 issue of Professional Builder Magazine) and a presenter in the High-Performance Home Theater. But the real excitement started when we hit the tradeshow floor.


High Performance Wall & Attic Display

ThermalBuck was a featured product in the High Performance Wall & Attic display, designed to show homebuilders a variety of innovative building envelope products & methods they could use to comply with the 2016 Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards.

Watch as energy-efficient building consultant Nick Brown of Build Smart Group walks us through the exterior of the High Performance Wall & Attic display, built by Reliable Lumber of Huntingdon Beach.

WATCH: High Performance Walls & Attics – California Title 24 PCBC 2017

Other products featured in the display included Sierra Pacific windows, DuPont Flashing, RMax insulation, Parex One-Coat Stucco, Sun Power solar panels, and more. The display & home-theater presentations were the result of a collaboration between the California Homebuilding Foundation (CHF), California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Workforce Instruction for Standards and Efficiency (WISE) program. The WISE program brings high performance building training to residential builders in California, and plays a significant role in the success of energy-efficient code adaptation in the state. To learn more about upcoming WISE events & initiatives, visit wisewarehouse.org.


“On the House” Radio Spot with The Carey Brothers

Next up was a quick-spot on The Carey Brothers “On the House” radio show, which featured ThermalBuck as one of the “latest and best products” from the PCBC show.  We were in great company with Ply Gem, OXX, Air King, and Boral Roofing to name just a few. The Carey Brothers were very knowledgeable, and great fun – we really appreciated the opportunity to connect with their listeners.

“You need to look for builders who are using products like this – because this is one of the most common leak spots in the home.”

-The Carey Brothers, PCBC 2017

 

READ:  onthehouse.com 


ThermalBuck Named “Innovative Product of PCBC” by Products Magazine

Products Magazine for Residential Construction Professionals

When we said that we had an amazing experience in San Diego, we weren’t kidding!

Last but not least of our highlights from the show was our visit from Nigel Maynard, Editor of Products Magazine, for residential construction professionals. Nigel wrote about the top 8 products that “caught his eye” at the show, and we were proud to have gotten notice as one of the standouts from the show. The list featured a mix of interior and exterior products, including PURewall by Covestro, Stretto door hardware by Emteck, and the new Smart All-in-One Care Washer & Dryer by Whirlpool. Take a look at the complete list here.


The Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference (PCBC) is the largest homebuilding trade show on the West coast. Over 10,000 homebuilders, architects, contractors, remodelers, engineers, and manufacturers will converge in San Diego June 27th-29th, 2017 for this year’s event. Originally known as the “Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference”, the PCBC show has grown since 1959 to attract attendees from all over the world. 

PCBC Photo Gallery

Here’s more of what was happening at PCBC 2017 – don’t miss the show in San Francisco in 2018!

Close-Up of Sierra Pacific window mounted with ThermalBuck
Universal Product Display
PRODUCTS magazine editor Nigel Maynard discovers ThermalBuck
ThermalBuck with stucco cladding
ThermalBuck booth
Did we mention we won a POP award???
We definitely see the benefits!

 

 

ThermalBuck Installation Demos @JLC LIVE 2017 – Get Your Free Pass & Join Us!

ThermalBuck is headed to JLC Live 2017 on March 24th & 25th at the Rhode Island Convention Center, in downtown Providence.

And we’d like you to be there too!  

JLC Live New England is widely known as the best hands-on construction show in the business. Focused on live product demonstrations and popular building clinics, this show stands out as a great training arena for builders who want to fine-tune their building science knowledge and installation techniques.

Two packed floors of exhibitors await the thousands of builders in attendance, and three days of educational sessions open to all attendees. Register and enter promotion code 61106 to print your FREE PASS!  

 

ThermalBuck Installation Demonstrations

Don’t miss ThermalBuck’s live installation demonstrations at Booth #117 each day at 10:30, 12:30, and 2:30 pm.  See firsthand how simple and consistent window installations are when using ThermalBuck. It solves many of the common challenges wood window bucks create when coupled with exterior insulation.

 

JLC Exhibit Hall

Check out the full event program for a complete listing of clinics, demonstrations, and events that you won’t want to miss.  Add to your to-do list Moisture Management through proper window installation and flashing, taught by industry veteran Bill Robinson of Train2Build. Builder Peter Heard, of North Country Carpentry and Restoration Inc. will be showcasing new installation requirements for the Building Envelope.

All work and no play is never a good idea, and plenty of fun is on the schedule.The key networking event is the Welcome Party Friday from 5-6pm, sponsored by Andersen Windows & Doors. Several happy hours and meet-ups offer great opportunities for fellow attendees and speakers to connect and relax.

Since the March weather feels a lot like winter, take a few days off of the job site to expand your knowledge and invest in your training and skills in New England. The payback will be worth it.


JLC LIVE presents multiple shows across the U.S.  The signature show is JLC Live New England, held every March on the east coast.  Out west, you’ll want to attend JLC LIVE Northwest, held in December in Portland. The Remodeling Show & Deck Expo features a more intimate format, and is scheduled for Nashville in October 2017.    The official media sponsors of JLC LIVE include The Journal of Light Construction (JLC),  Tools of the Trade, and Remodeling magazine.  

Planning is Key to Net Zero Deep Energy Retrofit

You’d have to live under a rock (completely sustainable housing) if you didn’t realize that climate change, and rapidly increasing energy prices are a hot topic in today’s world. But why is the focus on the building industry?

Buildings consume nearly half of all the energy produced in the United States.

Globally, the percentages are even higher. Which explains why much of Europe is paving the way in both commercial and residential energy-efficient building.

It’s important to understand that energy-efficient building is about more than energy-efficient materials. A great deal of planning is needed to ensure the proper integration of materials and design, to achieve the best possible outcome.


Energy-Efficient Building

Passive Design, and Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) are the two primary concepts for energy-efficient building. Passive Design uses a combination of climate-based passive and active design strategies to minimize the usage of energy, materials, and water.

Passive homes focus on the absolute minimal amount of energy use possible to heat and cool the building.

In 2015, the Passive House Institute of the US released the only passive building standard based upon climate-specific comfort and performance. The goal was to find the right balance between the up-front investment in a passive build, and the long-term payback, to achieve the most comfortable and cost effective building possible. Learn more at phius.org.

The basic premise of a Net Zero Energy Building is that they generate as much energy as they consume.

Designed to minimize the amount of energy they need to operate, and with renewable energy systems that meet their energy needs. Solar, wind, and geothermal are examples of renewable energy systems.  Design considerations to achieve net zero energy include passive solar design, triple pane or triple glazed windows, and high performance building envelopes. The US Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home program has been working to promote Net Zero building since 2008. Learn more at energy.gov.

Both Passive Home and Net Zero Energy Home certifications are generally based on the HERS Home Energy Rating Score, and certified by third parties, such as the Living Building Challenge.  To learn more about the certification process, click here.


The Deep Energy Retrofit

Most of the discussion about passive or net zero design centers around new construction.  It just makes good sense to plan ahead for the future. However, considering that the majority of the building inventory in the US was built prior to 1990, there is even more opportunity for energy savings in renovating and retrofitting existing buildings.

As the experts at Green Building Advisor explain, the process usually begins with a home energy audit and building analysis. Energy usage reductions are achieved through a whole-building approach, including insulation, heating and cooling systems, lighting, appliances, and water usage. A typical simple energy retrofit focuses only on individual upgrades, like heating and cooling.

Deep Energy Retrofits are a whole-building approach to maximizing energy efficiency.

The key to success in a deep energy retrofit, is utilizing skilled building science professionals who have the experience planning the integration of these systems into existing structures. Look to organizations such as the Building Performance Institute to direct you to certified professionals in the industry. That’s how we found Bill McKnight, CEO, Energy Conservation Specialists.

 

WATCH:  Net Zero Deep Energy Retrofit with ECS and ThermalBuck  

 

With over 20 years in the field of deep energy retrofits, Bill has achieved both BPI Accreditation and Energy Star Certification, teaches building science at Ulster University in NY, and has been featured in Home Energy Magazine. To learn more about the historic renovation project we worked on with Energy Conservation Specialists, and see how ThermalBuck was used to create a thermally efficient building envelope, read the full installation story here.


The Poplar Network features a clear-cut piece by Rob Freeman that explains the difference between Passive and Net Zero. For a more detailed reference, an excellent resource is Net Zero Energy Buildings, by Steven Winters Associates, Inc., a respected authority on building science and efficiency. It was featured in 2016 in the The Whole Building Design Guide, a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences which focuses on the latest technology and “whole building” design techniques. Data was also sourced from architecture2030, whose mission is to address climate change problems with design solutions of the built environment.      

Continuous Insulation – Making the Right Choice

If you’ve made the decision to include continuous insulation on your building, it’s time to pat yourself on the back.

