ASHRAE Standard 90.1, Energy Standards for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings provides the mini-mum requirements for the energy-efficient design of most buildings and offers, in detail, the minimum energy-efficient requirements for the design and construction of new buildings and their systems, new portions of buildings and their systems, and new systems and equipment in existing buildings as well as the criteria for determining compliance with these requirements. Due to the reliance that the Department of Energy places on the 90.1 standard to supply the requirements for energy-efficiency in buildings, the committee meets four times a year to expedite its work. Developing the revisions and acting on comments to the proposed revisions is ASHRAE’s 90.1 Special Standing Project Committee. The committee’s fall meeting was held on October 4-6 in Chicago.
Addressing the exterior of a building is the 90.1’s Envelope Subcommittee which meets in conjunction with the full 90.1 committee. This subcommittee had a very lengthy agenda of very complicated topics including thermal bridging, storm windows, new climate data, high speed commercial garage doors, and commissioning to mention just a few.
One of the more important actions was consideration of the public comments on providing an R Value for air cavities. Currently, ASHRAE 90.1 requires that this air space be at least one half inch and must be enclosed. At an earlier meeting, EIMA questioned whether this space had to be over ½ inch and sealed. Rushing in an attempt to finish its long agenda, the subcommittee agreed that air spaces just need to be enclosed on all sides and not sealed. This brings back the possibility that EIFS could claim its drainage plane as an enclosed space, particularly since, Dr. Dave Yarborough, formerly of Oak Ridge National Laboratory again cited a study that he did that shows that an enclosed space, no matter how small it is, can contribute to a wall’s R value. EIMA will continue to pursue this issue.
New high temperatures are being recorded all over the United States from 106 in Washington, DC, to 114 in Arizona. Reports about global climate change have been swirling in the recent weeks as these new record high temperatures continue to be set. January through June of this year is the hottest six month period ever recorded to start a year. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there is a renewed interest in global climate change and the speed at which it’s occurring. As we continue to discuss environmental upgrades and ways that we can help to slow the effects of global climate change, it’s important to think about a wide range of decisions that are being made.
Environmental policy is going to pop into your head as we look to Congress and the White House for answers; but what about smaller upgrades where the decisions that architects, building owners, homeowners, and even future tenants can shape the global climate change impacts. Many times we don’t even consider the fact that their decision might have a relevant impact on such a large debate.
Take into consideration that EIFS impact on global climate change is 1/5 of brick*. That means the carbon footprint and carbon emissions are five times less for EIFS over the 5 stages of a life cycle. Take a look at these environmental benefits of EIFS:
- It takes 16 times fewer tractor trailer trucks to transport 25,000 square feet of EIFS over brick and 6 times fewer than stucco; drastically cutting down on automobile pollution into the air.*
- The overall lower construction costs can result in energy savings with the use of fewer resources.*
- EIFS has low/no volatile organic compounds and recycled content and recyclable packaging.
- EIFS is 84% more energy efficient than the next exterior cladding over a life cycle.*
There are many factors that go into global climate change. Take the necessary time to consider the ones that your decisions might have an effect on. When it comes to an exterior cladding EIFS can go far beyond others in reducing the carbon emissions that are given off as well as adding energy efficient benefits down the road.
*according to a proprietary study done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology