According to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE 90.1, CI is insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings. Under some conditions and compliance paths in the IECC and ASHRAE 90.1, CI is required for above grade exterior walls. CI, such as what is used in EIFS with Drainage systems, provides the highest levels of thermal efficiency in above-grade exterior walls because, unlike typical insulation installed between structural wall framing members, it provides uninterrupted thermal insulation.
EIFS with Drainage incorporate Continuous Insulation or CI, which alleviates thermal bridging caused by framing. In turn, this minimizes heat loss and improves the energy efficiency of buildings, reducing their overall carbon footprint. EIFS with Drainage also reduce air infiltration and improve the R-value of a home or building. Because walls are one of the greatest areas of heat and air-conditioning loss, improvement in the wall insulation, particularly with continuous insulation, can contribute greatly to energy conservation. R-value is a measurement of the resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the better the material’s insulating value. Most EIFS with drainage incorporate CI with an R-value between R-4 to R-5.6 per inch of thickness. Many thicknesses of CI are available to comply with virtually all prescriptive requirements for all climate zones in both ASHRAE 90.1 as well as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). EIFS with Drainage can, if desired and per design, also be used in conjunction with conventional cavity insulation.
With new construction, the energy efficiency of EIFS with Drainage may even make it possible to specify a lower-capacity HVAC system without sacrificing occupant comfort. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy mandated that all states update their commercial building code to meet or exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1 – 2010. EIFS met these standards and have long been a solution to the expanded requirements. There are a variety of case studies available validating the energy savings associated with EIFS. For example, in the 2012 Better Buildings Federal Awards Program results, an EIFS clad building helped reduce energy use by nearly 45% in a 12-month period.