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) has required continuous insulation since 2012. When the building envelope is insulated on the outside, it not only improves the energy efficiency, it also helps to reduce the possibility of moisture damage through thermal bridging.

WATCH:  ThermalBuck installation using polyiso CI  

Which type of continuous insulation should you choose? Good question.

Each type of insulation has different thermal properties, costs, features, and installation requirements, so you really need to consider what matters most in your application.

ThermalBuck is compatible with all types of continuous insulation, and will simplify the installation process.  It solves many of the common challenges builders find when installing windows with continuous insulation, and make the installation more energy-efficient by insulating the rough opening – typically a source of energy-loss in the building envelope. 


Types of Continuous Insulation

There are three main types of continuous insulation: rigid foam, mineral wool, and cork. The most widely used is rigid foam, which is split into three main categories: EPS, XPS, and Polyiso.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS):  R-4 per inch

EPS is the most commonly used rigid foam. While it has the lowest R-value, it’s also the least expensive around .31 cents per sq. ft., which makes it a favorite for code compliance within budget. EPS does absorb water, and has the lowest compressive strength of the rigid foams.

Structured Insulated Panels (SIPS) and Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFS) are comprised of EPS. Insulfoam, a division of Carlisle Construction Materials, is largest manufacturer of block-molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) in North America.

It is important to note that EPS should be used over housewrap, and supported by OSB or plywood when used as sheathing.  

 

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS):  R-5 per inch

Many green builders discount XPS right off the bat, because it is the least environmentally friendly option. It contains the flame retardant HBCD, and its blowing agents have high global-warming potential.

However, with it’s higher R-value and moderate pricing at .47 cents per sq. ft. it is widely used. It’s stronger than EPS, and more water resistant, making it a preferred choice for under-slab and below grade applications.

XPS is available faced or unfaced, which affects the vapor permeability. Owens Corning Foamular “pink board” is some of the most widely recognized XPS on the market.

 

Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso or ISO):  R-6.5 per inch

Polyiso is the most expensive of the three types of rigid foam, as much as .70 cents per sq. ft. for a 1″ thick panel. However, the higher R-values often make the added expense worthwhile in the long run.  All polyiso is faced on both sides, most often with foil.

Polysio is considered the most-environmentally friendly of the three foams. It does absorb water, and generally cannot be used below grade. Johns Manville is a leading manufacturer of polyiso foams.  

One of the primary benefits of polyiso, is that it can often be used as a WRB behind your cladding. While it may cost more upfront than EPS or XPS, not installing a separate WRB component can save a considerable amount. It really depends on your climate, if this feature will be a long-term benefit, or present a building science challenge. 

 

Mineral Wool:  R-4 per inch

When you think mineral wool, you think of Roxul, easily the best known brand on the market. Mineral wool is also known as stone wool because it is made of basalt rock and steel slag, making it a favorite choice of green builders.  Easy to work with, fire-resistant, sound resistant, and water resistant. It’s the only insulation recognized by code as a firestop.

ComfortBoard is Roxul’s exterior insulation.  With an R-value of 4, it is lower than most rigid foams, however, there is no reduction in R-value over time, which will happen with foam insulation materials that rely on lower-conductivity blowing agents that slowly leak out or allow air to leak in.

Mineral wool is highly vapor-permeable and easy to install. Roxul is approximately .64 cents per board foot. 

 

Cork:  R-3.6 per inch

Thermacork, is the most widely recognized an all-natural rigid insulation material made from expanded cork. It offers excellent acoustic control, is highly durable, has high vapor permeability, and meets fire-safety requirements without flame retardants. It is labeled Red List Free for use in Living Building Challenge projects.

Cork is by far the greenest of the green in the insulation category, but it’s significantly higher cost and limited availability make it more of a niche product.


It’s important to take your specific climate into consideration when evaluating building materials.

EPS and XPS increase in R-value as the temperature drops.  A great thing if you’re in Wisconsin. However with Polyiso, the R-value actually decreases when the temperature drops. Not such a great thing when you’re in Wisconsin.

To choose the best continuous insulation for your project, analyze all of the variables: performance needs, climate, building codes, and budget.

No matter which continuous insulation you choose, proper installation is critical to achieving the desired performance.

Our energy-efficient homebuilders in Utah, Thomas & Melissa Griffiths, did extensive research on the features and benefits of the different types of exterior insulation, and decided on Atlas EnergyShield Polyiso for their dream home.

Thomas wanted the highest R-value his budget would permit, and appreciated the fact that he could use the continuous insulation as his WRB. To eliminate the thermal bridge around their Alpen 525 Series windows, they chose ThermalBuck. Take a look at their recent ThermalBuck installation below.

ThermalBuck simplifies the installation of windows with all types of continuous insulation, making a truly high-performance building envelope.  To see additional installation steps, strength and installation challenges, view the ThermalBuck Installation page.


For an in-depth conversation about rigid foam types, we recommend the experts at Green Building Advisor. For additional videos of polyiso installation, we recommend this one by Synergy Construction.  Of course we would recommend the use of ThermalBuck over the plywood bucks, to limit thermal bridging and improve the performance of the window installation.

While written in 2010, this piece from Green Building advisor about Using Rigid Foam as a WRB, still has merit.  Updated in January of 2016, ICC document AC71 Foam Plastic Sheathing Panels Used as Weather-resistive Barriers establishes guidelines for evaluation of foam plastic sheathing panels used as water-resistive barriers in combustible construction. See your rigid foam manufacturer specifications for more information.  

Austin builder Matt Risinger features ThermalBuck on an episode or Risinger Goes Rogue

ThermalBuck Goes Rogue with Austin Builder Matt Risinger

Texas has always been famous for cowboys, gunslingers, and rodeos (not to mention the best steaks and BBQ you’ll find anywhere). But you may not have realized that it’s also the home to one of the fastest growing construction industries in the U.S.

Led by multi-family housing starts, construction growth is fueled by an increasing population, a healthy housing market, and a strong environment for investment. Drive anywhere across this beautiful state and you’ll witness construction cranes, and rapid building progress in all shapes and sizes.

WATCH:  Risinger Goes Rogue featuring ThermalBuck   

Matt Risinger

Where construction is booming, you’ll find award-winning homebuilders.  At the recent Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) Conference in Dallas, TX, ThermalBuck had the good fortune to cross paths with the most famous builder to call the Lone Star State home, Matt Risinger. Not only a well-known builder, Matt is also a respected media personality in the building industry. Matt was the closing speaker for the 3 day event held at the end of September, 2016.  The close-knit and collaborative nature of this particular conference invites plenty of opportunities to interact with attendees, presenters and manufacturers alike.  Matt’s keen interest in emerging products and new technology brought him to ThermalBuck on the trade show floor, where he spent some time with our president, John Brooks.

Risinger Homes

To meet Matt in person, is to realize right away that he is the real deal. Smart, humble, hard-working and passionate about good building science, Matt has earned a considerable following of nearly 34,000 subscribers to his You Tube channel, Build with Matt Risinger.  Since it’s launch in 2008, Matt’s building videos have earned him nearly 10 million views. Pretty impressive for this full-time builder and owner of Risinger Homes, and part-time marketer.

Matt has earned his reputation for excellency the old-fashioned way, through years of hands-on construction work, and the innate desire to do things the right way.

“I build homes that are dramatically more energy efficient, durable, healthy, and comfortable than most new homes in America.”

Risinger Homes is doing just that – building some of the finest homes in Texas. Combining Matt’s work ethic with his passion for technology, easy manner and marketing savvy, Matt has crafted a great reputation as a building science expert.

Risinger Goes Rogue

Not only does Risinger Homes build multiple high-end homes a year, he also spends countless hours appearing at building events and trade shows, as well as creating videos for Risinger Goes Rogue. Matt maintains a strong presence on social media, building his audience through his natural presentation ability, straight-talk and credibility. His strong family values, faith, and outlook on life are a bonus to those who seek out his expertise. Followers of Matt’s social media accounts can watch day-to-day progress of the homes he is working on, and learn proper building techniques along the way.

matt-risinger-with-videographerRisinger Goes Rogue recently featured ThermalBuck, a smart, simple solution to the challenges builders face when installing windows with continuous insulation. 

We appreciate Matt sharing ThermalBuck with his avid followers, and look forward to collaborating with Risinger Homes in the future. One thing we can be certain of, is that we will learn a thing (or two).


Risinger Homes started building exclusively for architects in 2005.  Matt’s building science expertise has been documented in Fine Homebuilding, The Journal of Light Construction, and Custom Home Magazine, to name a few.  He is also an award winning blogger, the two-time winner of the JDR Best Blogger Award.  Enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of Matt’s work through his instagram account, twitter, or facebook. The Texas building statistics sourced for this post were found at investopedia.com.